TIMELINE OF MOB VIOLENCE IN HAMILTON
Aug. 13, 1930: Bessie Starkman, common-law wife to Rocco Perri is gunned down in the garage of their house on Bay Street South. No one was ever charged in the killing. More than 10,000 people attended her funeral.
April 23, 1944: Last sighting of Rocco Perri, Canada’s King of Bootleggers, who vanished while out for a walk. Perri made a fortune in Hamilton through illicit booze, prostitution, narcotics and the enforcement racket.
Late 1970s to summer of 1980: A series of bombings across Hamilton targets the Italian community. Hamilton became known as “bomb city” during that time. In 1983, Anthony Musitano is convicted of conspiracy to possess explosive substances with intent to cause explosions and sentenced to 15 years.
Nov. 21, 1985: Salvatore (Sam) Alaimo, a Stelco janitor and father of five, is shot as he worked in his Florence Street home. He was killed in a drive-by shooting by former Mob hitman Ken Murdock.
March 5, 1992: Someone tries to burn down the Collins Hotel in Dundas. Paper placemats were soaked in gasoline and stuffed into toasters set on timers. In 1996, Pat Musitano and his brother-in-law, John Trigiani, were acquitted of conspiracy to commit arson and arson for the purpose of insurance fraud. At the time, police were investigating Pat’s father for several other suspicious fires. The fraud and arson investigation, called Project Toast, was an effort to figure out why Musitano properties kept bursting into flames.
July 23, 1997: Carmen Barillaro, a lieutenant of Hamilton mobster Johnny (Pops) Papalia, is shot in his Niagara Falls home. Ang and Pat Musitano pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.
May 31, 1997: Johnny (Pops) Papalia is killed outside his Railway Street office. The powerful Mob boss, known as The Enforcer, was gunned down by hit man Ken Murdock in broad daylight as he walked through the parking lot of his family’s vending machine business on Railway Street. Pat and Ang Musitano were charged with first-degree murder in this contract killing, but a deal saw this charge dropped in exchange for the plea in the Barillaro case. The brothers were sentenced to 10 years and released on full parole in 2006.
Nov. 18, 1998 and Feb. 3, 1999: A pair of restaurant bombs are connected to organized crime. The first was a bomb left at the front door of La Cantina Ristorante on Walnut Street. It misfired. The second went off in an alley behind La Costa restaurant on King William Street. The explosion caused minor injuries to a man and his sister.
Sept. 22, 2015: Pat Musitano’s vehicle is set on fire at his St. Clair Boulevard home.
May 2, 2017: Ang Musitano is gunned down in his car in the driveway of his Waterdown home.