Manhattan (KS) Mercury/June 4, 1930
State Officials Seek Crematory Used By Gangsters
Reliable Information Given That North Side Gang Is Cremating Its Murder Victims—Another Gang Murder
A crematory for gangster dead—an ingenious and ghastly device for removing the evidence of wholesale murder—was hunted by state’s attorney’s men today while police puzzled over another and particularly brutal gangland assassination.
Pat Roche of the state’s attorney’s office said he had reliable information that a north side gang was cremating its murder victims, thus getting rid of the “corpus delicti.” The disappearance in recent weeks of William Higgins, St. Paul, Minn. racketeer, and Ben Bennett, New York whiskey dealer, has given credence to the crematory report, Roche said. He pointed out further that within a week there have been two gang gun attacks in Chicago in which the victim after being shot down has been carried away in the automobile of his attackers.
The latest gang murder—the tenth in the Chicago area within three days—was discovered last night. The victim was Thomas Somnero, 33 years old, who was tried and acquitted of complicity in the election day (1928) slaying of Octavius Granady, Negro lawyer.
Somnero’s body was found late last night in an alley at the rear of the 800 block on Harrison Street. The body was cut and bruised, indicating torture. The wrists were wired. A welt around the neck indicated Somnero had been garrotted.
Indicted and tried with Somnero for the Granady murder were Louis Clemente, aligned with the Capones and Rocco Belcastro, reputed expert in bomb making.
Police are certain that Somnero’s murder was in reprisal for the “little massacre” of three Druggan associates at Fox Lake early Sunday. They say it is just another episode of blood in the renewed gang war precipitated six weeks ago with the slaying of Joe Blue, ex-convict and friend of Terry Druggan, one-time beer baron.
Blue, if the police theory is correct, came here from New York and entered the beer business, defying the warning of that group of Sicilians still identified as members of the Genna gang. Blue felt secure, police reasoned, with the backing of Terry Druggan and George Druggan, brothers.
A Defi to Druggan
But Blue was slain. This, in effect was a defi to the Druggan followers. It led, police said, to the slaying last, Saturday morning of Philip Ganolfo, a Genna man and the wounding of two companions. The Genna group, as police reconstruct it, wasted no time in retaliation, for early Sunday three of the Druggan group were machine-gunned to death in the “little massacre” of Fox Lake. George Druggan himself was so severely wounded that he may die.