Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Roy DeMeo

DeMeo's Special Skills

Roy was 32, living in a nice home in an exclusive community with his wife and children, when he committed his first murder for the family. He was running an extortion scheme with Nino against a lucrative X-rated film business, and when the owner and his partner were raided and arrested, it appeared that one of them, Paul Rothenburg, might offer up his association with Roy and Nino in a deal. Roy scheduled a meeting with him at a diner, ostensibly to assist with legal expenses. When they got out of their cars, Roy pulled a silencer-equipped gun, took the businessman into an alley, and executed him with several bullets to the head. Used to being a bully as a teenager, he had no problem threatening people. Now that he had killed, it was just business as usual to him. In fact, it empowered him. Once you've killed someone, he was to later impress upon his apprentices, you can do anything.

Thereafter, he began to train a crew of young men to become killers on demand and to get rid of a body quickly and efficiently. Roy had once been a butcher's apprentice, so he understood how to cut limbs from bodies.

The Gemini Lounge
The Gemini Lounge

Among DeMeo's initial recruits was a 16-year-old Jewish kid named Chris Rosenberg, who despised his ethnicity and desperately hoped he could one day prove himself to the extent that the Italians would welcome him as one of their own. Roy met Chris in the Brooklyn-based neighborhood of Canarsie, where Chris was dealing pot, and helped him to move into a larger money-making arena. He got Chris and his friends into the business of stealing cars that could be turned into saleable items for wealthy clients overseas. A car mechanic named Freddy DiNome joined them. Then two more came aboard, high school dropouts Joey Testa and Anthony Senter. Roy bought an owner's interest in Phil's Lounge, a bar in the front of a two-story building from which he had run his illegal operations, and one of his cohorts renamed it The Gemini Lounge. Joey and Anthony were soon dubbed the Gemini Twins. A fifth young man with a killer's cold heart, Henry Borelli, came onto the team and they would all meet at this bar to socialize, organize their illegal business operations, and perform more clandestine tasks. Roy began collecting weapons and he kept his impressive arsenal of machineguns, automatic rifles, and silencers in a room at the lounge. He also installed his cousin, whose nickname was "Dracula," into the adjoining apartment.

Murder Machine
Murder Machine

Because he could stomach it, Roy devised a specific form of getting rid of someone, which eventually came to be known as "the Gemini Method." He trained his crew how to participate in a "dis-assembly" line. If someone needed to be "made a memory," disposal was always a problem, so his method appeared to be an answer. Mustain and Capeci, recording what they had learned from the confessions of Nino Gaggi's nephew, Dominick Montiglio, present the method in detail in Murder Machine.

The target person, whom someone higher up had ordered eliminated, would be invited into DeMeo's Gemini Lounge (or in one case, the meat department at a supermarket). He'd be shot at once by one crew member (often Roy himself), wrapped in a towel by another to prevent blood from messing the place up, and repeatedly stabbed in the heart by yet a third person to quickly decrease blood flow. Then he'd be cleaned up, allowed to "settle" for 45 minutes (perhaps hung upside down over a bathtub in Dracula's apartment), drained of blood, laid out on a swimming pool liner, beheaded, and hacked into pieces. The various parts were then packaged in plastic garbage bags like meat and tossed into a dump. Just like taking apart a deer, DeMeo told his gang; there was no real difference. (While they did execute a few females, there is no record of female dismemberment.)

Roy DeMeo
Roy DeMeo

However, this manner of disposal had to be refined. The first time they tried it, on a criminal car dealer who'd turned informant in 1975, they were careless. First Chris, Joey and Anthony used a pretty girl to lure Andrei Katz, so she was a witness. Next, they hauled him off the streets publicly, leaving his car open and emptyclearly a missing person. Then they took him into a supermarket, where they met Roy. There he told them the plan, and they had to go with it or walk. It was the moment of truth for all of themcould they deal with hacking a human being apart?

On this "Night of the Knives," as Mustain and Capeci call it, Chris used a butcher knife to still the man's heart by piercing it clean through several times. Then he repeatedly stabbed him in the back. The crew donned butcher aprons to proceed. In an act of overkill, Chris ran Katz's head through a compacting machine, and the others wrapped the body parts in green bags. Then they dumped these packages into a garbage bin to be hauled away. However, the team had miscalculated when the garbage collection would occur, giving a foraging homeless man ample time to pull open the packages and expose the human body parts. He ran, but another man coming along saw what it was and called the police. In all, they found eight neatly wrapped packages but never did find the genitals. The coroner who examined the mess and eventually identified the remains was Roy's second cousin.

The girl who had innocently lured the doomed victim read about his death in the papers and turned on the crew. The police arrested two of them, but no evidence connected them to Roy. He got them a lawyer, but they had to serve some time. When their trial came, their lawyer undermined the girl's credibility and the two crew members were acquitted.

To Roy's relief, nothing came of that incident that compromised him, and thereafter, with the exception of a victim they hastily left half-decapitated in a motel room, the crew took on the added chore of taking the parts themselves to the dump. A few were buried beneath ongoing construction, and one was sealed into a barrel into which concrete was poured, but it appeared that the standard disposal was the local garbage dump.

Such "disappearances" happened frequently and systematically-by some estimates, in less than a decade there were between seventy-five and two hundred. The five men involved in the dis-assembly line said to associates that they got a kick out of it. According to Mustain and Capeci, "They used to say killing made them feel like God."



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