Eppisanio Acara, the prosperous young proprietor of a skirt factory at 339 East
107th Street, was stabbed to death in his office early yesterday morning. His
body, shockingly mutilated, with thirty-two stab wounds in it, was found there
at 7:15 o'clock yesterday morning. In the heart alone were twelve deep stab
wounds. Dr. Lehane, who made the autopsy, said that Acara's was the worst
mutilated body he had ever been called upon to examine.
The police of the East 104th Street Station, assisted by several detectives from
Police Headquarters, were at work on the case within two hours after the murder
was committed. Up to a late hour last night they had made no material arrests.
The best evidence, however, pointed to the theory that Acara was murdered
because of a supposed affair with a beautiful young Italian woman who had been
in his employ at different times up to ten days ago, and who had recently
married. Revenge was undoubtedly the motive.
The tailor was 31 years old. He lived at 319 East 108th Street with his wife and
three children. He had had the skirt factory at the 107th Street address for
four or five years, and had grown quite well to do. He occupied the first and
second floors of the four-story building, and employed thirty-five persons,
about half of whom were women and girls.
It has been his custom on Sundays to leave his home at 5 o'clock in the morning
and go down to his factory to work on his books and sort out the material for
the beginning of the week's work by the skirt-makers. Yesterday morning he
kissed his wife of a few months good-bye at the usual time and went to the
It must have been hardly daylight when he started up the stairs for the second
floor. He gained the second floor, however and opened the one door leading from
the hallway into the loft used as a factory and workroom. He evidently passed in
and moved down an aisle between rows of cloth goods.
It has not been ascertained whether the industrious young manufacturer turned on
the lights, or whether he passed down in the dusk what was to him a familiar
aisle, intending to wait until he reached his office before burning up any
illuminating fluid. The police cannot say whether the assassin followed him into
the building or stood waiting for him to come in, as was his Sunday morning
custom of years.
But back there at the end of the aisle, probably just after he had lighted one
gas jet, the assassin leaped at him. Possibly there was more than one; if one
man put the thirty-two wounds in this one body he must have been in a fiendish
Anyway there was little struggling; none of the piles of goods was turned
over, nor were the few pieces of furniture near by disarranged. The assassin
plunged his stiletto the weapon was most likely that seven times in the region
of the man's heart. Five more times he thrust the slim dagger into different
parts of Acara's chest. Then he slashed the clothing from his victim and ripped
and jabbed the trunk.
Leaving his victim still alive but dying, the murderer crept down the aisle to
the door leading out into the common hall. It must have been dark; if a light
had been on he had turned it out; for he fumbled with the door and left two
finger prints in blood on the door. The police had them photographed.
It was then about 6 o'clock, according to all the evidence. A few minutes after
the assassin had crept out of the place Acara died. At 7:15 o'clock Renda
Stanislao of 228 East 107th Street, who worked for Acara as a presser, saw the
lower door to the stairway open as he was passing by. Knowing that Acara was
usually in the place early on Sunday morning he went up to pass a word with him.
He found him dead at the end of the aisle, and rushed down and told Policeman
Baumbach of the East 104th Street Station. It was thus that the police got an
early start on the case.
Stanislao and Francesco Spilatios of 319 East 108th Street, bookkeeper for dead
man, were held as witnesses. Eight or nine more arrests were made in the course
of the day, but the prisoners were set free. Coroner Dooley was called. He
ordered the body sent to the Morgue. Assistant District Attorney Symonds was
also sent for; he helped the police to question the witnesses.
For a while it was thought that the murder might have been committed by people
who were shocked that Acara had married the young sister of his first wife, who
died some ten months ago, leaving him three children. It was said that he had
been engaged to another young woman of the neighborhood, but that his wife's
parents in Palermo, Italy, had sent word that there was a sister there who would
marry him. He sailed over and brought her back, a wife, in April. That theory is
What seems to be the most probable theory so far advanced is that the cause of
the murder was the friendliness existing between Acara and a forewoman of his
factory, who only known name is Vita. She was pretty and was a valued employee.
She left his service about a year ago to get married. He told her that her place
was open to her whenever she wanted to take it back. She came back within a
month, and remained up to six weeks ago, when she again left his employ. She
came back ten days ago for her old p lace, and got it. It was said in "Little
Italy" that Acara had paid attentions to this woman.
So far the police have found neither her nor her husband. The books give only
the first or nicknames of the employees. At 7 o'clock last night an Italian ran
into the police station and offered to show the police where "Vita" lived. Two
detectives went with him, but when he got to Second Avenue and 105th Street he
suddenly realized that he had forgotten her address. He couldn't be made to go
further. The police think that he received some sort of warning at the corner
not to go any further.
Late last night the Italian detectives who had been working on the case in the
Italian settlements between 104th and 106th Streets suddenly changed their base
of operations to the Mulberry Street Italian colony. An examination of one of
the two prisoners in the East 104th Street Station was responsible for the
Nothing definite was given out by the police other than that following the
statements disclosed in the questioning the detectives had a definite clue as to
the identity of the murderer and expected to land him somewhere in the
neighborhood of Mulberry Street.
Capt. Corcoran of the East 104th Street Police Station admitted early this
morning that he and his men had learned the name and home address of "Vita" and
her husband, and had found that they left home early yesterday morning and
hadn't come back. The police are bending all their efforts now to find the pair.