New York Gangs Murder Trust and Michael Malloy Part 1

About the New York gang in the 1930s known as Murder Trust and Michael Malloy, survivor of over 30 murder attempts.


by Irving Wallace

He was--at least up to a point--the most durable human being in American history, possibly in world history. Over 30 attempts were made to murder him. He survived them all. He was truly incredible.

His name was Michael Malloy, and he was a bleary-eyed, unsteady diminutive Irishman originally from County Donegal. While his insurance policy would later falsely give his age as 45, he was actually 60 years old. Once, in better times, he had been a fireman, but now in 1933 his almost full-time occupation was alcoholic. He had been a habitue of all the lower-class bars of New York's Bronx, until they refused him any more credit and banned him. At the period of his finest hour, he was one of the derelicts and barflies who daily visited Tony Marino's speakeasy at 3804 Third Avenue, also in the Bronx.

For a while, Michael Malloy had been hospitably received in Marino's speakeasy. At first, he had seemed a sound credit risk. He worked, occasionally, as a janitor in the neighborhood, mostly sweeping floors, to pay for the rent on his cramped, dingy room and to obtain money for his drinks. But when his bar bill mounted, and no payment was in sight, he was refused further drinks at Marino's and turned away from the free lunch tray. Still, faithfully, he attended Marino's every day, usually managing to cadge a few drinks out of the more affluent customers, who were amused by his Irish charm and rambling anecdotes recounted with an assumed brogue.

Thus, Michael Malloy, living hand to mouth, in the dreary depression winter of January, 1933, when he stood on the brink of immortality and came to the attention of the Murder Trust.

Actually, the members of the Murder Trust--later so named by New York City's tabloids--were less impressive than their grand organization title implied. They were a mixed, scruffy group of friends, some living barely within the law, some outside it. They had two things in common; they all hung out at Marino's, and they all desperately needed money.

The mainstays of the trust were five in number. There was 27-year-old Anthony Marino, proprietor of Marino's speakeasy and a natty dresser. There was 28-year-old Joseph Murphy, a onetime chemist who was now Marino's bartender. There was 24-year-old Francis Pasqua, a newlywed and an undertaker who owned a funeral parlor on East 117th Street. There was Hershey, or Harry, Green, a taxicab driver. And there was 29-year-old Daniel Kreisberg, the father of three and a fruit vendor.

These five had enjoyed only one successful joint commercial venture together. In the early spring of 1932, desperate for cash, they had formed a partnership to take out an insurance policy on a young blond named Betty Carlsen, the girl friend of Anthony Marino, owner of the speakeasy and the beneficiary named in her policy. They had insured Miss Carlsen's life for $800. By a happy coincidence, this thoughtful investment had paid off. On a particularly cold night in the spring of 1932, Miss Carlsen, insensible from alcohol, had been helped back to her room. There, she had been stripped naked, laid out on her bed, and doused with cold water. Then the windows of her room were thrown wide open to allow her the benefit of the bracing air. In the morning she was found dead. The coroner gave the cause of death as pneumonia compounded by alcoholism. The insurance company had routinely processed her life insurance policy and had paid $800 to Anthony Marino and company.

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