That’s Life… Mad Dogs Murder and Hum Tunelessly in Midtown Manhattan…

LIFE, January 27, 1941

“In Manhattan Jan. 14 two savage little men walked in the sun at noon with murder in their hearts. They were the brothers Esposito. At 12:20 p. m. they saw their victim, Alfred Klausman, emerge from a bank in the Empire State Building. Silent on his heels they followed him across Fifth Avenue, into the elevator of the office building in which he worked. As it started up, Anthony Esposito jammed a gun against Klausman’s head, demanded the $649 payroll in his pocket. “No, no,” cried Klausman clutching his coat. A bullet tore into his brain. The elevator descended and the Esposito brothers raced across the street. In the next ten minutes, Manhattan’s busy shopping district became a bloody no-man’s land. Sprinting in and out of Altman’s huge department store in and out of a taxicab, the Espositos raced around the block. Bullets whizzed. Shoppers cowered in doorways. The younger Esposito, William, fell wounded in the leg. As Patrolman Eddie Maher bent over him, William raised his gun and fired three times. A brave taxi driver named Leonard Weisberg lunged full at the spitting gun in an effort to save Maher, who was his friend. But the policeman fell dead and Weisberg writhed on the sidewalk, a bullet in his throat. Before civilians battered William Esposito into submission, another man had been wounded in the shoulder. Anthony Esposito was captured by police in a 5-and-10¢ store across Fifth Avenue. Next morning a tempest of revulsion swept New York. Police Commissioner Valentine branded the Esposito brothers mad dogs. A probation report disclosed their evil records of crime, truancy and utterly irresponsible and anti-social behavior. Their father, a Sicilian immigrant, had served time in prison. Two sisters were shoplifters. One brother lodged currently in jail. Their mother was a doting, shiftless woman who had abetted from boyhood their hatred of the police and of law. In a prison ward, recovering from their wounds, the Espositos cursed, raged and wept in explosive orgies of self-pity. As officials moved to bring them to quick trial, they abruptly turned mute, stared blankly when people asked questions, hummed tunelessly. It was evident insanity would be their plea.”
Life, January 27, 1941


Life, January 27, 1941

Mad Dogs in LIFE

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