Crime History, Jan. 14, 1941: ‘Mad Dog’ brothers kill two in Manhattan gun battle

Famed photographer Arthur "Weegee"Fellig who revoluntionized crime photrography, captured this famed photo of Anthony Esposito two days after the Manhattan shootout.

Famed photographer Arthur “Weegee”Fellig who revoluntionized crime photrography, captured this famed photo of Anthony Esposito two days after the Manhattan shootout. (© Weegee/International Center of Photography)

On this day, Jan. 14, in 1941, Anthony and William Esposito killed led New York police on a wild daytime shootout through Manhattan that ended with two dead, including a police officer. The brother’s murder trial is one of the most well-known insanity defense cases. 

Sixty-nine years ago, the brothers followed a man from the Empire State Building across Fifth Avenue into the elevator of an office building. Anthony Esposito demanded the man’s money, then shot him in the head, fled the building and hopped into a cab.

The taxi stalled in traffic and the brothers exited the taxi. Police Officer Edward Maher gave chase through the lunch crowds. Manhattan’s shopping district became a free fire zone and shoppers ducked to safety. William Esposito, 28, dropped to the sidewalk. Anthony Esposito, 35, raced into the nearby Woolworth store and disappeared into the crush of shoppers.

Maher went to check on William Esposito, who lay still with his gun on the ground and blood pooling around him. Maher holstered his weapon, leaned over the man, and told the crowd to get back. The man on the ground suddenly jumped to life, turned over and shot Maher three times.

A cab driver jumped from his taxi and threw himself at Esposito, and took a bullet to the throat. A security guard was struck in the shoulder before Esposito’s weapon ran out of bullets and he was overtaken by the crowd. His brother was cornered by police inside a department store and eventually surrendered.

During their trial, the Espositos walked into the courtroom like apes and drooled on their table. They howled, cried uncontrollably, ate paper and banged their heads on the table. The New York media called them “The Mad Dogs.”

The jury deliberated for just one minute, a trial record that stands today. The brothers were found guilty, and were executed at Sing Sing in 1942.

— Scott McCabe

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com.

  2. Richard M Nixon (Deceased) says:

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

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