The People of the State of New York v. Lorenzo Colora, 29 October 1913 (Case 1772)
Vito Morendi, the owner of a pharmacy at 314 East 112th Street, testifies that he had received six anonymous letters, all purporting to come from the Black Hand organization, threatening to destroy his store if he did not hand over two thousand dollars. On 4 August 1913, according to Morendi’s testimony, Lorenzo Colora entered his store, identified himself as a member of Black Hand and demanded twenty-five dollars. Morendi replied that he did not then have sufficient cash on hand and promised to give Colora the money the next day. Colora returned to the store on 5 August. Several detectives, hiding nearby, arrested Colora as he took the money. As the police subdued him, beating him into submission with their blackjacks, Colora shouted out threats against the storeowner. Felix DeMartini and Emile Panevino, detectives assigned respectively to the 29th and 31st precincts, testify that they arrested Colora as he took money from Morendi. Lorenzo Colora, 17, a worker at the Shubert Piano Factory, testifies in his own defense, claiming that the storeowner, Morendi, had asked him to act as an intermediary to give the money to the blackmailers. Colora states that he had had no knowledge of the letters and knew Morendi only because he had previously purchased cocaine at the pharmacy. The jury finds Lorenzo Colora guilty of attempted extortion.