Slashed to Death in Jealous Fury 1907

Murder of Italian Tailor
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 factory.

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 passion.

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 improbable.

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 change.

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.

Website: The History
Article Name: Slashed to Death in Jealous Fury 1907
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The New York Times September 23, 1907
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