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A True Story

Synopsis:       Click here for pdf of the synopsis.

In March of 1932 Anthony Marino, a bar owner, Frank Pasqua, the owner of a funeral home, and Joseph “Red” Murphy, a bartender, all in their 20’s, were in desperate need of cash. The three decided to take an insurance policy out on Marino’s girlfriend, Betty Ann Sedgwick, and murder her for the money. Pasqua had crooked friends in the insurance and medical world and could take care of the details. Sedgwick was a 27 year-old alcoholic and the agreed form of execution would be to feed her enough liquor to end her life. On March 22nd Betty Ann Sedgwick drank until she passed out. Marino poured more alcohol into her unconscious body and the men carried her back to her room. They stripped her naked, poured water all over her body, and opened a window to let the frigid air in. Sedgwick died of alcohol poisoning and pneumonia.

Eight months later the three killers were broke. Along with two new members of the gang, 26 year-old Daniel Kreisberg and 27 year-old Hershey Green, they searched through the patrons of Marino’s bar for a new victim. The men settled on Michael Malloy, a 60 year-old friendly alcoholic who spent much of his time begging for drinks. The killing would be handled the same with Malloy drinking to death. On December 31st, 1932 Malloy drank until he passed out. The men carried him back to his room and

returned to the bar, discussing the arrangements for payment. The next day a smiling Malloy entered the bar, asking if his credit was still good. The men, startled by his appearance, told Murphy to serve him as much as he wants. Again Malloy drank until he passed out and again he returned the next day. Marino suggested they give him only the strongest liquor available and so they did. But for the next three weeks Malloy drank all they served and kept coming back for more. Marino was now concerned that Malloy may deplete his entire stock and put him out of business. They needed a new plan.

Bartender Joseph Murphy was, by schooling, a chemist. He suggested they kill Marino not with alcohol but with poison. The most readily available was anti-freeze. Hershey Green drove a taxi-cab and was in charge of securing the poison. That night Malloy drank half alcohol, half antifreeze cocktails. He passed out at 3:00 A.M. and the men called in a doctor they had on the payroll. He assured them Malloy’s heart was slowing and he’d be dead within the hour. But an hour later Malloy woke. He asked for a couple drinks, which the dumbfounded gang gave him, and went home. For the next 2 weeks Marino and his men fed Malloy a variety of straight poisons including turpentine, wood alcohol, and horse liniment. Malloy withstood it all. Pasqua told his partners he had recently buried a few people who died from eating rancid fish. Daniel Kreisberg quickly made a sandwich consisting of spoiled sardines, metal shavings from the sardine tin, rat poison and carpet tacks. Malloy ate the meal and returned the next day saying he “liked the sandwich, especially the crunchy bits in the middle.”

Marino, Pasqua, Murphy, Kreisberg and Green were at wit’s end. They decided to call in a professional hit man, “Tough” Tony Bastone. Bastone’s idea was to use Green’s taxicab to run Malloy down. The next evening they drove to a desolate stretch of road. Marino and Bastone held up the staggering Malloy. Green backed up a couple hundred yards and floored it. When he was close enough Bastone and Marino jumped out of the way and Green slammed into Malloy. He backed up over him and they sped away. For the next week the gang called hospitals and the morgue but there was no sign of Malloy. Frantic, they decided to find another bum, run him over, identify him as Malloy, and collect their money. They followed through with their plan but their new victim ended up in a coma. They still couldn’t find Malloy but their search was about to end. The next day Michael Malloy walked into the bar, apologized for his long absence, and asked for a drink.

The group felt they had come too far to quit. Marino and Bastone assured the others that “Malloy was not immortal.” Bastone added that the mistake they had been making was that they never stayed with Malloy until they were sure he was dead. This time they would. That night...

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