It was a blown contract that led to the demise of Murder Inc. and Seymour Magoon was one of the hitmen involved. Magoon was known as Blue Jaw among his colleagues, because of his appearing to constantly be in need of a shave. Magoon was a contract killer with multiple murders on his record, but his ability as a driver led to him often being assigned the role of driving the getaway car after fellow gangsters committed the murder. Magoon was the driver on an assignment along with fellow Murder Inc. hitman Jack Parisi. In the car with them was a local thug who was there to identify their target when he exited the building across the street from where they sat in the car.
When the thug pointed to a man leaving the apartment build and identified him as the target Magoon drove past him, turned around, and as they passed the man for the second time Parisi shot him multiple times. The problem was that they got the wrong man. The victim was a music publisher with G. Schirmer Publications, not the former garment union executive named Philip Orlovsky whom they had been dispatched to kill, because Orlovsky was informing prosecutors of Buchalter’s illegal activities within the unions. The murder of the wrong man started the press putting pressure on prosecutors, and Buchalter ordered his killing crews to get out of town.
Buchalter also ordered the elimination of several gangsters who were threatened with prosecution, fearing that they would provide the authorities with information tying him to hundreds of murders and other crimes. Magoon fled with his friend and fellow Murder Inc. hitman Buggsy Goldstein, traveling across the country before returning eventually to Newburgh in New York, staying at a mob safe house. When Goldstein went into town to pick up a money order he was spotted and arrested. Within a few hours, the police arrested Magoon at the safe house. When it became evident to Magoon that several gangsters were cooperating with the authorities he decided to do the same.
Knowing that Abe Reles was cooperating with the authorities providing evidence against Goldstein, Magoon began telling them what he knew about his friend as well as another friend, Harry Strauss. Magoon testified in the trial of Goldstein and Strauss about the many murders they had committed, some of which Magoon participated in as well, leading Goldstein to shout out in court that, “You’re burning me.” Both Goldstein and Strauss were convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair at Sing-Sing on June 12, 1941. Magoon was then a witness in other trials of Murder Inc. hitmen, providing evidence which led to several more convictions.
Magoon remained in custody for a few years before he was released. After he was released he vanished from sight. Jack Parisi, who had fired the fatal shots which killed the wrong man, wasn’t captured by the authorities for more than a decade. When he was he was tried for the murder and acquitted. There were simply too few witnesses. Magoon had by then vanished and the only other witness, the small-time thug who had misidentified the victim, was unreliable as an accomplice to the crime. It was one man’s word against the other and the judge directed acquittal. In 2003 skeletal remains found in the desert near Las Vegas were determined to be those of Seymour Magoon.