Murder Incorporated

Monday, June 26, 2006

Harry "Happy" Maione

Harry "Happy" Maione was an Italian-American hitman for Murder, Inc.(the enforcement arm of the National Crime Syndiacte) during the 30's. His nickname was given to him because he never smiled and his face displayed an eternal scowl.

Maione was head of the Ocean Hill Hooligans, an Italian street gang in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn, NY . His underling in this group was Frank Abbandando. Maione and Abbandando helped Abe Reles and Martin Goldstein exact revenge on the Shapiro brothers Meyer, Irving, and William in '31 for trying to kill the two Jewish hoods and for abducting and raping Reles' girlfriend and future wife. The two Italians were hoping to get a piece of the Shapiro holdings in return.

Maione, Abbandando, Reles, and Goldstein then banded together and created Brooklyn, Inc. the forerunner to Murder, Inc. When joined by other killers, such as Harry Strauss, Mendy Weiss, Albert Tannenbaum, Seymour Magoon, Louis Capone, Charles Workman, and Vito Gurino the group started picking up contracts for the National Crime Syndicate through Syndicate "board of directors" member Joe Adonis. Brooklyn, Inc. soon became the official murder-for-hire squad of the Syndicate, and began to be dubbed "Murder, Inc." by the press. Maione acted as the Italian liaison to the Jewish killers of the faction; Reles was his counterpart on the Jewish side. They operated under the direction of the brutal Lepke Buchalter (another member of the Syndicate board) and the nefarious Albert Anastassia.

When Buchalter was being targeted by New York District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey, starting in the mid-'30's, he waged an all-out war of extermination to eliminate potential witnesses Dewey could use. Murder, Inc. played a major role in this campaign, rubbing out anyone that "Lepke" even suspected of being an informant. Loan shark George Rudnick was one such victim; he was killed by Maione, Abbandando, and Strauss on May 11, '37.

When Abe Reles became an informant for the state in '40, he implicated Maione in the horrific slaying of Rudnick. He reported that when the three hitmen had tried to get the "dead" Rudnick into their car after supposedly killing him, he coughed, apparently still alive. Strauss began hacking away at the body of the victim with an ice pick, Maione putting the final exclamation point on the murder by sinking a meat cleaver into Rudnick's skull.

Reles' information was enough for Maione to be sentenced to death for first-degree murder. He was executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing in Feb, '42.


Post a Comment

<< Home