Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
Questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 10, 2012
First DUI Arrest (1897), Mob Boss Salvatore Maranzano is Murdered (1931) & Serial Killers Charlene Williams and Gerald Gallego Meet (1977)
On this date in 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver
named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving
after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined
On this date in 1931, crime boss Salvatore Maranzano is
shot and stabbed to death in New York City by four men working for Charles
"Lucky" Luciano, one of the flashiest figures in organized crime.
At one time, Luciano was living at the Waldorf Astoria
and taking in over a million dollars a year, while declaring only a small
income. He was always seen with a Broadway showgirl on his arm, although he
reportedly had a fondness for prostitutes in private. Luciano's main source of
income was selling protection to brothels in New York City. He earned his
nickname from his luck at picking winning horses. However, Luciano was also
lucky with his life. In October 1929, Luciano was abducted and stabbed in the
cheek and throat with an ice pick. Miraculously enough, the weapon missed his
jugular vein, and he survived. When prosecutors began to gather evidence
against Luciano, he fled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, a city notorious for
prostitution. But the authorities managed to catch up with him, and he was
extradited to New York to face extortion charges. Luciano, who was subsequently
convicted, was saved from a long stretch in prison by the onset of World War II.
Because the city's organized crime syndicate still controlled the waterfront at
the beginning of the war, authorities struck a deal with Luciano to eliminate
potential sabotage of important military operations at the docks. In return,
they agreed to deport Lucky to Italy, where he lived out the remainder of his
On this date in 1977, Charlene Williams and Gerald
Gallego meet at a poker club in Sacramento, Sacramento, resulting in one of the
worst serial killing teams in American history.
Before they were finally caught, the Gallegos killed and
sexually assaulted at least 10 people over a two-year period. Within a week of
their first encounter, Charlene moved in with Gerald. The son of the first man
to be executed in Mississippi’s gas chamber, Gerald had amassed seven felony
convictions by the age of 32. He had also been married five times and, it was
later revealed, had been sexually abusing his young daughter. By the time
Charlene met Gerald, she had already gone through two marriages and had
acquired a hard-drug habit. Gerald, who had a taste for multiple women in his
bed, brought home a teenage runaway so that he could indulge in a threesome
shortly after Charlene moved in with him. However, he became extremely angry
when he found out that Charlene and the girl were engaging in sex without him. The
couple soon decided to find victims that could keep Gerald sexually satisfied.
After two months of planning, they abducted their first victims in September
1978: two teenage girls, whom they sexually assaulted, beat with a tire iron,
and then shot in the head. The couple, now married, waited until the following
June before striking again, grabbing two young girls in Reno, Nevada. However,
this time Charlene became mad at Gerald because he started raping the girls
without her, while she was driving the van. When she began firing shots at him,
he quickly killed the victims. The pace of the couple's killings quickened in
1980. In April, they kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered two girls from
a mall near Sacramento. Two months later, they found another victim during a
vacation in Oregon. This time they buried their victim alive. In July, the
Gallegos kidnapped and killed a couple as they were leaving a fraternity party.
However, partygoers got the license plate of their car, and a manhunt was
instituted. The Gallegos managed to elude authorities for a few months but were
finally caught in November in Omaha, Nebraska. While awaiting trial, Charlene
agreed to testify to save her own life. Gerald Gallego was tried in both Nevada
and California and received death sentences in both states. Charlene was
sentenced to 16 years and 8 months in jail and was released in July 1997.