'Chicken' Louie Ferrantello (1918-1956) was a bookmaker and nightclub owner, with known association of the Dallas Crime Family , a criminal associate of Jack Ruby. He was a divorcee, with at least 2 children, 1 from the first marriage and 2nd from his girlfriend, and was a War Hero.
Louie had a brother and the two ran a poultry shop, hence his nickname of 'chicken'. The shop was called Texas Poultry and egg Co.
Louie was a decorated war veteran, serving in General George Patton's second armored division in the european theater. He was decorated by the Belgian government for bravery after his unit was cut off in the Hertgen forest.
Louie was the father of at least two children, one from his first marriage to Mary Dorothy McCully, a son named Anthony Ferrantello. His second child belonged to his girlfriend, Betty Louise Barry . Louis was divorced to Mary 18 months before her accidental death because "she wanted a normal, happy home and he couldn't provide one."
Arrest and Trial
In early May 1951 the Dallas Police Department's Vice squad planned a successful surprise raid on the Civello mob's primary bookmaking operation. The police managed to arrest 3 members. John Eli Stone, Isadore Miller, and Louie Ferrantello. They were considered close criminal associates to Ruby , who was not arrested during the raid. Within weeks, Louie was under investigation for organized crime activity in Texas. The case began October 8th 1952. He didn't testify, but rather took the 5th amendment over 100 times where he was cited for contempt of the legislature. One of LBJ's personal attorneys, Everett Looney came to Ferrantello's defense during the trial. However the DA was unable to incriminate Ferrantello and the mafia to the full extent, resulting in Ferrantello paying a fine of $1,000 and serving one year in prison while the operation continued. A small excerpt of the trial's questions is here.
"Q. Do you know anyone, Mr. Ferrantello, who is in the book-making business in the state of Texas?
A. I refuse to answer that, sir, on the grounds that it might incriminate me.
"Q. The Committee is going to insist that you answer that question.
A. I refuse.
"Q. The Committee directs you to answer as to whether or not you do know anyone in the state of Texas who is in the book-making business.
A. I refuse to answer that, sir."
Death and Aftermath
Louie was shot and killed by Betty Louise Barry on July 18th, 1956 in his North Dallas Tavern 'Anthony's. located in the lakewood section. Ferrantello had been shot during a struggle for a pistol. Miss Barry reported it as the climax of a love affair. He was 38 years old. In a series of news reports, Miss Barry stated she had become pregnant and asked Louie to marry her, to which he declined. Distraught, she initially came to shoot herself, and seeing this, louie struggled to take the gun from her. As a result he was shot once in the shoulder and stomach, while Miss Barry was also shot, but not fatally. Witnesses reported seeing him stumble out of his office, ask for an ambulance and then collapse. Louie was pronounced dead at arrival of Parkland Memorial Hospital. Miss Barry was not charged for the murder.
Death of Mary McCully
Louie's first wife, Mary Dorothy McCully, ( 1925-1956) was found dead in her employer's automobile trunk in October of 1956. She was 31 at the time of her death. She had been shot in the struggle for a .32-caliber automatic gun in her lovers car. Her employer was a heavy love interest, planning on making her his wife. It was reported in The Kansas City Times that Walter G. Borchers "Broke down and cried" while directing police to the scene.
-Ironically, Both Louie and his ex wife were slain due to being shot by their lover. The only difference is Louie's death was accidental, whereas Mary's seemed intentionally homicidal.
- John Stanfa married into the Ferrantello family
- Ferrantello was initially spelled Firrantello in italy
In other media
He was featured in the book 'Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy'.
https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1778743/ferrantello-v-state/ - Court case appeal