Date of murders: 1918 - 1919
Method of murder: Axe
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
The still unidentified Axeman committed a series of atrocities in New Orleans between May 1918 and October 1919, hacking his victims to death with an axe or with a straight razor. His usual method was to attack his victims in their beds after gaining entry by smashing in a back door. Most of the victims were Italian-American and many were grocers.
The mysterious killer first struck on May 22, 1918, when he attacked Joseph and Catherine Maggio while they slept, slashing their throats and then clubbing them with an axe. He next appeared on June 27, 1918, killing Louis Besumer and his mistress Harriet Lowe in their bed. The next victim, a 28-year-old pregnant woman, survived before the Axeman struck again, hacking Joseph Romano to death on August 10. As with the other murders, a bloody axe was found at the scene.
On the night of March 10, 1919, the killer attacked Charles and Rosie Cortimiglia at their home in Gretna, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. Both survived despite horrendous injuries. Their infant daughter, however, did not. Thereafter, there were two more non-fatal attacks before the Axeman killed his final victim on October 27, 1919. Mike Pepitone was attacked and killed while he slept beside his wife.
After that, the killer mysteriously disappeared, although a letter, purporting to be from him, was received by a local newspaper on March 13, 1919. In it, he said that he would kill again on March 19, but would spare the occupants of any house where jazz music was being played. That night is said to have been one of the noisiest in New Orleans history.
Read the full, horrific story of The Axeman of New Orleans, plus 9 more serial killer cases