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Mob murders in L.A.

April 27, 2008 | 12:28 pm

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I spent a little time tracking down the addresses of what the LAPD said were Mafia killings from 1906 to 1951. Even a superficial look reveals problems with the Police Department's list. As noted elsewhere, the 1934 killing of Ralph Monterastelli appears to be a botched robbery rather than a mob slaying. And in doing research, I found a 1933 list of mob killings that adds some names and locations, so the 1959 list released by Police Chief William H. Parker appears to be incomplete. Still, it's a starting point.

Note that not all of the killings could be included in the map. The unfortunate Antonio Martimetto, for example, was found floating in a water tank in Elysian Park (Sept. 7, 1921), and it's unclear where the tank was located. His underworld connections, if any, are likewise unclear.

In the same way, The Times merely says Vinciano "Jimmy" Basile was found shot to death Feb. 2, 1931, in a ditch west of Downey. His murder was clearly a mob killing; we just don't know precisely where it happened. All we know is that he was standing next to a palm tree on the Vernon-Downey Road when he was killed with a shotgun, according to a witness who lived at 6211 Howe Ave.

And in other cases, we simply don't know where some crimes occurred. Several victims disappeared and were never found, so we don't know where they were done in. The unfortunate individuals include men involved in the alcohol trade: Joe Porrazzo (May 16, 1929); Frank Baumgarteker (Nov. 25, 1929) and Joe Ardizzone (Oct. 15, 1931).

Frank Niccoli (Sept. 2, 1949) is listed as disappearing from 1354 N. Havenhurst, but it's unclear exactly where he vanished or what became of him -- except that it was presumably unpleasant.*  The continuing absence of David M. Ogul (Oct. 10, 1949) is likewise unresolved, so there's no location listed, although I don't think anybody questions what became of him.

* In an interesting footnote, 1354 Havenhurst also appears in the Robert Mitchum marijuana case.

This is a work in progress, so I'll try to update as time allows.

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