The sixth article in Rocco LaDuca's series for the Observer-Dispatch on the history of the mob in Utica focuses on the period during the late 1960s and 1970s when "a new, more aggressive breed of mobster was taking center stage," and the hand grenades literally start flying. Since the days of Prohibition the city was controlled by the Falcone brothers though alliances with more powerful crime families including Albert Anastasia and Carlo Gambino in New York City and Stefano Magaddino in Buffalo. However, with the death of 81-year-old Salvatore Falcone in 1972 and Joseph Falcone in his 70s the younger testosterone-pumped guys were flexing their muscles to take control over the rackets. Among the challengers was Albert Marrone who was an enforcer for the Falcone brothers. After getting out of prison in 1976 Marrone was ready to take Utica by any means necessary, and his reputation on the streets as a cold-blooded murderer already was well-established:
When two of Marrone's former business associates – William Conley and David Sgroi – were killed in the early 1970s, Marrone had reportedly bragged of being their executioner. It was shortly before 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 1970, when 37-year-old Conley left Mr. Joe's Restaurant near the Uptown Theater in South Utica and walked toward his parked car. About 15 minutes earlier, someone had rigged a hand grenade with a coat hanger to go off as soon as he opened the door. In a matter of seconds, Conley was dead – in the professional style of gangland elimination. As for Sgroi, he was found shot twice in the head near Hidden Lake outside of Rome on July 4, 1971.
Of course, the best made plans often go astray. No sooner did Marrone exchange his prison jumpsuit for street clothes then his dreams of becoming the next mob boss were snuffed out on October 2, 1976 by a crew quicker with the trigger. The men reportedly behind Marrone's slaying -- Jack "Turk" Zogby, Donato "Danny" Nappi, Anthony Inserra, Jack "Jake" Minicone and Edward "Teeter" Noel -- would remain be players in the underworld in Utica for the next 15 years.