Albert Anselmi was a soldier in the Chicago Outfit, who loyally worked for Chicago Mafia kingpin Al Capone as one of his most brutal hitmen and most loyal enforcers. Anselmi was once completely loyal to Capone, he would do anything and everything for Capone, and would follow any order without hesitation. During the two-year bloody war between Capone's criminal organization and the North Side Gang, Anselmi once jumped on Capone, and used his own body as a shield against flying bullets to protect Capone from harm. Anselimi allegedly killed over 100 people on the orders from Capone. But despite his previous loyalty, Anselmi decided to betray Capone by trying to overthrow his reign and his multi-billion dollar empire, resulting in ASnselmi's brutal death, along with his longtime partner John Scalise.
Born in Marsala, Sicily in 1884, Albert Anselmi became involved with the Mafia early in his life. Escaping the relatives of one of his murder victims, he fled to America around 1912 and entered the country illegally through the Gulf Coast, eventually settling on "The Hill", the Italian community of St. Louis. By the beginning of Prohibition, Anselmi had moved on to Chicago, working for the six Genna brothers in Little Italy. Contrary to common belief, it was here that he first met the youthful John Scalise, who would become his crime partner and best friend. Although older, Anselmi was not as quick thinking as his young apprentice, and soon enough the student was leading the teacher.
The pair became noted as the Gennas' deadliest killers, as they were suspected, along with New York gangster Frankie Yale, of murdering North Side gang leader Dion O'Bannion on November 10, 1924. Shortly thereafter, on June 13, 1925, Anselmi and Scalise, along with Mike Genna, ambushed North Siders Bugs Moran and Vincent Drucci in Little Italy, shooting up their car with shotguns and wounding Drucci. About an hour later, as the shooters raced south on Western Avenue, they were pursued by a detective squad and overtaken at the corner of Western and 60th. During the ensuing gun battle, Chicago Police officers Charles Walsh and Harold Olsen were killed and Michael Conway severely wounded. The fourth officer, William Sweeney, pursued the fleeing Anselmi, Scalise, and Genna towards the next block of houses. Genna was fatally shot by Sweeney while the other two fell into police hands. Anselmi and Scalise were bound over for trial. Prosecutor Bob Crowe vowed to send both men to the gallows. During some of the most bizarre legalistics in American history, the two killers' lawyers managed to convince the jury that they had reacted against "unwarranted police aggression." Anselmi and Scalise were found guilty of the manslaughter of Officer Walsh, drawing a sentence of 14 years in prison. Four months later, after taking many weeks in order to secure enough people who were willing to serve on the jury, they were acquitted of the murder of Officer Olsen due largely to the same arguments as the first trial. Nine months later, in December 1926, Anselmi and Scalise were granted a retrial by the Illinois Supreme Court and released from prison. In June 1927, they were tried once again and acquitted of the murder of Walsh. By then, the two, through the events and trials of the past two years, had forged a close bond, and they went to work for Capone with a venganance.
Death of Anselmi and Scalise
Because they had gotten away with murdering two Chicago Police officers, Anselmi and Scalise had a very unsavory reputation, so much so that they were automatically suspected of guilt any time some of Al Capone's enemies turned up dead. Upon the murder of Unione Siciliane president Pasquale Lolordo in January 1929, the two rose even higher, with the ambitious Scalise acting as vice-president to Joseph "Hop Toad" Giunta, although there were those who insisted that Giunta received most of his marching orders from John Scalise. After the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre of February 14, 1929, the "Murder Twins", as they were now called, fell under suspicion. Cook County prosecutors ended up with only enough evidence to indict Scalise for the massacre, along with Jack McGurn. The indictments became moot when Anselmi, Scalise, and Joseph "Hop Toad" Giunta turned up dead on a lonely road near Hammond, Indiana in the early morning hours of May 8, 1929. All three had been severely beaten and shot to death. The coroner said he had never seen such disfigured bodies. Within a few days, a story circulated that the three men were lured to a banquet with their Sicilian friends and, while trying to break up a quarrel that was being staged for their benefit, were attacked and killed. Years later, a more popular story would emerge that Al Capone had discovered that Anselmi and Scalise had decided to betray him. At the climax of a dinner thrown in their honor, Capone produced a baseball bat and beat the three men within an inch of their lives, before two or three gunmen stepped in to finish the job. No one shed any tears over them. Anselmi's body was shipped back to Marsala, Sicily for burial.