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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Shades of Whitechapel

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  #1  
Old 06-04-2009, 12:26 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Lightbulb Tales of the New Orleans Axeman

The New Orleans Axeman is probably the next big unsolved serial killer case to come along after Jack the Ripper. It has some parallels as well as a lot of dodgy "information". At present, I'm thinking there may have been just five or six murders and they all occurred in something like a 16 month period during 1918 and 1919. I wonder if the killer might have stopped because he died in the flu epidemic of the time. There's plenty more to go though and will follow I'm sure.
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:20 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Stan,

I know very little about this case, which I have to say is fascinating. But I thought the widow of one of the victims knew who the murderer was and shot him in LA. Name of Joseph Mumfree (or similar) sticks in my mind. Was it ever proven that Mumfree was the Axeman? If not, who was he?

Hard to believe that the Axeman was never caught red-handed, but there you go...

Cheers,

Graham
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:18 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Hi Graham,

The story that Mumfre was killed in L.A. by Mrs. Pepitone was checked out and no record of that account could be found so it was thought to be apocryphal. Someone later said that the man's name was actually Manfre and he was slain by a Mrs. Albano who was actually Mrs. Pepitone after a remarriage. There is some objection to this story as well to my understanding.

That said, some renditions say that Pepitone was killed by two men who used a pipe rather than an ax so, even if any of the above has some truth, it may be immaterial because Pepitone apparently wasn't a victim of the Axeman anyway.
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:24 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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As for Ripper parallels, there was a threatening letter, signed "The Axeman", sent to a local newspaper and an enigmatic chalk message left near the scene of one of the slayings.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:44 PM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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There is an inordinate amount of unverified and likely false information associated with this case. To start off, it's said that this killer attacked Italian grocers in the middle of the night with an ax after chiseling out a panel in the back door of their residences to gain access but not all the victims were grocers nor Italian. There were many reported attacks including several nonfatal ones. In the end, there were just five core murder victims - two male and three female.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:04 PM
Wolf Vanderlinden Wolf Vanderlinden is offline
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Richard Warner, writing in The On The Spot Journal, makes a very convincing argument that the Axeman was not a serial killer but that the murders were connected to either extortion plots involving Italian small businessmen and/or the products of a mafia war. He also states that Joseph Mumfre, or Monfre, was actually Frank "Doc" Mumphrey, a one time pharmacist and criminal, who worked for the New Orleans mafia. The murders supposedly occurred when Mumphrey was free but stopped when he was in prison.

Wolf.
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:22 PM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Thanks Wolf. Yes, I've heard that theory. If it was an extortion plot, it doesn't seem to have been a very successful one. I'd think the first couple of murders would have done it.

The 5 core murders occurred in a nine and one half month period and were:

1-2-Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Maggio-1918 May 24

3-Harriet Lowe-1918 June 24-Not Italian

4-Joseph Romano-1918 August 10-Not a grocer

5-Mary Cortimiglia-1919 March 10
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:42 PM
Pinkerton Pinkerton is offline
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Interesting details which I had not heard before guys...I had emailed a woman who wrote an article on the Axeman of New Orleans who swore that the "Mumfre" story came from a New Orleans newspaper of the time. If anyone has access to the archive of the New Orleans Picayune newspaper you might try and see if you can locate this story.

I'll have to look up the article by Richard Warner. I once read an article a few years back that argued AGAINST the "mafia" connection theory. Can't remember the details however.
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:26 PM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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I just noticed, all the murders happened on either the 24th of the month or exactly two weeks earlier on the 10th.

Oops-Strike that-Lowe was killed on the 28th-The 24 was a misprint on my part.
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Last edited by sdreid : 06-04-2009 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:24 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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I saw that one web site claims that Sarah Laumann was an Axeman fatality but all the accounts I can find in print say that she was one of the victims who survived the attack.
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