A string of gunshots rattled the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park in the early morning hours of April 26, 1962.
Two brothers, Phillip and Ronald Scavo, and a woman, Lydia Abshire, had been ambushed while exiting a bar, chased down by car after attempting to drive away and shot to death.
Elmwood Park was the mob’s home turf, as former mob associate Frank Cullotta recalls, and this apparent gangland execution had not been authorized by the mafia.
“That’s a no-no,” Cullotta says. “Elmwood Park was controlled by the Chicago Outfit.”
When Cullotta heard about the murders on the radio that morning, he knew immediately who was responsible — he says he had told them where to find his guns the night before.
It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.
Geoff Schumacher, Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs
‘Mobbed Up, Part 3’: ‘Claim to Fame’
The third episode of “Mobbed Up,” available now, details the path taken by reputed Las Vegas mob enforcer Tony Spilotro to become a ‘made’ member of the Chicago Outfit.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what being a ‘made man’ is, and why it’s important,” Mob Museum Vice President of Exhibits and Programs Geoff Schumacher says on the episode. “It has to do with agreeing to an oath to the group, to this secret society, that supersedes any family obligations.”
As Cullotta recalls, the unauthorized 1962 triple murder in Elmwood Park handed Spilotro an opportunity to prove his loyalty to the Chicago Outfit by tracking down the killers.
“That was Tony’s claim to fame,” Cullotta says.
Where and how to listen
Search for “Mobbed Up” on your preferred mobile podcasting app and tap “subscribe” or “follow,” or click here to listen to the series on the Review-Journal website.