Mob Rats Abe “Kid Twist Reles” Part 6



With Murder Inc. depleted of most of its top killers, Louie “Lepke” Buchalter, Louis Capone, and Mendy Weiss went on trial in late 1940 for the 1936 murder of Joe Rosen. At that point in time, Abe Reles was still very much alive and singing. On the stand, Reles testified he knew Lepke had ordered the Rosen hit. This corroborated the testimony of Allie Tannenbaum, who testified he heard Lepke give the order to Max Rubin to have Joe Rosen killed (from a room next to Lepke’s office. Lepke had uncharacteristically left the door open between the two rooms).

At 10:15 pm, Nov. 1941, the jury was sent out to decide the fates of Lepke, Capone, and Weiss.

At 2:30 am, the judge was told the jury was ready with its verdicts. After the jurors were seated and the defendants returned to the courtroom, Charles E. Steven, the foreman of the jury, rose and said, “We find the defendants, and each of them, guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged.”

The penalty, by law, was death.

As he pronounced sentence, Justice Taylor stood at the bench and cast a steely gaze which bore right through Lepke’s eyes.

 Judge Taylor said, “Louis Buchalter, alias Lepke, for the murder of Joseph Rosen, whereof he is convicted, is hereby sentenced to the punishment of death.”

 Judge Taylor also gave the same death sentence to both Louis Capone and Mendy Weiss.

For the next four years, Lepke used every trick in the book to delay his and his two men’s executions. But it was to no avail.

On March 4, 1944, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, as befitting the boss, took the long walk down the last mile first, followed in minutes by Louis Capone and Mendy Weiss. All three were jolted in Sing Sing’s electric chair a few minutes after midnight, effectively ending Murder Incorporated’s reign of terror in the United States of America. Buchalter remains the only mob boss ever executed by the government.

Yet, it had been one of Murder Inc.’s most prolific killers, Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, who had been most responsible for Murder Inc.’s demise. If Reles hadn’t squealed, Happy and the Dasher, as well as Lepke, may have never been convicted, let alone executed.

The government later admitted if Reles hadn’t been tossed out the hotel window in Coney Island, they had enough evidence against Albert Anastasia and mad-dog killer Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel to put them in the electric chair too.

According to New York City District Attorney William O’Dwyer, “When Reles went out the window, our cases against Anastasia and Siegel went out the window too.”



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