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Top 10 Deadliest Hitmen


Script written by Ryan Woods

If the mob puts a contract out on your head, these are the last guys you would want coming after you. From Giovanni Brusca to Joseph Barboza, WatchMojo is counting down the real-life hitmen with the most kills.

Special thanks to our user Mitchell Hoosier for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Deadliest%20Hitmen


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Script written by Ryan Woods

Top 10 Deadliest Hitmen

If the mob puts a contract out on your head, these are the last guys you want coming after you. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Deadliest Hitmen.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the most prolific hitmen of all time from all corners of the globe. Since we will not be focusing on hitmen from one particular crime organization, contract killers who worked for mobs from all over the world are fair game.

#10: Charles Harrelson

A former professional gambler and the father of actor Woody Harrelson, Charles Harrelson made the transition to contract killing in the late 1960s. Acquitted of one murder in 1970 and found guilty of another in 1973, Harrelson was released from prison five years into a fifteen year sentence, because of good behavior. His career as a hitman reached its climax with the murder of John H. Wood Jr., a U.S. District Judge, whom he shot dead outside of the judge’s townhouse in 1979. Sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Harrelson made an unsuccessful escape attempt while in prison before dying of heart failure in 2007.

#9: Giuseppe Greco

One of the Sicilian Mafia’s highest ranking hitmen, Giuseppe Greco made his career as a member of a death squad during the Second Mafia War between 1981 and 1983. Although his estimated number of victims ranges from sixty to three-hundred, Greco was only officially convicted of fifty-eight murders, many of which were committed with an AK-47. Greco also is said to have come up with imaginative ways of disposing of bodies, including dissolving them in vats in acid, and feeding them to pigs. A victim of mob violence himself, Greco was murdered by his former associates in 1985.

#8: Roy DeMeo

A hardened gangster and the leader of the DeMeo crew during the 1970s and early 80s, Roy DeMeo was a career killer for the Gambino crime family. He was famous for the “Gemini Method” of murder, which involved luring victims to the Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn, shooting them in the head with a silenced pistol and then stabbing them in the heart, before dumping the body parts at a nearby landfill. DeMeo himself was eventually discovered dead in the trunk of his car in 1982, having been shot multiple times in the head by rival mobsters.

#7: Thomas Pitera

A hitman for the Bonanno crime family active during the 1980s, Thomas “Tommy Karate” Pitera was a ruthless killer infamous for his martial arts skills and penchant for taking trophies from his victims. Suspected of nearly sixty murders, Pitera was a methodical killer who studied dissection and made use of a special tool kit to dismember the bodies of his victims. A psychopath who displayed behaviors more typical of a serial killers than a mobster, “Tommy Karate” was eventually found guilty of six murders and several drug charges which led to his being sentenced to life in prison in 1992.

#6: Joseph Barboza

So vicious that he was rumoured to have bitten part of a man’s cheek off, Joseph Barboza’s nickname “The Animal” was well-deserved. A contract killer for the Patriarca crime family, Barboza was allegedly responsible for twenty-six murders over the course of his criminal career. A former professional boxer, “The Animal” later became an FBI informant and was one of the first people to enter the Witness Protection Program as a result. Like many of his contemporaries, Barboza met his own grisly end in 1976 when he was shot four times with a shotgun while walking to his car.

#5: Frank Abbandando

A member of the notorious gang of killers called Murder Incorporated, Frank “The Dasher” Abbandando is credited with at least thirty murders. Infamous for using ice picks in many of his murders, Abbandando also worked with a meat cleaver on occasion. Abbandando worked alongside Abe “Kid Twist” Reles to eliminate rival gangs in 1930s Manhattan, and reportedly was also a serial rapist. Unfortunately for Abbandando, the law eventually caught up to “The Dasher” and he was given the death penalty via electric chair in 1942.

#4: Giovanni Brusca

A modern-day Italian mafia hitman, Giovanni Brusca was a sadistic murderer who claimed to have killed two hundred people during his bloody career. In addition to killing Italian prosecutor Giovanni Falcone in 1992, Brusca is especially notorious for kidnapping, torturing and murdering an eleven-year old boy. He also helped orchestrate a series of terrorist attacks against the Italian government in retribution for their crackdown on organized crime. Nicknamed “The Pig” because of his portly and disheveled appearance, Brusca was finally captured by law enforcement in 1996 and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

#3: Alexander Solonik

A cold-blooded killer for the Russian mob, Alexander Solonik earned the nickname “Superkiller” for murdering numerous high-ranking rival mobsters with skill and efficiency. A former member of the Soviet military who was kicked out for his brutal interrogation methods, Solonik’s mastery of martial arts and weapons made him a near-perfect killing machine. Solonik was well known for brawling with numerous other inmates while incarcerated. However, he was also good at escaping from prison. After his last escape, Solonik fled to Greece to set up his own assassination ring before being killed himself in 1997.

#2: Abe Reles

While we also could have gone with another Murder Inc. member like Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, we decided the infamous Abe “Kid Twist” Reles was a deadlier choice. Like his sometime-partner Frank Abbandando, this lethal hitmen from the 1930s frequently used ice picks to carry out his grisly work. Reles was described as being a genuine psychopath who would kill innocent people for the most trivial of reasons. To escape the death penalty, he eventually agreed to become an informant. That still didn’t save him from his own gruesome fate when he fell out of a hotel window in 1941, earning him a new nickname: “The Canary Who Could Sing, But Couldn’t Fly.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honourable mentions:

Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss

Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano

John Scalise

#1: Richard Kuklinski

Few hitmen inspired the same kind of fear that “The Iceman” did. Physically imposing, Richard Kuklinski’s career spanned decades, during which time he devised myriad ways to kill his reported hundreds of victims. Kuklinski’s nickname derives from his habit of freezing dead bodies to obfuscate their time of death. He made use of guns, knives, cyanide, tire irons and his bare hands to dispatch his targets in ferocious fashion while working for the so-called Five Families of New York. Even more noteworthy is the fact that he was able to hide his true occupation from his family for years. After several candid HBO interviews, Kuklinski died in 2006 from a rare disease.

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