This week in 1944

March 2nd, 2015 by admin

“I am anxious to have it clearly understood that I did not offer to talk and give information in exchange for any promise of commutation of my death sentence.”

— Louis Buchalter (alias Louis Lepke) , convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, electric chair, New York.
Executed March 4, 1944

The New York press referred to Buchalter as “the former overlord of the crime syndicate Murder, Inc.” The reputed gangster’s last words worked to preserve his reputation. Buchalter was linked to more than twenty homicides, and his influence was said to have permeated all of Manhattan’s major manufacturing unions. By the 1930s, Buchalter was executive director over hundreds of union workers and more than 250 professional bounty hunters. Eventually, the operation began to fray, as factions opposing Buchalter congealed within the gang, and law enforcement officials put a fifty-thousand-dollar prize on his head. His paranoia grew until he finally broke down and turned himself into federal authorities.

Originally given thirty years to life for conspiracy, drug trafficking, and obstruction of commerce, Buchalter was eventually sentenced to death when an investigation linked Murder, Inc. to the slaying of Joseph Rosen, who had worked for an affiliate trucking business.

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