Ralph Largo, “Tampering with court witness”, 17 May 1940

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Ralph Largo’s younger brother, Frank, had spent time in Huntingdon reformatory for larceny and had been arrested in the company of Vincent DeLillo, an incorrigible drug addict and thief, a few years before. He was on trial for living off a prostitute’s earnings—taking bawd money—and adultery. The prosecution’s case relied on the evidence of a young woman named Josephine Coloa, who was perhaps the prostitute in question.

Ralph arranged to meet Josephine for a drink at the Streamline café, then took her to the Rendezvous café, on the corner of Long and Moravia avenues—”Live Lobsters, As You Like Them! Chop Suey! All Food Prepared By Real Italian Chef, Big Sam Filippo!”—where he forced her to sign a statement that would clear his brother. He told her to stay off the streets and warned her he would kill her if she showed her face.

Josephine’s signed statement was read out in court, and Frank Largo was cleared of the first charge, although the jury found him guilty of adultery. (Frank’s wife divorced him the following year—1941—and a few months later he joined a government construction crew that was working to rebuild Pearl harbor. In 1946, he took part in a string of safe-cracking jobs and was sent to the Allegheny County workhouse for two years.) Ralph was arrested and charged with hindering and interfering with a witness. His trial took place before the first all woman jury in the history of the court house, which found him guilty. The judge sentenced him to time served (two months) and costs. On his failure to pay the costs, he was given a further six months in the county jail.

Ralph worked in the United Engineering and Foundry Co plant but was fired in 1942. He claimed he had been victimised for his union activities; his supervisor said he had been discharged for being an inefficient worker.

There is no further record of his life, apart from a handwritten note on the reverse of his mug shot, which reads, “Deceased Jan 1968”.

Sources: New Castle News (5 Dec 1933, “Miller Sent To Huntingdon”; 13 June 1934 “Held On Charge Of Suspicion”; 18 May 1940, “Surety Of Peace Charge”; 5 June 1940, “On Court House Hill”; 13 June 1940, “All Woman Jury Serves At Court”; 17 June 1940, “On Court House Hill”; 17 Aug 1940, “On Court House Hill”; 23 Aug 1940, “Heavy Fines For Two Numbers Men”; “11 Feb 1942, “Personal Mention”; 24 Nov 1943, “News On Court House Hill”; 24 June 1947, “Sentence Seven In Safe-Cracking Robberies Here”).

4 Comments

  1. Kendall says

    I wonder how it went for Josephine, once he got out. I suppose you found nothing further about her. Maybe she had the wisdom to leave town and start over somewhere else before his additional six months were up. He certainly was loyal to his brother, but I wouldn’t like to cross either of them.

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