Roy Albert DeMeo – Leader of the Gambino Family Murder for Hire

Roy Albert DeMeo was born on September 7, 1942 in Bath Beach Brooklyn to working class Italian immigrants. In 1959 DeMeo graduated from James Madison High School with an accomplished loan shark business bringing in hundreds of dollars each week.

After leaving James Madison High School DeMeo married and fathered three children. He also continued his loan sharking business and by 1966 caught the attention of the Gambino crime family and in particular Nino Gaggi, who was a very accomplished racketeer.

Gaggi saw the potential in having DeMeo work for him. He told DeMeo he could make even more money with his business if he came to work for the Gambino’s. DeMeo accepted and Gaggi and DeMeo immediately set up their own loan sharking business. Once that was running, the two branched out and formed a crew for DeMeo that specialized in car theft. His crew would become known as the DeMeo crew and the Gemini crew and included Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski, Chris Rosenberg, Joseph Guglielmo,

DeMeo Crew

Anthony Senter, Henry Borelli, and Joey Testa.

As DeMeo grew his illegal business, he also developed himself as a legitimate businessman. He joined the Brooklyn Credit Union as a member of the board of directors and used his position to launder money for Rosenberg who had a healthy income from dealing in drugs. Before long, DeMeo had several loan sharking businesses running from the credit union and was making hundreds of thousands each year.

In 1973 at the age of 30 DeMeo committed his first murder. DeMeo and Gaggi were slient partners in a porno lab. The proprietor, Paul Rothernberg was arrested by the police and DeMeo believed he would fold under pressure and talk to the police. Once he was released on bail awaiting trial, DeMeo summoned him to a meeting at a local diner, and then shot him to death in a nearby alley.

The following year DeMeo was involved in another murder when a young bodyshop owner Andrei Katz began to cooperate with the police after an altercation with DeMeo. In June 1975 Katz was lured and confronted by DeMeo and some of his crew. Katz was abducted stabbed and dismembered. A woman who had a role in luring Katz confessed to the police and Joseph Testa and Henry Borelli were arrested. The stood trial in 1976 and were acquitted.

After the Katz murder, DeMeo and his crew began committing mafia sanctioned hits. The DeMeo crew would lure their targets to the Gemini Club where they would kill them, bleed them dry, and then cut them into pieces to be disposed of. There exact method of murder was explained by soldier turned informant Frederick DiNome who said, the target would be lured into the back of the Gemini club at which point someone, usually DeMeo, would shoot them and quickly wrap a towel around their head to prevent blood loss. Then another of his crew would stab the person in the heart to lessen the flow of blood from their head. After letting the body bleed in the bathtub, they would cut the body into pieces and drop it in several location.

At the time the police were not aware the DeMeo crew was a killing machine, however after testimony from other Mafioso in the 1990’s they learned the DeMeo crew was responsible for over 200 hundred murders; more than Anastasia’s Murder Inc.

In 1977 Roy DeMeo officially became a member of the Gambino family. The current boss of the family, Paul Castellano reluctantly agreed to “open the books” for DeMeo after DeMeo arbitrated an agreement with the Westies gang who was feuding with the Gambino’s.

In November 1978 DeMeo and his crew murdered one of their own, Danny Grillo. Grillo, who has fallen into heavy debt with DeMeo, was killed after both DeMeo and Naggi felt Grillo would run to law enforcement for safety.

The following year, DeMeo struck again killing the very first member of the DeMeo crew, Chris Rosenberg. Rosenberg was involved in a drug deal with a Colombian drug cartel. Instead of conducting business as usual, Rosenberg murdered all of them, taking the money and the drugs. When Naggi found out about the killings, he feared the Colombian drug cartel would start a war, so to keep them calm, he ordered DeMeo to murder Rosenberg.

After stalling for weeks, DeMeo thought a young college student Dominick Ragucci who was parked outside DeMeo’s house, was a Colombian hitman. DeMeo approached Ragucci and a car chase ensured. DeMeo fired several shots at the student until his car was disabled, then DeMeo walked up to Ragucci and fired several shots into his head killing him. DeMeo son later wrote in his book For The Sins of My Father, when DeMeo found out he murdered a college student just trying to make a living as a door to door salesman, he started crying.

After hearing of the murder, Naggi again ordered DeMeo to kill Rosenberg. On May 11, 1979 Rosenberg, who had no idea he was a target arrived at a meeting with DeMeo and others from his crew. DeMeo shot Rosenberg in the head at point blank range. When Rosenberg rose from one knee, DeMeo couldn’t pull the trigger again and Anthony Senter fired four shots into the back of his head. Rosenberg’s body was left in his car parked out in the open to be found and squash the bad blood with the Colombians.

By 1982 the FBI had been conducting surveillance on DeMeo trying to gather enough evidence to convict him for several murders. During their surveillance they picked up a conversation between Gene and John Gotti, that Gambino boss, Paul Castellano had put a hit contract out on DeMeo. Castellano, who was more of a businessman than a thug, was tired of the DeMeo crew, and wanted to disband them. The problem he was having was he couldn’t find anyone who would take the contract. Most in the family feared DeMeo and his crew should they not succeed.

Police photo of Roy DeMeo after he was found shot to death and his body placed in the trunk of his car.

John Gotti was eventually put in charge of the DeMeo contracted and handed it to DeMeo crew members Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter. On January 10, 1983, DeMeo went to Patty Testa’s house for a meeting with his men. His body was found on January 20th in the trunk of his car. It was said that Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter fired the shots that killed DeMeo, however due to the FBI surveillance; Paul Castellano was indicted on murder charges among other charges. Castellano never made it to trial and was murdered along with his underboss on the orders of Gambino capo John Gotti.

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