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 25 shillings.

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 days. 

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.

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