Charles Nicoletti

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Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance photograph of Charles Nicoletti.

Charles "Chuckie" Anthony Nicoletti (December 3, 1916 - March 29, 1977), also known as "The Typewriter" and "Chuckie Typewriter", was a top Chicago Outfit hitman under Outfit boss Sam "Mooney" Giancana before and after Giancana's rise and fall.

Early life[edit]

Nicoletti grew up in an impoverished and dysfunctional family in Chicago; his parents were both natives of Santa Caterina Villarmosa, Sicily.[1] They lived at 737 Campbell Avenue in Near West Side, Chicago. On February 27, 1929, at the age of 12, Charles shot and killed his own father, allegedly in self-defense.[1] The 39-year-old Philip Nicoletti was a drunkard who regularly beat his wife and two sons; on this occasion, Philip viciously attacked his younger son and pursued him with a knife. According to Chicago police records, Charles ran into a bedroom, where a gun was kept in a bureau drawer. Nicoletti was exonerated by the Cook County coroner. He dropped out of school in eighth grade and soon joined the "Forty-Two Gang." At the time, the gang's members included such future Outfit members as Giancana, Sam "Teets" Battaglia, "Lew Farrell," "Mad Sam" DeStefano and William "Willie Potatoes" Daddano.

Outfit assassin[edit]

By the late 1950s, along with Felix Alderisio, Nicoletti was one of the most feared triggermen in Chicago and was drawing attention from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chicago police. A number of times Nicoletti and Alderisio teamed up for a "hit," including one occasion on which they were discovered by police sitting on the floor in a car later dubbed "the hitmobile" by reporters. This car had special compartments where guns were stored and special switches to turn lights off at certain times.[2] When questioned by police the two said they were "waiting for a friend."[2]

In 1962, Nicoletti took part in an infamous torture case. He, Alderisio and Anthony Spilotro, known as "Tony the Ant", had kidnapped 24-year-old Billy McCarthy, a thug who had killed two Outfit associates with the help of Jimmy Miraglia, also age 24. The three men started torturing McCarthy to find out the name of his accomplice. Spilotro had placed the man's head in an industrial vice and started squeezing it tighter and tighter. Suddenly, McCarthy's eye popped completely out of its socket.[3] At that point, he revealed his accomplice's name; then both men were killed. Years later, Tony Spilotro told this story to his friend Frank Cullotta. Spilotro was impressed by Nicoletti's reaction to the gory scene: "Boy, this is a heartless guy. He was eating pasta when Billy's eye popped out." This torture scene was re-enacted in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film, Casino.

In the 1960s, Nicoletti was questioned by two FBI Agents, including agent William F. Roemer, to see whether they could develop Nicoletti as an informant against the Outfit. According to Roemer, Nicoletti gave him the names of several car dealerships he worked at and was very cordial; apparently, all the employment leads checked out. But Nicoletti never flipped and never talked to the FBI again, though there was eventually talk in Chicago that Nicoletti had flipped.[4]

It has been alleged that Nicoletti was involved in as many as 20 mob hits during his career as a hitman.[5] In 2010, Playboy magazine published an article by Hillel Levin in which Nicoletti was implicated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by James Files, an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Chauncey Marvin Holt.[6]

Death[edit]

On March 29, 1977, Nicoletti received three .38 caliber slugs to the back of his head while waiting in his Oldsmobile in the parking lot of the Golden Horns Restaurant in suburban Northlake, Illinois. He was brought to the hospital where he died six to seven hours later. Nicoletti's car was never turned off and consequently overheated and caught on fire.

Some said that Nicoletti was murdered in retaliation for a hit on a Milwaukee, Wisconsin mob leader, but this is probably a false lead. While Milwaukee has its own mob (at the time of Nicoletti's death, headed by Frank Balistrieri), it has long been subservient to Chicago's orders; and, if Nicoletti had killed anyone in the Milwaukee mob, it would have been ordered by Chicago. Nicoletti had never appeared to be a "freelancer" before. So, why all of a sudden then? Another theory is that the Outfit's day-to-day boss, Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa, believed that Nicoletti had become an informant and ordered the hit. But the real reason for Nicoletti's murder remains unclear. Chicago mob assassin Harry Aleman is the suspected hitman.[7][8][9]

Nicoletti was buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, not far from Al Capone and other Chicago organized crime figures.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bienen, Leigh, Homicide in Chicago, 1870-1930, Northwestern University School of Law
  2. ^ a b Sifakis, Carl, The Mafia Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., 1999, p.177
  3. ^ Roemer, William F., Jr., "The Enforcer," (1994), p.28
  4. ^ Roemer, William F., Jr., "The Enforcer," (1994), p.32,158
  5. ^ Roemer, William F., Jr., "Accardo: The Genuine Godfather" (1995), p.292
  6. ^ Levin, Hillel (November 2010). "How the Outfit Killed JFK". Playboy. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ Hitman Aleman allegedly "Hits" Hitman Nicoletti
  8. ^ Roemer, William F., Jr., "Accardo: The Genuine Godfather" (1995), p.291-292
  9. ^ Roemer, William F., Jr., "The Enforcer" (1994), p.158-159

Further reading[edit]

  • Giancana, Sam and Chuck. Double Cross: The Explosive, Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America. New York: Warner Books, 1992. ISBN 0-446-51624-4
  • Groden, Robert J. and Livingstone, Harrison Edward. High Treason. New York: Berkley Books, 1990. ISBN 0-425-12344-8
  • Hinckle, Warren and Turner, William W. The Fish is Red: The Story of the Secret War Against Castro. New York: Harper & Row, 1981. ISBN 0-06-038003-9
  • Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1990. ISBN 0-88184-648-1

External links[edit]