On the morning of April 19, 1951, Mrs. Mary Gooch of 7501 Avenue X in Brooklyn, was walking through the tall grass of a marshy area in her Bergen Beach neighborhood when she discovered a man's dead body.
|Brooklyn Eagle, April 20, 1951.|
The partly dressed corpse was lying face-down in the dirt. It was wearing no pants, shoes or coat but had on a white shirt, white shorts and undershirt, black socks, black tie and gold tie clip. The tie clip was still fastened neatly in place.
Police noted three close-range bullet wounds to the man's head - one at the top rear of the neck, one in the right cheek and one in the left cheek. Time of death was estimated at 10 to 20 hours earlier. There were no identifying papers on the body. Through an examination of fingerprint records, police identified the victim as Philip Mangano, 50.
A resident of 1126 84th Street in Brooklyn, Philip Mangano was known to be a waterfront racketeer and political manipulator; a top aide to his brother, Brooklyn-based Mafia boss Vincent Mangano (some sources indicate that Philip was his brother's underboss); and an associate of Mafia leader Joe Adonis. There was a short police file on Philip Mangano. He was arrested twice, once in 1923 for homicide, but never convicted.
Finding no dirt on the bottoms of Philip's socks, detectives concluded that he was murdered at another location and carried to the Bergen Beach marsh for disposal. They surmised that a ten-foot length of rope found near the body was used in its transport.
Philip's wife Agatha, 46, told police that she last saw her husband at a Brooklyn accountant's office on the morning of April 17.
Authorities were unable to locate Vincent Mangano. Investigators of the Kefauver Committee had been having the same trouble for several months. (Though initially believed to be in hiding, Vincent Mangano was eventually presumed dead. He was ruled dead by a Brooklyn court in October 1961. His remains were never found.)
The Kings County District Attorney's Office interviewed seventy-five people, including Mafia big shots like Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia and Joe Adonis - over the course of the next two days, but learned nothing of value to the murder investigation. Adonis reportedly suggested that Philip Mangano was killed because of an affair with a woman. No evidence could be found to support that theory. And prosecutors also dismissed reports that Philip Mangano had been targeted for mob discipline after secretly meeting with federal investigators.
Philip's 22-year-old son told prosecutors that he believed Philip was killed because he was trying to pull away from the Mafia. He said his father had made two recent trips to Virginia to purchase a construction firm.
Philip was buried quietly on April 23, 1951, at Holy Cross Cemetery. His hearse left the Boyertown Chapel, 38 Lafayette Avenue, a half-hour before its scheduled time in order to avoid reporters. There were no church services. Three empty limousines were sent from the chapel to pick up family members at other locations.
Years later, Albert Anastasia was revealed to be the killer of both Philip and Vincent Mangano. Anastasia seized control of the former Mangano Crime Family and remained its boss until his own bloody end in 1957.
- Bonanno, Joseph, with Sergio Lalli, A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983, p. 170-171.
- Gale, J.H., "Criminal Intelligence Digest," FBI memorandum, file no. 92-6054-955, NARA no. 124-10223-10411, Feb. 11, 1965, p. 3.
- SAC New York, "La Cosa Nostra," FBI memorandum, file no. 92-6054-669, NARA no. 124-10287-10234, July 2, 1964.
- "Mafia purge seen as probe figure is taken for ride," Brooklyn Eagle, April 20, 1951, p. 1.
- "Aide of Joe Adonis is found shot dead," New York Times, April 20, 1951, p. 18.
- "Raiders seized coat in inspector's home," Brooklyn Eagle, April 22, 1951, p. 3.
- "No clue in Mangano case," New York Times, April 22, 1951, p. 66.
- "Mangano burial hour shifted to forestall public," Brooklyn Eagle, April 23, 1951, p. 9.
- "Adonis, Anastasia queried in murder," New York Times, April 28, 1951, p. 21.
- "Seek 'passion crime' in Mangano killing," Brooklyn Eagle, April 29, 1951, p. 2.
- "Mangano killing motive," New York Times, April 29, 1951, p. 60.
- Reid, Ed, "Mafia leader Mangano's killer known," Brooklyn Eagle, June 26, 1951, p. 1.
- Gage, Nicholas, "Carlo Gambino, a Mafia leader, dies in his Long Island home at 74," New York Times, Oct. 16, 1976, p. 28.
DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime, Vol. 2
by Thomas Hunt and Michael A. Tona