7. Lepke Buchalter’s Replacement Was Even More Lethal
When Murder Incorporated was founded, Albert Anastasia (1902 – 1957) became the chief deputy of its boss, Lepke Buchalter, and headed the Italian contract killer segment of the organization. When Buchalter went on the lam in 1936, his duties were taken over by Anastasia, who rose to head the entirety of Murder Incorporated. Anastasia, who was even more lethal than his predecessor, was trouble from early on. He arrived in the US in 1919 as an illegal immigrant, and went to work on New York’s waterfront. In 1921, he was convicted of the murder of a longshoreman and sentenced to death.
However, as Anastasia awaited execution in Sing Sing prison, his sentence was thrown out on a technicality, and he was granted a retrial. When the retrial came around in 1922, all the witnesses from the first trial had vanished, and Anastasia walked free. The following year, he was convicted on a firearms charge, and sentenced to two years. In 1928, he was again tried for murder, but walked after all the prosecution’s witnesses disappeared or decided not to testify. He walked from more murder raps, for the same reasons, in 1932 and 1933.