By David Amoruso
Posted in 2001
Mad Sam is not that well known to the general public, but his 'student' Tony "The Ant" Spilotro is. Mad Sam taught Tony everything he knew about murder and torture, and Mad Sam knew a lot about that kind of stuff.
DeStefano grew up in Southern Illinois and moved to Chicago when he was a teenager. He officially began his criminal career in 1927 when at the age of 18 he raped a girl and was convicted of that crime. Later he got convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, bank robbery, extortion, and possession of counterfeit stamps.
After a while DeStefano became involved with Sam "Momo" Giancana's West Side "42 Gang", a gang which was made up of an assortment of vicious thugs and bootleggers. By the 1960s DeStefano had moved up the ranks, going from petty hoodlum to a major force in Chicago's loan sharking and drug trafficking rackets. Alongh with his brother Mario Anthony, DeStefano succeeded in bringing to Chicago what has become known as "The juice loan": a loansharking operation in which violence is used to force payments from debtors.
Eventhough most of the "42 Gang" became top mobsters in the Chicago mob DeStefano never climbed the ranks. He was too unstable for any top position in the Chicago Mafia, but they still had use for him though....especially notorious mob bosses Sam "Momo" Giancana and Paul "the Waiter" Ricca had much use for him. DeStefano became known as a stonecold executioner and a peerless loan collector. He was known to collect a variety of instruments of torture in his basement, but his favorite tool was the icepick. DeStefano used ice picks to stab his victims in the throat, testicles and torso, either to squeeze payments out of them or as foreplay to murder.
Now I've told you about Sam and his tools, I told you he was notorious I think now it's time to tell you some of those stories that made Sam earn the nickname Mad Sam and made him the most deranged, sick, notorious and feared hitman in the history of the Chicago Mafia.
Sam DeStefano lived in a nice far west side suburb of Chicago with his wife and three children, he looked everything like the normal family man. But that's because people couldn't look in his basement, if they had looked there they probably wouldn't live to tell the story. Sam DeStefano's basement was where Sam turned into Mad Sam and tortured and killed his victims. Sam's basement was soundproof and had all the torture tools a hitman needs. One of DeStefano's victims was Artie Adler, a local restaurant owner who had been late on juice payments. One week Adler couldn't pay and was brought to Sam's basement. Sam went to work with the ice pick and Adler had a heart attack. The body was dumped into a sewer near North Sayre and Harlem on the far west side and there it stayed, in the frozen winter waters of the sewer until the spring thaw. The Department of Sanitation got a call in the spring about a backed up sewer and that's when Adlers perfectly preserved corpse was discorved.
Not all of Sam's victims went out of the basement dead, some like Peter Cappelletti, were just humiliated and tortured. One time, Cappelletti tried to run off with $25.000,00 he owed Sam. Cappelletti was caught and brought to Mario DeStefano's restaurant Cicero. The poor guy was stripped naked and handcuffed to a boiling radiator. Tied to the radiator Cappelletti was beaten and tortured by Sam for 3 full days. On the night of the 3rd day DeStefano phoned the guys family and invited them all to a luxurious dinner at the restaurant in the man's honor. That Saturday, the whole family (of Cappelletti) turned up at Mario's place and were given a multi course Italian dinner. The guest of honor was not there at the table but Sam assured the family that he would be joining them soon. Once the meal was finished, the naked and severely burned man was brought in front of his family and thrown at the feet of his mother. According which story you believe the outcome is the same, Cappelletti got urinated on, either by his family who were forced by Sam, or by Sam himself but like I said the outcome was the same. Sam let Cappelletti live, after Cappelletti promised to make things right, and made him an example to others who thought they could steal from him.
When Sam Giancana ordered the hit of DeStefano's younger brother Michael, Sam carried out the hit with no second thoughts. When questioned about the 1955 murder, DeStefano refused to answer any questions, instead he was giggling uncontrollably. When investigators tried repeating their questions DeStefano only laughed harder. Perhaps more strangely, Michael DeStefano was a drug addict, a fact that seemed to pain the remorseless hit man to no end. After completing the murder with Mario Anthony DeStefano's assistance, Sam DeStefano took great pains to cleanse his brother's corpse in order to remove any traces of the drugs before abandoning the body in the trunk of a car.
Tony SpilotroAnd then there was the hit of Leo Foreman. Leo Foreman led a dubble life being a legit real estate agent on the one hand and a mob juice loan collector on the other. Foreman collected juice for DeStefano, one day in November 1963, DeStefano paid a visit to Foreman's real estate offices and Sam started an argument. The quarrel ended with Foreman throwing Sam out. Foreman was later lured to the Cicero home of Sam's brother Mario by Tony Spilotro and Chuckie Crimaldi. Foreman went because he was told that Sam wanted to kiss and make up for the ealier argument. Once in the house Leo Foreman was coaxed into the basement where he was grabbed and tied up by Spilotro (picture on the left), Mario DeStefano and Crimaldi. The 3 then proceeded to beat up Foreman, soften him up a bit before Sam would get there. Foreman was beaten with a hammer on his knees and beaten about the head, ribs and crotch. Sam applied his normal technique with his icq pick stabbing Leo 20 times. They tortured him in a certain way so that it would hurt but not kill Foreman. When Foreman had been sufficiently wounded, a pajama-clad DeStefano glided from a nearby bedroom, laughing at the wounded man. According to Crimaldi, who later turned government witness, DeStefano screamed and giggled as he admonished Foreman, saying, "I told you I'd get you. Greed got you killed!". Foreman pleaded for his life as DeStefano shot him repeatedly in the buttocks. DeStefano and his crew watched Foreman bleed and whimper for awhile before torturing him to death with a butcher knife. Far from letting a death spoil their party, DeStefano and the boys then took turns excising chunks of flesh from Foreman's arms.
Eventually the madness of Mad Sam that was of such good use for the Outfit became too mad and fell out of favor. When Sam DeStefano was called to testify in court, he would often demand to speak through a bullhorn. He often acted as his own attorney, and his courtroom antics included appearing in pajamas, arriving on a stretcher, and longwinded rants in which he would attempt to discredit investigators by accusing them of colluding with Joseph Stalin. In 1972, the FBI turned Chuckie Crimaldi. Tony Spilotro and the DeStefano brothers Mario and Sam were indicted for the murder of Leo Forman on the evidence given by Crimaldi. The three of them were incarcerated pending the trial which was set for May 1973. At the pre-trial, Sam DeStefano made a circus of the proceedings, acting as his own attorney. Sam began to alienate the judge and jury. Making the trial such a high profile media event was an obvious mistake. It would be very hard to influence the judge and jury with bribes or other forms of corruption if the trial was front page news. So, Mario and Spilotro devised a plan to keep Sam quiet - for good.
Mario and Tony went to Sam telling him that they had located the safe house where Chuckie Crimaldi was being held by the authorities. Sam was ecstatic. What fun he would have exacting revenge on Crimaldi the stool pigeon. Mario and Tony told Sam that the guards covering Crimaldi had been bribed to turn their backs that Saturday and the three of them could whack Chuckie there and then. It was all set. Saturday came around and Sam was out in his garage at his home. Mario came up the driveway followed closely by Tony Spilotro. As the three got to within a few feet of each other, Mario stepped aside and Spilotro pulled out a double barreled shot gun he had been hiding. Spilotro fired both barrels in quick succession, the first shot removed Mad Sam's arm and the second hit him with full force in the chest. Sam was dead before he hit the ground. On April 14th, 1973 "Mad Sam" was no longer but his skills were past on to Tony "The Ant" Spilotro (who was acquitted in the Foreman murder trial) who would use it whenever he needed to.