Interview with an actual witness to a 1932 mob hit

by Eric Melin on July 2, 2009

in Blogs

“Public Enemies” hits theaters this week, and one of our regular contributors at Scene-Stealers—blogger extraordinaire Whitney Mathews—was reminded that her great aunt witnessed a Murder, Inc. mob hit in 1932, around the same time as the film takes place. The hit itself and having to testify in front of the hitmen who committed the crime in open court were terrifying for the 17-year old girl, who is now 94.

Whitney found some great historical photos, added music from the time, and put together this great video interview with her Great Aunt Ellie Halberg (Tootsie) about the crime last month. Here is the video, followed by her original text, posted at WhitneyMathews.com.

Here’s Whitney’s original text:

The movie Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp hit theaters yesterday and my friend Eric Melin has a bangin’ review of the flick on Scene-Stealers.com.

The release of the movie got me thinking about my family history. My maternal great grandparents came to St. Paul, Minnesota from Sweden in the 1910s. They had a sh*t ton of kids. Like… they should’ve started a Von Trapp-style music group or something.

Anyway, in 1932 the youngest girl, my Great Aunt Ellie Hallberg (aka Aunt Tootsie) witnessed a mob hit at the height of organized crime in the Twin Cities. As a teenager, she testified against two Murder, Inc. hitmen.

No one in our family has ever recorded the story for future generations, so over Memorial Day weekend we visited her. She gave us some fantastic cookies and spilled the details. I put it together in video format. Enjoy.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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