Legendarily-lethal Detroit mafia street boss Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone, the day-to-day overseer of mob affairs in Michigan from 1960 until his death of natural causes in 2001, bragged of “making his bones” in 1948 with the double murder of gangland rogues and first-cousins, Sam Scroy and Pete Lucido. And according to Michigan State Police files, the perpetually-sneering and always perfectly-coiffed Giacalone, a suspect in nearly every Detroit mob hit committed during the second half of the Twentieth Century, coordinated the gruesome execution of Scroy’s brother Chris a decade later.

Sam Scroy and Pete Lucido were first cousins and partners in a mob-backed sports gambling business who angered their superiors in the mafia by trying to expand into Windsor, Canada without permission. They disappeared together on June 12, 1948. Their bodies were never discovered. The Detroit mob has always been in charge of rackets in the bordering Windsor region dating back to Prohibition.

Chris Scroy’s dismembered body was found in five seperate burlap sacks on the side of a rural road in Mount Clemens, Michigan, roughly 15 miles north of Detroit in 1959 a few years after being released from a stint in prison for shooting one of the men he held responsible for his brother’s and cousin’s murder. In the months that followed their 1948 disappearance, Scroy stalked several Detroit mafia powers, learning their daily routines in plans for ambush as he plotted his vengeance.

An FBI report from 1965 cites a confidential government informant telling authorities that Tony Jack boasted to him that he along with Nicolo (Nick the Executioner) Ditta and Joseph (Scarface Joe) Bommarito killed Chris Scroy and Pete Lucido on orders of then-capo Pietro (Machine Gun Pete) Corrado, a mob mentor of his, and as a reward, then-Godfather Joe Zerilli inducted him into La Cosa Nostra (the American mafia). Giacalone was “made” in a 1949 ceremony conducted by Zerilli, who along with his brother-in-law Machine Gun Pete had groomed him in the ways of the underworld from the time he was a young hoodlum, according to state police records.

Per testimony in front of the U.S. Senate, the 1949 making ceremony included fellow future Midwest mob dignitaries, Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, Joe Zerilli’s son and Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco, Zerilli’s nephew. Tony Z and Black Jack Tocco allegedly made their bones with the 1947 garroting of Greek wiseguy Gus Andromulous.

Tocco and the younger Zerilli went on to become the syndicate’s boss and underboss respectively. Ditta was a notoriously-skilled hitman in the annals of the Detroit underworld, a man the FBI believes killed dozens of men in Michigan gangland circles as well as out-of-state, dispatched by Zerilli to take care of “problems” in other cities around the country. Bommarito was Giacalone’s predecessor as the crime family’s street boss.

Tony Giacalone was personally plucked out of the back alleys of Eastern Market by Joe Zerilli and Machine Gun Pete Corrado. Unlike most members of the Zerilli Borgata, Giacalone didn’t come from a mafia bloodline – his dad, Giacomo Giacalone was a fruit peddler in Eastern Market, not a gangster. Tough, smart and ambitious, Tony Jack caught Corrado’s eye and Corrado in turn introduced him to Zerilli, a nationally respected don with a seat on the Commission, the American mob’s board of directors.

Zerilli tapped Giacalone as his protégé. Tony Jack was Zerilli’s driver and bodyguard throughout most of the 1940s. When he wasn’t tooling Zerilli around town, watching his back, Giacalone was working directly under Corrado, helping him run his bookmaking, juice loan and extortion operations. Corrado used Tony Jack and Tony Jack’s baby brother, the equally capable and ferocious Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone, on the frontlines of his and the crime family’ takeover of the area’s Black numbers lottery.

Tony Jack & Billy Jack

Tony Jack & Billy Jack

The Scroy brothers and Pete Lucido, a cousin of syndicate gambling capo Salvatore (Sammy Lou) Lucido, were part of the Detroit mafia’s Pete (Horseface Pete) Licavoli regime, running gambling rackets for Licavoli’s sports book manager and enforcer Max (Big Maxie) Stern. Throughout the spring of 1948, Sam Scroy and Pete Lucido began maneuvering to try to open up shop independently on bookmaking activities across the water in Canada, per state police records. This endeavor began “stepping on the toes” of the Detroit mob’s capo in Windsor, Joseph (Cockeyed Joe) Catalanotte and the toes of his crew, especially when underworld scuttlebutt began saying the two brash hoods were informing on competing, Catalanotte-crew bookies and tipping the cops in Canada off to busts and raids.

Scroy and Lucido were subsequently marked for death.

Since at the time of the infraction Machine Gun Pete Corrado was the crime family’s sergeant-at-arms, in charge of all enforcement duties, and Scarface Joe Bommarito was the syndicate’s then street boss, they were put in charge of planning the double homicide, police reports say, and assigned Tony Giacalone and Nick Ditta the job of physically killing the pair. Called to a meeting at Big Maxie Stern’s Market Vending headquarters, told they were being given the green light to book bets by themselves in Canada, Scroy and Lucido were executed instead – according to what the confidential informant told the feds, strangled to death by Giacalone and Ditta while Stern and Bommarito looked on.

Scroy and Lucido were last seen alive leaving Lucido’s home the afternoon of June 12, 1948. They told their wives they were headed to a meeting at Maxie’s Stern’s office. Lucido’s car was found near Toledo, Ohio (another Detroit mafia outpost), the trunk ajar, two buttons from the navy-colored blazer Lucido was wearing scattered inside. Per the confidential informant, Giacalone relayed a story about him and Ditta traveling with their victims’ bodies in the trunk of a car and being pulled over for by a highway patrolman for speeding prior to disposing of the corpses.

Chris Scroy became so enraged by the murders that he spent the next 18 months plotting to kill those he held responsible, specifically Stern, who both brothers had been on bad terms for years with, Bommarito and Licavoli. According to his own admission, he stalked all three mob figures and even got two gunshots off at Licavoli from afar but missed, before finally catching Stern outside a popular underworld hangout and shooting him several times on February 17, 1950. Stern survived the attempt on his life and Scroy was sent to prison for five years, convicted of the attempted murder in spite of Stern refusing to identify his attacker for the police or on the witness stand for the jury at Scroy’s trial.

Released in the summer of 1955, he operated a bookmaking operation out of a St. Claire Shores, Michigan gas station as the mobsters he had crossed years earlier bided their time, waiting to pounce. Just like his brother and cousin before him, Chris Scroy was marked for death, living on borrowed time for the remainder of the decade. He disappeared on April 10, 1959, telling an employee of his that he was going to a meeting in downtown Detroit, never to be seen alive, and in one piece, again.

Michigan State Police files reveal informants telling them that Tony Giacalone “ran point” on the Chris Scroy hit, assigning the murder itself to his brother Billy, which Billy carried out with the help of his then-driver Anthony (Shrieky) Thomas. Scroy’s dismembered body wasn’t discovered for another year and a half in the fall of 1960.

Billy Jack was allegedly made into the Motor City Borgata in a 1951 ceremony by Joe Zerilli (died of natural causes in 1977, having served as boss for over 40 years). Him and his big brother were two of the prime suspects in the world-famous, still-unsolved disappearance and murder of mob associate and iconic Teamsters union leader, Jimmy Hoffa, who vanished on his way to a meeting with Tony Jack, slated for the afternoon of July 30, 1975 at a suburban Detroit restaurant.

Tony Jack replaced Scarface Joe Bommarito as the Detroit mob’s street boss around the time of Chris Scroy’s slaying, not giving up the reins until he died of kidney failure in 2001. Bommarito retired to Florida stricken with Muscular Sclerosis, finally passing away in 1965. Corrado died of a sudden heart attack in the winter of 1957 and Ditta was killed in a mob-hit-gone-wrong in July 1976. Billy Jack lasted until 2012, when the capo and underboss went to that big social club in the sky as a result of natural causes at the ripe old age of 88.

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