Leo Cellura

Leonardo "Leo" Cellura (May 11, 1892 - October 12, 1972) known as "Black Leo", was an organized crime figure and notable member of the Detroit Partnership.


Born in Italy, Cellura arrived in Detroit at the age of 16. Cellura's name began appearing in news papers regularly during the Giannola/Vitale gang war. Cellura was counted among the many capable soldiers employed by brothers Sam and Antonino Giannola. Cellura was a close friend of Salvatore Catalanotte and mentored many of the younger gunmen Sam recruited to fill the void left by the deaths of much of the gangs leadership at the hands of the rival Vitale crime group. Cellura was often linked to Angelo Meli, Joseph Zerilli, "Black Bill" William Tocco and a host of other notable Detroit mafiosi. In fact, Cellura was one of eight men detained on August 11, 1920 after Tony Badalamenti a nephew of Giovanni Vitale was shot and killed as he stood in front of his market in Detroit. This murder was carried out to avenge the shooting of two East side gangsters also tied to Cellura earlier in the day. Black Leo Cellura died of natural causes in Detroit, on October 12, 1972 at the age of 80.

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