At about 4 p.m. on July 1, 1928, Brooklyn underworld leader Francesco "Frankie Yale" Ioele, 35, was driving his Lincoln automobile along 44th Street in Brooklyn, when he was overtaken by a black sedan.
|Spot of Yale's death. (Police had removed his body from the car.)|
Yale's skull was cracked open by the slugs, and his car veered off the road, crashing into the stone steps in front of 923 44th Street. He died immediately.
Though some press accounts referred to the killing as the first New York gangland murder to feature the use of a "Tommy Gun" submachine gun, an autopsy attributed Yale's fatal wounds to a shotgun and a pistol.
At the time of his murder, Yale was believed to be a top lieutenant in the Manhattan-based Mafia organization of Giuseppe Masseria. Yale appeared to be the top-ranked Calabrian in the Sicilian-dominated Mafia network, which opened to non-Sicilians in the Prohibition Era. Later in 1928, following the slaying of Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila, Masseria became the U.S. Mafia's boss of bosses.
Police linked the Yale murder to gunmen working for Chicago's Al Capone, a Brooklyn-born gangster whose family was rooted in the Naples area of Italy. Capone and Yale, both vassals of Giuseppe Masseria, had been rum-running partners. Perhaps concerned that Yale was not dealing with him fairly, Capone inserted a spy named James DeAmato into Yale's organization. DeAmato was found dead on a Brooklyn street in July 1927, likely forcing Capone to take more decisive action.
Yale's funeral was an extravagant gangland sendoff, featuring a silver coffin, mountains of floral tributes and a cortege of two hundred automobiles.
For more on Frankie Yale, see
"What do we know about Frankie Yale?"
on The American Mafia history website.