Axe Man of New Orleans



Between 1911 and 1919, a mysterious Axe-Man had a reign of terror on the New Orleans residents.

He would gain entry by chiselling through the panel of the victims door.  Most of the Axe-Mans victims were women, and the way that they were killed made the killer a sadist.  Although victims were mostly female, males in the surroundings would also be killed.  The murder weapon (which was usually the property of the victim), was always left at the scene of the crime and no robbery was committed.

On 28 June 1918 the killer attacked Harriet Lowe and Louis Besumer.  Harriet Lowe accused Besumer of attacking her, then she died.  Besumers axe was found in the bathroom, he was arrested, but while Besumer was incarcerated the Axe-Man had attacked someone else.

The Axe-Man struck a few more times and on the 10 March 1919 visited the Cortimiglia house.  Baby Mary was killed, and her parents - Charles and Rosie Cortimiglia injured.  They were discovered by Frank and Iorlano Jordano who raised the alarm.  Rosie accused the Jordanos of murdering Mary although her husband, Charles said this was not true.

Besumer, who was still in custody, was released.  Frank and Iorlando were found guilty.  Iorlando was sentenced to life, Frank was sentenced to death.

The Axe-Man made his final attack on Mike Pepitone.  He chiselled through the door of the house and once inside, struck Mike pepitone in the head, killing him instantly.   Mrs Pepitone had heard the struggle and entered the room just as the Axe-Man had left.

In December 1920 Rosie Cortimiglia went into a newspaper office and told them that her story of Frank and Iorlando Jordano of being the Axe-Man was false, she just hated the Jordano's.  The Jordano's were released.

On 7 December 1920, Mrs Pepitone had shot Joseph Mumfre dead in Los Angeles.  She said Mumfre was the Axe-Man.  She was sentenced to 3 years jail for murder.  It appears that Mumfre was a possible suspect,  he was in jail when the murders stopped, and was out the time they started again.  There has never been any good evidence to pin the murders to Mumfre, the time he was in and out of jail in collaboration with the murders could just be a coincidence.  Mrs Pepitone never told of how she tracked down Mumfre, it was suggested that he was a customer in the Pepitone's shop once and she followed him to L.A.

Other theories to the Axe-Man suggest mafia killings or a group of killers.  The identity of the Axe-Man of New Orleans still remains a mystery.



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Modus Operandi - Serial Killers