During the evening of June 8th, 1907, Walter Lamana, the seven-year-old son of a wealthy New Orleans undertaker, was kidnapped. Within hours his parents received a ransom note – the boy would be returned to them if they paid $6,000.

The boy’s father, Peter Lamana, took the banknotes to an agreed rendezvous outside the city, but none of the kidnappers turned up. An informer then told police that the boy had been kidnapped by an Italian gang known as the Black Hand, and that the boy was already dead and buried in a swamp.

The gang’s leader was known to be Leonardo Gebbia. He was arrested, but claimed that another Italian, Angelo Incaratero, was the actual killer. Even so, Gebbia was hanged on Friday, July 16th, 1909, screaming on his way to the scaffold that it was unfair that he was the only one to be executed, and reeling off the names of the rest of the gang.

The execution was held in public, and the Lamana family had a picnic while Gebbia was hanged in front of them. They said they were disappointed he died quickly, but they were given the hanging rope as a memento.