The events that led to Malloy’s death began in January 1933. He was, at the time, alcoholic and homeless. Five men who were acquainted with him, Tony Marino, Joseph Murphy, Francis Pasqua, Hershey Green, and Daniel Kriesberg (later dubbed “the Murder Trust” by the headlines), plotted to take out three life insurance policies on Malloy and then get him to drink himself to death. The first part of the plot was successful (probably achieved with the aid of a corrupt insurance agent), and they stood to gain over $3,500 (almost $57,000 today) if Malloy died an accidental death.

Marino owned a speakeasy and gave Malloy unlimited credit, thinking Malloy would abuse it and drink himself to death. Although Malloy drank for a majority of his waking day, it did not kill him. To remedy this, antifreeze was substituted for liquor, but still, Malloy would drink until he passed out, wake up, and came back for more. Antifreeze was substituted with turpentine, followed by horseliniment, and finally mixed in rat poison. Still, Malloy lived.

The group then tried raw oysters soaked in methanol. This idea apparently came from Pasqua, who saw a man die after eating oysters with whiskey. Then came a sandwich of spoiled sardines mixed with poison.

When that failed, they decided that it was unlikely that anything Malloy ingested was going to kill him, so the Murder Trust decided to freeze him to death. On a night when the temperature reached -14 °F, Malloy drank until he passed out, was carried to a park, dumped in the snow, and had five gallons of water poured on his bare chest. (The gang had successfully used a similar method on their first victim the previous year.) Nevertheless, Malloy reappeared the following day for his drink. The next attempt on his life came when they hit him with Green’s taxi, moving at 45 miles per hour. This put Malloy in the hospital for three weeks. The gang presumed he was dead but was unable to collect the policy on him. When he again appeared at the bar, they decided on one last approach.

On February 22, after he passed out for the night, they took him to Murphy’s room, put a hose in his mouth that was connected to the gas jet, and turned it on. This finally killed Malloy.

He was pronounced dead of lobar pneumonia and quickly buried. However, the members of the Murder Trust proved to be their own worst enemies—they talked too much and squabbled among themselves. Eventually police heard the rumors of what they did, and upon learning that a Michael Malloy had died that night, they had the body exhumed. The five men were put on trial. Green went to prison, and the other four members were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing.

About these ads