Carmelo Fresina was a St. Louis gang leader involved in
bootlegging and extortion. He was looking at some bootlegging trials and told his wife, prior
to leaving their house at 9 p.m. on the night of May 7, 1931, that he
was going away for a few days to “fix those liquor cases against me.” Thirteen
hours later an Illinois State Highway patrolman found him reposing in the
tonneau of his car.
At some point during the night of May 7 or the early morning of
May 8, Fresina was sitting in the front seat of his car when somebody in the
rear fired two bullets into his head. In no condition to drive himself to his final
resting spot, Fresina was removed to the floor of the back seat and his
assassin(s) drove the car to Edwardsville, Illinois and left it on the side of a road.
A few years previously he and a few cohorts were involved in a bit of
underworld chicanery that resulted in shooting. One of the bullets pierced
Fresina’s posterior (though painful, he fared better than his confederates who
ended up dead) and since that time, it was said, that wherever he went he carried a pillow with him to sit on. As a result, the local police referred to
his mob as the Pillow Gang.
The Pillow Gang, which operated out of St. Louis and was headed by
Fresina, should not be confused with the “My Pillow Gang” currently operating
out of Minnesota headed by this guy:
Not Carmelo Fresina