Chicago Mob 1990s Hit List

Outfit Murders – 1990-2000

Damage Toll: 10 bodies

*Violence in the Windy City mafia dipped sharply in the 1990s, the amount of gangland slayings were down 21 hits from the previous decade

May 14, 1990 – Outfit associate, trucking company owner and drug peddler Jimmy Pellegrino is found shot in the back of the head, his feet and hands duck taped together, wrapped in a tarp and floating down the Des Plaines River after an alleged falling out with a dirty, mob-linked cop over stolen money

July 2, 1990 – Outfit associate and bookmaker Victor Lazarus is found shot in the back of the head in a Northside parking lot. Lazarus, 86, took action in both Las Vegas and his hometown of Chicago

November 6, 1991 – Outfit associate Edward Pedote, a stolen jewelry fence and convicted burglar and drug dealer from Naperville, Illinois is bludgeoned with a table leg and shot in the face in a Chicago furniture store

November 21, 1991 – Outfit business associate and real estate liquidator Wally Lieberman from ritzy Northshore Chicago suburb Northbrook is shot to death in Cicero. Lieberman was connected to imprisoned Outfit lieutenant Robert (Bobby the Gabeet) Bellavia. His wife was Bellavia’s secretary. Bellavia was jailed months earlier on a racketeering and murder indictment centered around the Cicero crew’s Lake County wing. Bellavia was released from prison last year after serving 25 years on racketeering and murder-conspiracy charges

November 5, 1992 – Outfit associate and drug dealer Sam (Needles) Taglia is shot twice in the back of the head, his throat slit and his body stuffed in the trunk of his car and left in a Melrose Park apartment complex parking lot. Chicago mobster Albert (Albie the Falcon) Vena, at that point in time a rising enforcer in the Northside crew, was put on trial but acquitted for the Taglia hit. Vena was seen with Taglia leaving Taglia’s suburban residence in the hours before his killing. Today, Vena is the crime family’s reputed capo of the Grand Avenue crew and its’ alleged day-to-day street boss.

November 5, 1994 – Outfit bookie and native-Italian Giuseppe Vicari is beaten and shot to death inside his Westside Chicago restaurant, La Casa De Caffe. Vicari had been in the United States for five years and was under indictment in a gambling case at the time of his murder

January 6, 1997 – Jewish Chicago mob associate and then-independent bookie and loan shark Herbert (Fat Herbie) Blitzstein is killed inside his Las Vegas home in an ill-conceived takeover of Blitzstein’s rackets hatched in tandem by representatives from the Los Angeles and Buffalo mob crime families operating in Nevada. Blitzstein was a lieutenant under the Outfit’s slain Las Vegas crew boss Tony (The Ant) Spilotro in the 1970s and 1980s.

July 2, 1997 – Windy City loan shark and Southside crew member James (Jimmy Poker) DiForti is charged with the 1988 murder of Outfit associate and Chicago businessman William (Bill the Pallet Man) Benham.  DiForti shot Benham in Benham’s suburban office over a six-figure debt he owed to the mob.

May 15, 1998 – Mike Cutler, set to be a witness against the son of the Outfit’s Southside crew capo Frank (Tootsie) Caruso in a racially-motivated attempted murder case involving the beating of a 13-year old African-American boy in the coming weeks, is shot to death on the Westside after a night of partying with friends

December 23, 1999 – Chicago mafia lieutenant, hit man and Southside crew member Ronnie Jarrett is gunned down en route to a funeral. He doesn’t die until January 25, 2000. Jarrett was once a part-time member of the notorious Wild Bunch assassin crew in the 1970s and 1980s and had been feuding with Outfit street boss John (Johnny Apes) Monteleone.


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