Joseph Burgo

JOSEPH BURGO was born in Camden NJ on February 27, 1919. His grandfather was John Burgo, in 1920 at the age of 70 still working as a self employed junk dealer, had come to America from Italy in 1898, and was living at 304 Cherry Street in Camden by 1910. His mother Rose Burgo, had come to America in 1907, and by 1930 owned a grocery store. The Burgo family then still lived at 304 Cherry Street in what was by then a predominately Italian neighborhood. 

Joseph was the oldest child. After him came Rosie, Jacob "Jack", August (born Augustino, James, and Elizabeth. In the tough world characterized Depression-era Camden, he apparently sowed  few wild oats. In 1932 he shot and wounded Joseph Mazzare, who was later sentenced to New Jersey State Prison for carrying concealed weapons, in a South Camden poolroom. At that time Burgo told police he was drunk and did not know what he was doing. Burgo later was fined $100 by Judge Charles Rigg after pleading guilty to the charge. On January 31, 1933 Joseph Burgo was questioned as to his 

knowledge of events surrounding the murder of three people in Philadelphia five nights earlier, one being an ex-girlfriend of Mazzare. He was released the next day.

Joseph Burgo's brother Augustine, served three years in the Hawaiian Islands with the United States Army in the late 1930s. He was recalled to service after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and, after qualifying for flight duty, was killed in action, when the plane he was on went down over France on February 6, 1944. Brothers Jack and James also served in the armed forces during World War II. 

By 1947 Joseph Burgo had married, and with wife Catherine was living at 324 Spruce Street, around the corner from his childhood home. He was then working as a laborer. The Burgo family was still at that address as late as the fall of 1959.  Joseph Burgo later moved to the Merchantville-Pennsauken area, where he resided until his death in June of 1979.

Camden Courier-Post - February 1, 1933

Phila. Police Grill Camden Youth, Doubt Guilt


Rahway Inmate Quizzed by Detective for Key to Murders

As Philadelphia. police grilled one Camden youth last night in the triple vice-den laying there Thursday midnight another manhunt in this city was launched-this time for a widely known police character, reputed gunman and white slaver. The youth under questioning for the killing of a policeman and two men inmates of a disorderly house at 406 North Ninth street, Philadelphia, is Joseph Burgo, 19, of 304 Cherry street.

He was taken into custody at his home yesterday by Detectives Daniel Mahoney and Hugh McCann, of the Philadelphia murder squad, and George Zeitz and Clifford Del  Rossi, of Camden. Burgo denied knowledge of the killings and willingly accompanied the detectives to Philadelphia for questioning.

Despite the fact that Detective Capt. Harry D. Heanly, head of the murder squad announced his belief last night that Burgo had nothing to do with the triple slayings, the youth was still being held at Philadelphia police headquarters.

Rahway Inmate Questioned

Heanly visited the New Jersey Reformatory, at Rahway. yesterday, where he spent more than an hour talking to Joseph Mazzare, alleged white slaver and one of the sweethearts of Mrs. Sue Ricci, 22, Camden girl slain in the disorderly house and  the one police believe caused the shootings. Mazzare, serving an indeterminate sentence for carrying concealed weapons, was shot by Burgo in & South Camden poolroom several months ago. At that time Burgo told police he was drunk and did not know what he was doing. Burgo later was fined $100 by Judge Charles Rigg after pleading guilty to the charge.

Heanly refused last night to divulge what information if any, he had received from Mazzare.

'Never Saw Her Before'

Burgo yesterday told Acting Police Chief John W. Golden that he was not acquainted with Sue Ricci.  

"I never saw her in my life until the day Mazzare was shot and came to the hospital to see him, Burgo declared. "I haven't seen her since. I know nothing about the murders in Philadelphia.

According to the police theory, the motive for the murders was jealousy.

The slayer shot the Ricci woman because she deserted him and went to Philadelphia; killed Yetta Cohen, the proprietor, when she interfered, murdered Patrolman Frederick Dolan when he tried to prevent his escape.

Camden police attached no particular importance to the questioning of Burgo. At the same time there were reports Heanly was busy in Camden hunting for the killer.

According to reliable reports, the slayer is a South Camden racketeer identified with a Camden-Philadelphia white slave ring. It is understood he is in hiding somewhere in Camden or South Jersey. Police have been informed of a mysterious motorist, making daily trips to Philadelphia.. They are attempting to locate him in the hope that he will lead them to the hideaway.

Dolan's fellow policemen attended his funeral yesterday.

Camden Courier-Post - February 2, 1933

Suspect in Triple Murder Held in 'Cold storage'; Girl Victim Buried

Benjamin "Benny" Meinster, held in connection with the triple Philadelphia vice den killings last Thursday, has obtained a writ of habeas corpus, returnable today, to show why he should be held. 

Meinster, latest so-called "sweetie" of Sue Ricci, Camden girl and one of the victims, was arrested Tuesday and has been held in "cold storage" since that time while detectives have attempted to learn if he had any connection with the killings.

The Ricci woman, 22 and redheaded, was shot to death by a jealous gunman who invaded a North Ninth street house in Philadelphia, armed with two guns. Mrs. Yetta Cohen, 40, the proprietress, was killed when she interfered and Patrolman Frederick Dolan was murdered when he tried to arrest the slayer.

Meinster, who lives at Sixth and South streets, was said by the police to be the man who stole Sue away from the gunman who did the shooting. He denied any knowledge of the case.

Meanwhile, they released Joseph Burgo, 20, of 304 Cherry street, Camden, who was questioned Tuesday. Burgo satisfied the police he was innocent of any connection with the case. He was under suspicion, detectives said, because he shot and wounded Joseph Mazzare. Another of Sue's sweethearts, now in jail for carrying concealed weapons. 

Services for Mrs. Ricci, mother of a 5-year-old son, Albert, Jr., were held from the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Marino, 1917 South Fourth street. Rev. Martin S. Stockett, rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, Broadway and Viola street, officiated. Burial was in New Camden Cemetery.

The body of the dead girl lay on a white couch-casket. The room was banked with flowers. Members of the family sobbed as the minister read the brief services of the church. Outside, the idle curious and friends lined both sides of Fourth street. One hundred automobiles were strung along the curb to take those who cared to go to the cemetery. 

Policemen in uniform and Camden and Philadelphia detectives who mingled with the crowd in the hope of picking up some clue, estimated that at least 700 persons were in attendance. The Camden detectives were George Zeitz and Clifford Del  Rossi, and County Detective Fiore Troncone