From the 15-March-1891 New York Sun. On 15-October-1890, the police chief of New Orleans, David Hennessy, was ambushed by several men and shot. He died the next day. A police captain reported that he said he had been shot by "Dagoes." Authorities assumed it was the result of Mafia feuding. The police rounded up a large number of Italians and 19 were charged with the murder. Nine men were tried in March. Six were found not guilty and the trial of the others was declared a mistrial. A mob attacked the jail, killing 11 of the Italians, hanging and shooting two and shooting the rest. No one was ever charged for the lynching. No one was ever convicted of the murder of the police chief. The jury was probably not tampered with.
On 14-September-1874, the Battle of Liberty place was an uprising by the White Citizens' League against the Reconstruction government of New Orleans. There is currently an effort going on to remove or modify a memorial to that event.
THE PEOPLE A MOB
Eleven Prisoners Lynched in the New Orleans Jail
LED BY LAWYERS AND MERCHANTS
Formed at the Foot of the Statue of Henry Clay
THE POLICE CHEER THE MOB ON
Nine Men Shot Crouching in Prison and Two Hanged
The Lynchers Went Quietly, Headed by 200 Armed Men
SEVEN MEN DID THE SHOOTING
Eleven Prisoners Lynched in the New Orleans Jail
LED BY LAWYERS AND MERCHANTS
Formed at the Foot of the Statue of Henry Clay
THE POLICE CHEER THE MOB ON
Nine Men Shot Crouching in Prison and Two Hanged
The Lynchers Went Quietly, Headed by 200 Armed Men
SEVEN MEN DID THE SHOOTING
Five Thousand Citizens Demanded Vengeance and Denounced the Administration of Justice as Exemplified in the Verdict in the Hennessey Murder Case -- The Authorities Made No Attempt to Protect the Men -- Several Killed Who Had Not Been on Trial -- How Two or Theee, Including the Small Boy, Managed to Escape -- It took only Three-quarters of an Hour to Accomplish the Result -- The Action Approved by the Leading Exchanges -- The Jurymen in the Trial Practically Ostracized.
NEW ORLEANS, March 14 -- A mob extraordinary in size, extraordinary in its make up, extraordinary In its determination, to-day killed 11 of the 19 Italians charged with the murder of Chief of Police Hennessy. It was a mob led by lawyers and merchants men of large wealth and high standing. It was so strong that the authorities made no show of resistance and succumbed before it. Indeed the officers of the law threw up their hats and cheered the mob in its murderous work.
These a the names ot those shot or hanged
When yesterday the jury brought In a verdict of not guilty against six of the Italian on trial and disagreed as to the other three, a howl of indignation was heard. The press unanimously denounced the verdict and declared that the jury been bought. The Grand Jury had already found indictments against two men charged with tampering with the jurors and other indictments were expected. The jurors did not understand the public sentiment and were surprised at the public indignation. Mr Sellgman the foreman, explained that the jury had found its verdict because it did not believe the State witnesses, but his explanation was hailed with derision. The jury stood twelve for the acquittal of Macheca, Enoarcada, Matrazo, the two Marchesis and Bagnetto, and nine to three for the conviction of the others.
Nine of the jurors regarded with suspicion the three dissenting jurors and one of them expressed the opinion that these jurors were bought, for throughout the trial they expressed their intention to bring a verdict of not guilty. The excitement over the verdict reached fever heat by night and three or four secret meetings were held to consider the situation.
The trial of the case had oost the city $30,000 and lasted for over a month and yet none of the prisoners had been convicted. The general feeling was that a new trial would result in the conviction of all the men. Widespread threats were heard and nearly every well-known citizen was approached with the question whether be would join an organization to avenge the law.
Soon alter the assassination of Chief Hennessy a law and order committee was appointed by Mayor Shakespeare to take charge of this case and to investigate the murder and $15,000 was appropriated for that purpose by the City Council. The committee showed a disposition at first to resolve itself into a vigilance committee but better counsel prevailed largely though the Influence of the largely through the influence of the newspapers and the committee agreed to let the law take its course, but with an understanding that in case the law failed they would resort to lynch law.
The committee met yesterday after the verdict. The first proposition was to hold a mass meeting at Clay statue last night but the leaders became convinced that this would have a bad effect, as it would be impossible to control a mob at night, if one should be formed. It would get out of the hands of the men who should lead and become dangerous to the city. A proposition was then made that a body of chosen men should proceed to the parish prison at 2 o'clock in the morning and force open the gates. It was not thought that much resistance would be offered, as only a few deputy sheriffs would be on duty. These were known to be friends of Hennessy who would not resent the mob's intrusion.
Thirty or forty picked men offered their services but it was finally decided that such work might cause bloodshed of innocent citizens and that it was better to act in daylight. A call was then drawn up by E H Farrar, a lawyer and President of the Committee of Law and Order It was short and read a follows:
"All good citizens are invited to attend a mass meetlne oa Stan March 14 at 1 o'clock P. M., at tbe Clay statue to take steps necessary to remedy the failure of justice in the Hennessy case. Come prepared for action."
This call was signed by forty men of high standing In the community, including lawyers, merchants and others. Among the signers was R. T. Liche, Commissioner o Public Works of the city. The meeting at which this plan was decided on was held on Neville street, fifty citizens being present. There were also a large number of guns on hand which the men present were told would be distributed to those who needed them this morning. These guns, it is understood, came from the armory of one of the State militia companies.
After the publication of the call for a mass meeting it was well understood that there would be violence. The men at the head of the movement are men of courage and determination, and it was known that if they went down to the parish prison to take it they would take It at the cost of life. The fact that the call had been issued leaked out last night about midnight and was very generally discussed in the barrooms. At an early hour this morning it was universally conceded that there would be an attack on the prison today and the only question was whether the authorities would make any effort to suppress it and whether the Governor would order out the militia. The Mayor did not detail the police and the Sheriff did not swear in deputies protect the building. If this had been done the capture of the prison would have cost a great many human lives. It is a well-fortified building, capable of being easily protected and fifty men could hold it against a thousand.
A large portion of the men who had promised to go down and capture the prison were members of the militia and it was generally understood this morning that in case the Governor called out the militia to do duty he would find no men ready to serve. It was also known that in case any serious resistance was made at the parish prison the mob had artillery belonging to one of the independent military companies which it could and would use to batter down the gates.
It was also understood that the police would not fight to save the murderers and would welcome their lynching. Finally it was known that the Sheriff either could not or would mot find men who would be willing to act as deputies and that there would be only the usual number of eight or ten men on hand this morning, all of them being friends of Hennessy.
The newspaper this morning denounced the jury but opposed the mass meeting and tried to quiet the mob but it was evident that nothing could stop them and that there would be a lynching of the prisoners or a bloody riot.
FORMING AT CLAY'S STATUE
The Scenes and Speeches Before the Throng Left for the Prison.
The meeting at the Clay statue on Canal street was held promptly at 10. Just as the stroke of that hour was heard a shout went up from the people stationed at St. Charles street, and a number of men among whom were W. S. Parkerson, John O. Wiokliffe and others who signed the call came marching along and began walking around and round the railing of the monument There were fully 3,000 people within earshot, and more could be seen straggling pushing and running toward the spot. Street cars were unable to pass through. Carriages, carts, wagons, cabs and vehicles of all descriptions were halted and all business nearby was suspended.
"Fall in, fall in!" was the cry and with shouts, the procession which went around the railing several times, was swollen.
"Hurrah for Parkerson!"
"Hurrah for Wiokliffe!"
"Get inside the railing and give us a speech!"
Those and other cries made up the confusion of noises. The space inside the railing was occupied by a dense crowd.
"Come down from those steps," was the order and let Mr Parkerson and Mr Wickliffe get there!"
The crowd obeyed sad soon the speaker had the place. A rush was made for the narrow gate and in a minute there stood a packed mass under the statue of Clay. Mr Parkerson was the first speaker. He is a lawyer, the organizer of the Young Men's Democratic movement, an independent organization, which at the late election defeated the regular Democratic party and elected the entire present city government. He is a man of ability, a leader who declined the office of City Attorney when he could have had that or any other office in the gift of the people. He said:
"I am here to say that things have come to such a crisis that talk is idle: action, action must be the thing now. [Tremendous cheers.] In civilized communities tribunals are organized and delegated to punish the guilty. Crimea must meet prompt punishment, but whenever and wherever the courts fail, whenever jurors are recreant to their oaths, and perjurers and suborners are present, then is the time for the people to do what courts and jurors have failed to do. [Cries of 'Hurrah!' 'Go on!' 'Go on!' 'We're with you!'] In a peaceful community an officer of the law was stricken down by a band of midnight assassins; the law has been defied. The time has come when this infamy must cease. Scoundrels must meet with punishment. Murderers must receive their deserts. The jury has failed. Now, the people have to act. I ask you, citizens of New Orleans, whether we shall suffer this Infamous condition of affairs any longer. [Cries of No! no!'] I ask you to consider fairly and calmly, what is to be done. Shall it be action? [Cries. 'Yes, let's go!' 'Lead on!']
"We a ready, these gentlemen and I here present, to do what is necessary to lead you. What shall It be? Do you want us as leader?"
Tremendous excitement here followed. The excited and indignant people shouted to go to the parish prison and lynch the Sicilians. That was the burden of scores of furious remarks. Mr. Parkerson, as soon as he could make himself heard, said:
"Are you ready? Are there men enough here?"
"Yes, yes. Come on! Lead on!" [Immense excitement.]
Mr. Parkerson then added: "There is no more infamous iniquity in this city than this, and to give you a name in connection with it I'll call the name of one man, Dominiok 0'Malley. That man has had the effrontery to sue a reputable newspaper for libel because that paper had shown him up in his true light. Dominick O'Malley is a perjurer, a suborner and a briber of juries."
Mr. Parkerson ended there and Walter Denegre, a lawyer and a large property holder, then addressed the crowd. "On Sept. 14, 1874," began Mr Denegre, "such a crowd as I now see before me was assembled here to assert the manhood of the Crescent City. I propose to see that you do the same to-day. When poor Dave Hennessy was murdered an appeal was made to the citizens to come to the help of the law and to aid the Police Department and the Judges and jury in ferreting out, arresting, trying and sentencing the foul murderers. We stand today with David Hennessy murdered and the courts and the law are a mockery. The time has come when the people must show that such infamous occurrences must be stopped. Are we to stand here and talk without doing anything?" [Cries of "No!" "No!"]
Mr Denegre then spoke of the finding of the jury and said: "I charge that the jury has been tampered with, that it has been bought. I do not say that every one has been approached and purchased but I do assert that some have been bought. I am not after the Italians or Sicilians as a race. I want no race war. But I want every man who murdered Dave Hennessy punished. I want every man here to come with me. I am with you -- are you with me? [Cries of "Yes, yes!"] Shall we remain at the mercy of assassins and murderers? ["No!" was the instantaneous and thundering response.] The Chief of Police was shot down in cold blood by midnight murderers. committee was appointed to apply the law. The committee has not been able to fulfill its charge. The committee has failed. As a member of the Committee of Fifty, I have come back to tell the people that the power they have delegated to us to apply has failed and that the commlttee is powerless. We have come back to lay the matter again before the people and to say: 'Citizens of New Orleans, the committee is helpless, the courts are powerless, now protect yourselves! There is no use in wasting words."
John C. Wickliffe, another lawyer and editor of the Delta, was the last speaker. "When the people meet in Lafayette square they meet to talk. When the people meet under the shadow of the statue of Henry Clay they meet to act. The time for talk is past. Within the walls of the parish prison are confined a number of men declared innocent by a jury of the murder of Chief Hennessy. Are those men to go free?" [Loud outcries, yells and imprecations against the murderers here drowned the words of the speaker.]
Resuming, Mr. Wickllffe said: "Shall the execrable Mafia be allowed to flourish in this city? Shall the Mafia be allowed to cut down our citizens on the pubic streets by foul means of assassination? Shall the Mafia be allowed to bribe jurors to let murderers go scot free? Are you to stand by idly and powerless, or shall you band together and drive that infamous band of miscreants from the city?" [Cries of "We are ready." "Come on; lead on to the parish prison." "Death to the Sicilian assassins." "Down with the Mafia!"]
The orowd was yelling itself hoarse. Fury ungovernable was evident throughout that immense assemblage.
"Shall you protect yourselves?" continued Mr Wickliffe. "Self-preservation is the first law of nature. This is the time for action, not talk." talk
"Let's go!" "Let's go!" "Come on, Wickliffe!" "Come on, Parkerson!" "We are ready!" were the cries as Mr Wickliffe concluded.
There was a lull of an instant in the storm. Then some one yelled "Shall we get our guns?"
"Yes, yes; get your guns," said Mr. Parkerson. "Get your guns and meet us in Congo Square immediately."
The speeches had not lasted more than fifteen minutes. The crowd by this time numbered about 5,000.
THE SLAUGHTER AT THE PRISON
How the Mob Secured an Entrance and then Show down the Sicilians.
The mob seemed determined on quiet work. At the word of command they started toward the parish prison at a dog trot. It waa then seen that there were three carts in the mob in which were a number of ladders to storm the prison if necessary. There were also ropes with which to lynch the prisoners. One of the men on a cart tied the rope aloft in imitation of a hangman's noose and motioned to the mob to come along. Some 300 men armed with rifles made their appearance as men who proposed to take the prison at any cost.
W. S. Parkerson was the commander, J. D. Houston, ex-Criminal Sheriff and the manager of the Democratic party of the State for years, was first lieutenant, and J. C. Wickllffe, formerly District Attorney and editor of the States, Second Lieutenant. Around these armed men the mob surged, some three or four thousand strong. Here and there in the crowd was a man armed with a rifle or a shotgun, but the majority had only revolvers. Some had not even these.
The mob started toward the prison at a quick pace, making the distance of twelve squares in ten minutes. There were no incidents en route. The mass grew larger at every corner. Here and there a few cheers greeted them and there were shouts of "Who kllla de Chief?" the cry with whioh every Italian is greeted In Mew Orleans to-day. The crowd was taciturn. There was no noise save the tramping of feet. The men armed with rifles, most of whom were young, went smiling a though they were on a picnic. All were determined and prepared for resistance if any should be attempted.
When they reached the prison it was soon seen that the men were organized as a military body. The 300 with guns drew up in front of the main gate on Orleans street, other squads went to Treme, Marais and St. Anne streets, completely surrounding the prison, and rendering it impossible for the prisoners to be slipped away by a side or rear entrance. It was also seen that some one had evidently by previous arrangement dumped a number of large wooden beams on Marais street at the side of the prison where they could be conveniently used by the mob as battering rams if it should become necessary to force in the doors. No building was being constructed anywhere near the prison, and it was evident that the beams had been dumped there during the previous night to be used for battering purposes.
The leaders of the mob made a formal demand on Capt. Lem Davis, keeper of the prison for admission. He refused, and said that he oould not surrender the keys without the consent of the Sheriff. He called upon the mob to disperse, Bis refusal was greeted with jeers and groans.
Messengers were immediately despatched for axes and crowbars and picks. These were soon procured from a neighboring blacksmith shop and the mob set to work to break in the big iron gate in front of the prison. It is a massive concern and the instruments made no impression on it. In the mean time another squad attacked the side gate on Marais street. This might easily have been defended by the Sheriff, but no attempt had been made for its defence. The door was battered with some of the beams on the street and finally broken by a negro with an ax. The leaders of the mob stood at the door and only fifty men, the men who had first volunteered their services, were allowed to enter, the rest being kept out with difficulty. The mob first broke into the visiting room, where they were halted for a few seconds by the iron fence and railing.
A demand was made for the key of the gate and a deputy sheriff presented it to one of the men with the remark that the mob was irresistible and it was folly to oppose it any longer. The inside gate was thrown open and the several deputies who were in the lobby gave way to the crowd. The door leading into the white prisoners' yard was open and the mob crowded through.
A cell just at the door was open, and it was crowded with prisoners, who were trembling in every limb. A deputy stood in the door and informed the crowd that none of those In that cell were the prisoners wanted. Then the mob filed out into the yard, glancing up at one of the cells. On the second floor a blanched and ghaatly face was seen at the bars of the door.
"That's Scaffedi," shouted one excited individual and immediately several shots were fired at the cell. The prisoner, whoever he was, quickly disappeared. Several more shots Were fired at the door.
"They are in the female department," shouted a shrill voice. "Where is the key?" "Bring us the key," yelled another and a rush was made for the door separating the two divisions. The door was found securely locked.
"Batter it down," said one.
"Hold," said a young man with a Winchester rifle. "I've got the key," and he held a long key over his head. This announcement was greeted with cheers. The door was opened and the crowd made a break to get in.
"Hold on gentlemen," said Mr Parkerson. We do not want to shed any innocent blood. Who knows the assassins?"
"1 do," "and I," shouted a dozen men. "Let me in. I know them," said one determined man, and he was admitted. Seven men entered and the corridor was found deserted with the exception of one person. This was an old negro woman.
"Dey are up stairs, boss," she said, in answer to a question. The seven men ran up stairs. Before they got half way up a door was slammed and footsteps were heard running along the gallery.
"There they are!" yelled one enthusiast. "Hurrah, tiger!" said another and the cry was taken up by those the lobby. The door leading to the gallery was thrown open, and the backs of the assassins were seen disappearing down the winding stairway leading into the yard of the colored female department. Not a word was spoken then but a half dozen men qulokly ran the length of the gallery and quietly descended the stairs.
These six men did all the shooting. They found the prisoners crouching In the women's department. Bunseri and one of the other Italian saved their lives by concealing themselves in a dog house where they escaped attention. Bunseri weighs over 200 pounds but managed to make himself small for this occasion. Gaspardo Marchesi, the boy prisoner, was saved by some of the mob who took mercy on his tender years. He was concealed between two mattresses. The other Italians were scattered around the yard. When they saw the mob they set up a yell for mercy.
Their cries were heard through the division, and they made a break for the end of the yard toward Orleans street under the gallery. Their object was evidently to get in the last cell but whether any of them did or not cannot be said. Suddenly a voice said "Give it to them!" and instantly three guns and a pistol belched forth a ran of leaden bullets.
Gerachi, who was lame and was the last of tbe fleeing men, received one load in the back of the head, and turning a complete somersault, fell on his face and never moved again. Then Monasteri and Jim Caruso fell. Their backs and heads were literally riddled with bullets. Romero with a cry of anguish, crouched down on his knees with his head almost on the ground.
He was killed in that attitude. He was the only one who had bis hat on, and notwithstanding that it was riddled with bullets, it never left his head. His black frock coat was torn to shreds by the bullets.
Those of the mob who shot from the lobby were so excited that they shot in every direction, and the rioters in the yard had several narrow escapes from the bullets and one man, Officer Hevron, was slightly wounded by a stray ball.
The crowd on the outside beard the firing and cheered without knowing what had been done. Finally some one came to the door and announced that lot of the men had been killed but that Macheca, Marchesi the elder, and Bagnetto would be brought from the prison and hanged.
It had been intended to take Macheca, who was regarded as the leader of the Italians, outside and hang him but in the meanwhile another section of the mob had broken into the cell where Macheca was confined. He heard the men coming, rushed from his cell, which was open and toward the chapel, but was finally cornered in a gallery of the condemned prison.
Here a young man hit him over the head with a rifle which made him insensible. It was reported that he was dead, and the crowd was about to leave him when some one suggested as an extra precaution that he be disposed of. A bullet waa fired through his brain. It being Impossible to hang Macheca, it was decided to lynch Polizi and Bagnetto.
The mob on the outside had grown impatient and demanded victims. The streets for squares around were filled with people among whom were a large number of women and children. The angry crowd wanted vengeance on all the nineteen Italians and showed some opposition when it was announced that only four had been killed, according to the first information given to the mob. A loud demand was then made that the promise to lynch some of the prisoners should be kept. At 11 o'clock, a few minutes after the shooting, the side door on Marais street was pushed open and several of the armed men appeared pushing before them Polizzi, the half-crazed Sicilian who offered to turn Stat's evidence, but who went crazy while attempting to do so. He was aghast with terror and was evidently mad. He was without coat or hat, wore a red flannel shirt, and his black hair was disheveled The crowd called to the armed men to lynch him and he was dragged down to the corner of Marais and St. Anne streets.
The crowd was so dense there that it was difficult to force a passage through it. From the balconies near men and women watched the scene with opera glasses. At the corner was a lamp post; some one threw a rope across the heads of the men who were pushing the prisoner, and when the corner was reached a man scaled the post and threw the rope aronnd it.
There was already a noose at the other end, and this was hastily and imperfectly adjusted about the neck of the Italian. Then willing hands at the other end tugged at the line and the man was hoisted into the air, his white face being turned toward the bright sky. The rope did not hold at first, and Polizzi slipped down to the pavement It was only for an instant, however.
In a couple of seconds stronger hands drew the rope taut and soon the body of the unfortunate man was dangling from the post. As soon as the man was high enough to make the range of shots over the heads of the people a dozen loud reports rang out and the blood gushed from Polizzi's face.
Many shots had riddled his body. Then the rope with which he had been hanged was wrapped seourely about the post, and Polizzi's body was left hanging.
Just before Polizzi had been brought forth Capt. Collien, with a dozen bluecoats in a police van, came tearing up Marals street. They did not go further than tbe corner of St. Anne, however, for there they were met by the throng of citizens, who shook their fists at the officer and ordered them away. One of tho leaders of the mob informed the police that they had just five minutes to leave if they valued their lives. The officers made no response to the threats of the mob, but jumping into the patrol wagon, dashed off at full speed.
This was the only effort made to suppress the riot. Several police officers watched the mob from a distance but said and did nothing. The greater portion of tbe crowd had congregated on St. Anne street, which lay in the rear of the prison, to witness the lynching of Polizzi.
The latter was still quivering when the cry went up that the were lynching another man on the other side of the prison in front of Orleans street, whereupon the entire mob surged in that direction. It was found that the man who was being brought out was Antonio Bagnetto, one of those acquitted yesterday.
He was suffering from a wound and was probably dead when he was lynched or nearly so. Two men carried him to the park in the centre of Orleans street, on which are several rows of trees. Some one ascended a tree and threw another rope around a convenient limb. When Bagnetto was swung up it was seen that he was shot through the head and already dead.
The mob wanted the others, but they were told that enough had been done.
The whole affair occupied barely forty-five minutes. It was 10:20 when the mob reached the pariah prison; it was 11:05 when Bagnetto, the last victim, was strung up.
AFTER THE LYNCHING
Mr. Parkerson Says the Blame Will Ultimately Rest with the Jury
After the lynohers had completed their work in the interior of the prison Mr. Parkerson mounted the sill of one of the street windows and addressed the immense crowd. His presence was the signal for tumultuous cheering.
"Fellow citizens," said Mr Parkerson, "after the law had failed and justice had been thwarted by a corrupt jury and the hired agents of the murderers, the citizens, under the leadership of my associates, have this day taken the law into their own hands and meted out swift punishment to the assassins who have so long infested and disgraced this ommunity. The men who killed Hennessy are dead. Some within the walls of thid prison and others upon the street before your eyes. Lynch law, gentlemen, is a terrible thing, but the Mafia must cease in New Orleans from this moment and forever. The responsibility for this day's tragedy rests with the infamous jury that acquitted the murderers. The people, however, demanded that these murderers should be punished with death and we have executed their will. Now this affair must end here, and if you have confidence in me you will at once disperse and return to your homes, resting assured if there are any other matters to be attended to that they will receive our attention.
At this point the crowd demanded the punishment of O'Malley, who is accused of bribing the jury. Mr. Parkerson then said: "If you have any confidence in me and my associates ('Yes; we have,' yelled the crowd in chorus), then my fellow citizens, go quietly to your homes, and I promise you that Mr O'Malley will be attended to properly."
When Mr. Parkerson had finished his speech the throng broke into the wildest kind of cheering, and, lifting Mr. Parkerson upon their shoulders, bore him away from tho scene.
Then they paraded back to the Clay statue. Mr. Parkerson again spoke, advising the people to go quietly to their business and homes. Some of the crowd marched out to the Common, passing O'Malley whom they wished to lynch. O'Malley remained at his office until 10 o'clock, when the mob started for the parish prison, but left soon after and escaped.
His wife took refuge with Mr. Lionel Adams, ex-Dlstrtet Attorney and counsel for the Italians in tho case and moat of the attorneys for the defence deemed it advisable to seek a place of refuge.
It is understood that when the mob broke into the prison it was the intention to shoot only the three men about whom there was a mistrial. Scaffidi, Pollzzl and Monastero. Some wanted to kill Macheca, and be was slain.
There was then a demand that all the nineteen Italian prisoners should be shot. The mob got hold of Incardina who was acquitted by the jury on the order of the Judge, and would have killed him had not their leader, Mr. Parkerson, interfered and said that Inoardina had been declared innocent by the Court. Matranga's life was saved in the same way. The other four prisoners were confined in another cell and escaped attention.
Of the eleven men killed four had been acquitted by the jury, three had had a mistrial, and four had not been tried. The mob got hold lingered around the scene for some time and the tree on which Bagnetto was hanged was nearly cut down to carry away as mementos.
Polietz and Bagnetto swung to the lamppost and tree until noon when the Coroner put in an apperance and held an inquest on the bodies with a narrow space occupying the width of the two cells under an overhanging gallery in the yard, the bodies of Gerachi, Trabina, Comitez Garus and Monastero were stretched side by side with their heads toward the cells.
At Trabina's feet and lying at right angles to the rest was the body of Romero. The latter's hat, with a hole blown through it as large as a man's two fists clinched together, was picked up by somebody in the crowd from a pool of blood and laid on Comitez's body.
The Coroner reached the parish prison at noon and at once held an inquest. The body of Rocco Geraci was viewed. He had only one wound in the chest. He died from hemorrhages.
Peter Monastero had a gunshot wound in the back of the bead and bruises on the neck. Charles Trahina had ten gunshot wounds in his chest. One gunshot wound on left side of face, gunshot wound in back at left shoulder, one on top of left shoulder and in the back. Jim Cruso had numerous gunshot wounds on the interior portion of the bodv from head to knees, one wound in the face, one In the neck, nine in the chest, twelve in the abdomen, four in the groin, five in the right thigh, and four in the left thigh. Loretto Comitez had a gunshot wound in the chest anteriorly; one gunshot wound on the top of the head, four in the right side of the body, and bruised by a gunshot wound on the left side of the back. Frank Romero, alias "Nine Fingered Frank," had a gunshot wound in the head above the forehead, his face was powder burnt and all the shot lodged in the head and the skull.
This completed the view la the yard. The Coroner, his jury, and the members of the press next went up stairs, and on the gallery of the condemned cells an inquest was held of the bodies lying there.
Antonio Scoffedi had a gun shot wound in the brain. The ball entered above the right eye. Joseph Macheca had not a single bullet wound in him. His face was swollen and his flesh bad already assumed a bluish tint.
The Coroner examined the body and stripped it of clothing. Although the dead man's coat and vest and shirt showed bullet boles, his undershirt was not perforated. It was decided that Macheca was clubbed to death with the butt end of rifles and pistols.
The Coroner then turned to Marchesi, who was found to be still alive. The man's chin and the fore muscles of the neck moved slowly and laboriously. He was just as good as dead, though, for he had a hole as large as a silver quarter in his head. He had several fingers shot off from his right hand. "He will die in a few minutes," remarked the Coroner.
Macheca was a native of Nen Orleans, of Maltese descent. He is a brother of John and Michael Macheca, leading fruit merchants of this city and owner of the Royal Belize Steamship Company. Macheca was therefore the leader among the Italian here, politically and otherwise, and largely controlled the Italian vote.
He was a man about town and had been a personal friend of the dead Chief of Police and a member of the same club with him. He was charged with being the head of the Mafia here and having ordered the killing of Hennessey.
At the time of Hennessey's death be was on bad terms with him, and, it is said, had threatened his life. Jim Caruso was a native of Sicily, a tall, handsome finely formed man. He was member of the firm of Carneo Brothers, stevedores and unloaders of fruit vessels. He had not yet been tried, being in the second batch of men whose trial was to come off next month. Caruso was charged with being a Lieutenant in the Mafia under Maoheo and Matranga. He was with them on the night of Hennessey's murder and it Is said that when they parted Macheca thanked Caruso for getting Hennessey out of the way. Oaruso was one of the Italians who was waylaid by the Provenzanos gang last June and fired upon. Oaruso , being wounded and his brother losing his leg.
Rocco Geracci was a native of Sicily, and it is said bore a very bad reputation in that country being an ex-convict and a member of the Mafia. He was twice arrested here. He was in the Matranga party which was fired on, but escaped with a few wounds.
After the Pronenzano indictment Geracci was arrested for the murder of an Italian shoemaker named Recci, who was killed some years ago in broad daylight, in the presence of a number of Italians, none of whom would bear witness against the murder.
After the second trial it was explained that when Geracci killed the shoemaker he gave the sign of tho Mafia, warning those present not to testify to the killing under penalty of their lives. Caraso was said to be one of the lieutenants of the Mafia. He was a desperate man. Antonio Scoffidi was a native of Siclly and fruit dealer in the Poydras Market.
He was a man of vigorous proportions and more Americanized than most of the other Italians, speaking English well. He was one of the boldest of the Italians on trial, and did not seem at all alarmed.
Soon after the killing of Hennessy he was attacked in tho Pariah prison by Tom Duffy, a news vendor and friend of Hennessey and shot mortally, it was supposed, but recovered in time to stand the trial.
The evidence at the trial was strongest against Scoffidi as the man who killed Hennessy, no less than four witnesses identifying him as the man who fired the last three fatal shots. Antonio Monastero the cobbler, was about 50 years old. It was from his house that Hennessey was shot.
It was charged that he was one of the tools of the Mafia, that the shanty occupied by him, which is diagonally opposite Hennessy's house, was rented for him two months before the murder in order that Hennessy's movements could be watched and the gang which lay in wait for him would have a place of ambuscade. Here, it is charged, they met an hour before the murder and prepared for the killing.
Antonio Marchesi, another old man, was a fruit dealer in the Poydras market. He was the father of the boy Gaspardo who, it was claimed was to walk half a square in advance of Hennessy and give notice of his coming by the whistle peculiar to the Italians here. The elder Marchesi was identified as one of the five men who did the shooting.
Manuel Polozzi, peddler, was a young Sicilian, 26 yearn old. He was superstitious and his mind gave way during the trial. He offered to confess and told a long story about the Mafia, but it was rambling and of no value to the State's authorities.
He carried on wildly in the court and frequently interrupted the session. The city physician examined him and declared he was not insane, but said be was suffering from intense excitement. Polozzi was charged with being the man who provided the guns for the assassination, and also of the principals.
While running from the police the night of the killing he fell and hurt his shoulder. He is reported to have said Scoffedi killed the Chief.
Frank Romero, "Nine-fingered Frank," was a Sicilian. He was charged with being an accessory in the oase, but there was little evidence against him. He was with Machessa the night of the murder.
He bore a bad reputation and bad been in several cutting and shooting affrays here and was regarded as a dangerous man, and one of the leaders in the Italian secret societies, and therefore connected with the Mafia if any one was. He had been a resident of New Orleans for over twenty years. Loretto Comitez was a Sicilian and a fruit dealer. He was charged with being an accessory in the killing of Hennessey, but there was very little evidence against him. He had not been tried when he was killed.