Mad Sam DeStefeno


William "Action" Jackson, Destefano murder victim.

Sam "Mad Sam" DeStefano (1909 - 1973) was a loan shark and a much feared enforcer for the Chicago Outfit. He was described by the late F.B.I. agent Bill Roemer, who investigated the Chicago Outfit for over two decades, as "the worst torture-murderer in history".

DeStefano was feared even amongst his Outfit associates as an incredibly dangerous, violent and even psychotic man. It was this reputation as an unstable person that prevented DeStefano from ever being promoted from associate to a made member of the Outfit.

DeStefano participated in one of the most violent and infamous murders in mob history, that of William "Action" Jackson. Jackson was a book-maker associated with the Outfit who it became rumored was an informant. As a result Jackson was snatched from the streets and brutally tortured to death over the period of a few days, at one point being hung by a meat-hook in his rectum and having a cattle prod used on his genitalia.

Ironically, DeStefeno himself was murdered in 1973 due to a rumor of his becoming a governmental informant. DeStefano was facing a long prison term over an old murder case and it seemed as if he was not in a disposition to do the time. DeStefano was shot-gunned in his garage. It was rumored that Anthony Spilotro, DeStefano's former protege in the loan shark business, was the assailant, though no one was ever formally charged with the murder. Ironically Spilotro was himself murdered in 1986.

In Popular Society Edit

A fictive version of DeStefano, Mad Sal D'Onofrio, appears in the 1995 James Ellroy novel American Tabloid. Mad Sal is also a loan shark and notorious for his violent ways. He serves as an informant for one of the primary characters, F.B.I. agent Ward Littel. D'Onofrio also meets an early and violent end, though his death occurs in the early 60s setting of the book, not as it occured in reality in 1973.