Monday, August 31, 2009

Italian Harlem's Police Report #10

Topic: Italian Murders A Woman 1900

She robbed him of his week's wages, and He lay in wait for her.
Policeman Robert Leahy of the East One Hundred and Fourth Street Police Station, was patrolling his post in Second Avenue at 12:40 o'clock this morning and was just south of Ninety-eighth Street when he heard cries of "Murder!" "Police!" Looking in the direction of the sound he saw a man running toward him from the corner with a crowd following him. Leahy ran after the fugitive and came up to him in Ninety-ninth Street, between First and Second Avenues.
As he laid his hands on him, the man, who proved to be an Italian, made a furious lunge at him. The policeman was too quick for him, however, for he dodged the stroke, although the blade cut his coat sleeve for several inches. Almost with the same movement he gave the man a blow on the jaw with his night stick which knocked him, half stunned, into the street. The policeman picked up the stiletto and then the prisoner and the other pursuers told him in an excited chorus that the Italian had just murdered a woman at Second Avenue and Ninety-eighth Street. He went back and found the victim lying in a pool of blood in a doorway on the corner, while the whole neighborhood was flocking out of doors and gathering about. Leahy called an ambulance from Harlem Hospital and Dr. Levy found that the woman was dead from a stab wound right over her heart.

At the station house the prisoner gave the name of Antonio Mastagno, forty years old of 2163 First Avenue and the woman was identified as Rosa Leiberwitz, thirty-eight years old of 206 East Ninety-eighth Street. She has long been known in the neighborhood as "Liverwurst."
The police have found that Mastagno met her Saturday night, when she robbed him of his entire week's wages of $17, earned as a laborer for the Metropolitan Street Railway. Last night he said he would "do" her at the first opportunity, abnd had been waiting about the neighborhood all the evening. She came along at last, when, according to several witnesses, he ran up behind her, seized her by the neck, and shoved her into the doorway and there stabbed her.

The dead woman's husband is now serving a three years' sentence in Sing Sing Prison for assaulting Policeman Michael Carney of the East One Hundred and Fourth Street Station three months ago, and he left her with a boy of four years and a girl of seven who are thought to have been taken from her by the Gerry Society.

Leahy was much startled on searching Mastagne to find in his pocket a fully loaded revolver of heavy calibre. "He could have shot me at any time on the way to the station house," he said,"but I guess the night stick took all the murder out of him."

The New York Times September 3, 1900
To contact:

No comments: