If anyone was America’s “Mr. Murder,” it was Albert Anastasia, the Lord High Executioner of the notorious syndicate Murder Incorporated. But those who live by the gun tend to die by it, and Anastasia was no exception.

His termination was as sudden and efficient as any he himself had enacted. And it was believed to have been carried out because he was deemed to have become a dangerous liability to his Mafia colleagues.

An unwritten rule of the Mafia was that outsiders were not to be gunned down: such murders served only to outrage the public and invite unwelcome attention from the authorities. And Anastasia overstepped the Mafia’s boundaries with the killing of Albert Schuster, a bystander whose information had enabled the police to nail Willie Sutton, a bank robber. But Sutton was not a member of the “family,” and Schuster’s murder indicated that Anastasia had become a loose cannon, which could not be tolerated.

At least this was the supposed motive for his extermination, which took place on OCTOBER 25th, 1957, after he had settled himself in a barber’s chair at Manhattan’s Park Sheraton Hotel. His bodyguard is believed to have got wind that it might be unhealthy to stay around, and had gone for a stroll when two gunmen entered the shop, pushed the barber Arthur Grasso aside, and executed the Lord High Executioner.

The killers were never traced, but were thought to be members of the Gallo mob from Brooklyn. Their Italian-born victim had been in the United States for 40 years, so he’d not had a bad run for other people’s money.