Oldest Chicago murder that was cleared in 2019 — a mob-related killing more than 50 years ago
The victim, Larry Stubitsch, was an Outfit loan shark mentioned in the Family Secrets mob trial.
Of the hundreds of murder cases cleared by Chicago detectives last year, the oldest one involved a loan shark who was killed in 1966 and was the partner of one of the most fearsome mobsters in the city’s history.
Larry Stubitsch, 29, was shot to death outside Bistro A-Go-Go in the 7000 block of West Higgins on the Northwest Side. Detectives believe he was killed by Richard “Dickie” DeAngelo, an ex-Chicago cop who managed the bar and worked for a mobster who owned the business.
DeAngelo died in 2007. The murder case was closed in early 2019 only because DeAngelo, the suspect, was dead, records show.
Stubitsch’s name surfaced in a recent Sun-Times investigation into how the Chicago Police Department closes homicide cases. The review found that last year, more than half the murders cleared by the department didn’t result in charges.
Police can close a homicide case three ways: with an arrest, when prosecutors won’t approve charges or when the suspect is dead like Stubitsch.
The FBI’s formula for calculating clearance rates allows police to include cases that didn’t end with arrests.
In recent years, police officials have been increasingly putting such murder cases without arrests in their clearance totals. That, in part, led to the city’s 53 percent murder clearance rate last year, the highest in a decade. The newspaper published a story about that earlier this month.
Stubitsch’s killing was mentioned repeatedly in the high-profile Family Secrets mob trial in 2007, which ended with the conviction of a dozen Outfit figures.
Information gathered in the FBI’s Family Secrets investigation led detectives to close the Stubitsch case, police records show.
It’s unclear why that happened 12 years after DeAngelo died and the Family Secrets trial ended.
The FBI called the investigation Family Secrets because mobster Frank Calabrese Jr. testified against his father, Frank Calabrese Sr., a high-ranking Outfit member convicted of killing 13 people. Calabrese Sr.’s brother Nick also was a government witness against him.
At the trial, Calabrese Sr. testified that he and Stubitsch were partners in the business of collecting payments from gamblers and others who owed them debts for high-interest loans.
Calabrese Sr. testified that he witnessed Stubitsch get shot twice in the chest on Sept. 17, 1966, and later helped Stubitsch’s children financially.
Stubitsch was the brother-in-law of Connie’s Pizza co-founder James Stolfe. Calabrese Sr. testified that he and Stolfe were friends. But Stolfe said he was later extorted by Calabrese Sr. and the Outfit.
Frank Calabrese Jr. wrote about Stubitsch’s killing in his tell-all book, Operation Family Secrets.
Stubitsch was a “brawler who liked to pick fights, including an ongoing beef he had with former Chicago policeman and Outfit associate Dickie DeAngelo,” the book says.
DeAngelo, who left the police force after he was accused of taking a bribe, managed Bistro A-Go-Go for the owner, Outfit underboss Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio.
Alderisio disliked Stubitsch and Calabrese Sr. because of their growing loan operations, according to the book.
“Although my dad tried his best to keep his partner in check, Stubitsch confronted DeAngelo. Once the shooting started, Dad took cover behind a car and watched as his trusted partner was gunned down by Dickie outside the Bistro A-Go-Go,” the book says.
The book says Calabrese Sr.’s mentor, mob boss Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra, told him not to seek revenge. Calabrese Sr. testified in the Family Secrets trial that he was ordered to pay Alderisio $500 a month for a year to smooth things over.
“You didn’t kill the person who killed Mr. Stubitsch, did you?” Calabrese Sr.’s lawyer Joe Lopez asked him at the trial.
“You knew who it was?”
In an interview, Lopez said Calabrese Sr. “talked about Larry 40 years later like it was yesterday. It would almost bring tears to his eyes. He loved Larry. I know he wanted to kill him [DeAngelo].”
In a 1966 Sun-Times story about the killing, DeAngelo was quoted as telling detectives he shot two men in what he described as a “stick-up.” A second man, Richard Ferraro, survived a bullet wound but wouldn’t cooperate with police. The gun was never found and DeAngelo was never charged.
DeAngelo went on to work as a “transportation captain” for the Teamsters union, court records show.
The Chicago Police Department closed the Stubitsch murder case in February 2019.
Even though the Family Secrets trial wrapped up more than a decade ago, there’s still activity in the case.
In a recent court filing, convicted Outfit killer Paul Schiro, who was sentenced to life in prison, says he’s waited more than 750 days for a judge to respond to a brief he filed in his appeal.
“Since then nothing has happened. It is, with all due respect, unconscionable,” wrote Schiro’s attorney Steve Greenberg, who’s also represented singer R. Kelly and former cop and convicted wife killer Drew Peterson.
Schiro, 82, was accused of helping Outfit associates murder his friend, Emil Vaci, in Arizona in 1986.