Husband Seeks Vengeance For Rape Perpetrated On His Wife 1879


Between five and six o'clock yesterday afternoon, a desperate and bloody struggle, which will probably result fatally for one of the participants, occurred between two Italians in the barber's shop at No. 307 Hamilton avenue. Both men were infuriated to the utmost degree, one bent on taking deadly vengeance for a villainous outrage, perpetrated on his wife, and the other struggling to save his life at any cost. The story of the tragic occurrence reads like a black page from the criminal records of Sicily. The interested parties were Peter Tarintino, aged 23 years, proprietor of the barber's shop referred to, his wife Victoria, aged 18 years, and Onofrio La Mattino, aged 30 years, who was in his employment as journeyman. All hail from Palermo, Sicily, from which spot many Italian desperadoes have come to these shores. Tarintino has carried on business as a barber in South Brooklyn for three or four years, and according to the statement of Mr. Martella, the Italian Interpreter, w ho is thoroughly acquainted with the character of his fellow countrymen in this city, was a quiet and peaceably disposed man of sober and industrious habits.

About six months ago he employed Mattino to assist him in the shop, and although it has been ascertained that the fellow was a desperate ruffian and had passed more than fifteen years of his life in prison in Italy, it was not till yesterday that Tarintino had occasion to take any exception to his conduct. It seems that early in the afternoon Tarintino went to No. 64 Columbia street to assist his brother in law, who keeps a barber's shop at that place, leaving Mattino and his wife behind him. At about five o'clock Mattino closed the front door of the store, locked the side door leading to the upper part of the house and t hen barred the door leading to the yard. This he accomplished without attracting the attention or exciting the suspicion of Tarintino's wife, who was busy in the kitchen making preparations for supper. It was not long, however, before Mattino's motive for locking up the place became evident, for as soon as he found himself alone with the woman and secured against a sudden surprise, he MADE A VILLAINOUS PROPOSITION TO HER, and on her refusal to accede to his wishes he seized her, and after a severe struggle, accomplished his diabolical purpose. The poor woman is delicately formed, and was as a child in the hands of the scoundrel, who easily overpowered her, but not before she was cut and scratched on the arms and face. Mattino then threatened the woman that he would murder her if she attempted to raise any outcry or inform her husband of what had taken place, and she was so much frightened that for half an horu or so, she remained a prisoner in the place, making no effort to escape or raise an alarm. On his attempting, however, to make a second assault on her she ran away, and going to a window jumped out into the yard, falling a distance of fifteen feet. She then hurried to 64 Columbia street, and excitedly informed her husband of what had taken place. Tarintino leaving his wife at his brother in law's place, hurried to his own shop, the door of which was still locked. His knocks for admission receiving no response, he burst in the door, and found Mattino ready to take his departure. He asked him what the matter was, and Mattino replied that he would stay no longer, as his (Tarintino's) wife refused to give him anything to eat. "You cannot go away," said Tarintino, "till my wife comes back." Mattino then made a movement toward the door, but Tarintino held him back, and all at once both men were engaged in A DESPERATE AND DEADLY STRUGGLE.

Mattino, although the stronger and more robust man of the two, was thrown on the floor, and while in that position drew a razor from his side pocket and commenced to slash right and left with the weapon at Tarintino, who was lying on top of him with his hand firmly grasping his throat. Tarintino succeeded in disarming his antagonist, but not before he had received several severe cuts on both hands. Tarintino, as soon as he got hold of the weapon, proceeded to use it in the most affective manner, and in less than a minute had inflicted nearly a dozen of cuts more or less severe on Mattino, who was literally bathed in blood. The latter finally managed to draw a Smith & Wesson revolver from his pocket, but before he could discharge it Tarintino caught his right hand and turned the muzzle of the weapon in an opposite direction. During the struggle for its possession the revolver was discharged, and the bullet entered Mattino's left thigh. Mattino then managed to free himself from the grasp of his antagonist and rushed into the street. He went directly to Kannessy's liquor store, corner Hamilton avenue and Garnett street, where his appearance caused much excitement. Acting Sergeant Brady, of the Eighth sub-Precinct, happened at this time to be returning to his residence, which is close to the scene of the affray, and at once started after Mattino, whom he found almost unconscious from loss of blood.. He was carried to a drug store in Court street, and the ambulance having been summoned, was removed to St.Peter's Hospital.

It was found that his body was literally covered with cuts, and the medical attendants scarcely knew where to begin to treat him. There were two ugly gashes on his head, his left cheek was cut open from the mouth to the ear, a portion of which was hanging off; there was a cut over six inches in length on his left hip, and both his arms were cut to the bone. In addition to these was the wound in the thigh, where the bullet had entered. In spite of all these injuries and the loss of blood, the man remained perfectly conscious when the doctors were engaged in the difficult work of endeavoring to save his life. Meanwhile Captain Reilly, of the Eleventh Precinct, had been notified of the occurrence, and with Sergeant Gill and Officer Derby went to the scene and took such action as was necessary under the circumstances.

Tarintino was found in the shop with both his hands horribly cut. He was also removed to the Hospital and his wounds attended to. He explained the circumstances attending the sanguinary struggle as given above, and said that HE HAD ACTED IN SELF DEFENSE. It was his intention, he said, to have Mattino arrested for the outrage he had committed on his wife, and that he did not use the razor until he was attacked by him. The appearance of the little shop bore evidence of the terrible struggle that had taken place. The floor was covered with blood, and the chairs and tables upset. When Mrs. Tarintino returned to the house she related to Captain Reilly the ruffian circumstances under which she was outraged, and expressed her regret that the scoundrel had not been killed outright. She says that she struggled with him until her strength was gone, and that when he had accomplished his purpose he seized a razor and, putting it close to her throat, swore that he would have her life if she ever disclosed what had taken place to her husband. Mattino's condition is extremely perilous, and the doctors entertain but slight hopes of his recovery.

Should he survive he will be tried on the charge of rape and also attempted murder, as he made the first attack with the razor. Mr. Martella, the Italian interpreter, made some inquiries about Mattino and ascertained that he belonged to one of the worst gangs of Sicilian desperadoes and had served several long terms of Imprisonment in Italy for various crimes. Since his arrival in this country he married an Italian woman, whom he deserted about six months ago. Tarintino is still confined to the Hospital and soon as he is able to leave will be removed to Jail to await the result of Mattino's injuries, but there is no doubt that he will be entirely exonerated from all responsibility for the part he took in the affair.

Website: The History
Article Name: Husband Seeks Vengeance For Rape Perpetrated On His Wife 1879
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle  January 25, 1879
Time & Date Stamp: