CRIME HUNTER: Bloodbath unleashed by Roy Demeo’s ‘Murder Machine’

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Sammy The Bull Gravano tells an interesting anecdote about murderous mobster Roy Demeo.


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The famed Gambino underboss recalled a meeting with Demeo at a Staten Island diner with two underlings to discuss shipping stolen cars — the latter’s specialty — to the Middle East.

Gravano later recalled that Demeo was looking at a room of seniors in an adjoining room. The Bull asked him if he wasn’t interested in talking cars.

No, Demeo replied, he was thinking how easy it would be to murder the roomful of elderly diners.

Gravano was shocked. Business was one thing — this was another.

“There’s something wrong with this guy,”Gravano told his lieutenant outside the eatery. “I think he’s becoming a serial killer. Be wary. Be prepared. Something’s not right up here bro.”


Mobster Roy Demeo was behind the wheel of the Murder Machine.


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The Gambino crime family soldier oversaw a bloodthirsty crew of killers that was eyed in as many as 200 gangland murders from the 1970s to the early 1980s.

Demeo was a one-time butcher’s apprentice who found his true calling in the ranks of New York City’s underworld. The mobster would eventually become too violent to live.

He was born in Brooklyn in 1940 to hard-working Italian immigrant parents. His older brother was killed in the Korean War.

Gambino captain Anthony “Nino” Gaggi was a mentor. HANDOUT/ FBI
Gambino captain Anthony “Nino” Gaggi was a mentor. HANDOUT/ FBI

In 1966, he was recruited by Gambino talent spotter Anthony “Nino” Gaggi and the young butcher signed on. He joined Gaggi in a loansharking racket and began building his own crew of car thieves.

The first street hood to sign on was 16-year-old Chris Rosenberg, a neighbourhood dope dealer. Years later, a heartbroken Demeo would have to park a bullet in Rosenberg’s skull at the behest of mob bosses.


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Besides bringing in bags of money for the Gambinos, the Demeo Crew also proved themselves adept at homicide — and not getting caught. They called it the “Gemini Method” of getting rid of bodies.

Demeo made his bones in 1973 when he whacked New York porno kingpin Paul Rothenberg who paid extortion money to the surly gangster and his mentor, Gaggi.

Rothenberg’s crime was having bank cheques made out to Demeo. Cops were getting too close. He had to go.

The bloodthirsty Demeo Crew. HANDOUT/ FBI
The bloodthirsty Demeo Crew. HANDOUT/ FBI

Two bullets from a silencer-equipped .38-calibre handgun settled that. The murder seemed to trigger a dormant bloodlust in the gangster.

And using his butcher’s skills, he literally made unlucky mobsters “do the Houdini” and simply vanish. The death house was an apartment over a joint called the Gemini Lounge in Canarsie, Brooklyn.


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When the doomed arrived at the upstairs apartment — called the Horror Hotel — they were greeted by crew member Joseph “Dracula” Guglielmo. Demeo kept his “tool kit” in the flat. Bullet in the head, then dismemberment.

Turncoat Dominick Montiglio testified in court: “Somebody would wrap a towel around to stop the blood and somebody would stab him in the heart to stop the blood from pumping.”

“Roy said, ‘We have to cut them up,’” Vito Arena later testified. “Roy instructed me and Henry (Borelli), believe it or not, to go and buy some pizza.”

No body, no crime.

Gambino boss Paul Castellano had had enough of Demeo. HANDOUT/ NYPD
Gambino boss Paul Castellano had had enough of Demeo. HANDOUT/ NYPD Photo by HANDOUT /NYPD

But the clock was ticking on Roy Demeo and his crew. Too much attention. Too wild.

The beginning of the end came when an 18-year-old college student working as a vacuum-cleaner salesman was mistaken for a Cuban hitman by the increasingly paranoid Demeo who proceeded to shoot the kid.


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In the underworld, whacking a snitch, a degenerate gambler or a wiseguy who broke the rules is one thing. A college student? That’s something else altogether.

Vito Arena flipped and started singing like a canary. Demeo was subpoenaed in late 1982 and by that time Gambino chieftain Paul “Big Paulie” Castellano had seen enough and the mobster knew it, a sawed-off shotgun always by his side.

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The 42-year-old Demeo was lured to a garage in Brooklyn that his gang had used. There, he met with his mentor Nino Gaggi, now a Gambino capo. Roy Demeo barely had his coat off when Gaggi and other crew members pumped scores of bullets into his body, seven of them into his head.

But his minions didn’t make Demeo — one of the most psychopathic killers in mob history — disappear. They left his corpse in the trunk of his 1983 Cadillac and parked it at a marina.

After members of the yacht club complained enough, cops came and found Demeo.

Mob boss Castellano wouldn’t last much longer. He was taken off the board in December 1985 in front of Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan, paving the way for the Teflon Don, John Gotti.

“The Roy DeMeo crew is the most violent crew ever prosecuted in federal court, as far as my knowledge,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Mack Jr. said after the sentencing, adding that DeMeo “engaged in wholesale murder.”

Friends recalled he was a devoted family man.



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