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Anna Antonio, the Vindicated Housewife
Anna Antonio was born Anna Capello and was an Italian immigrant. Nicknamed “little Anna” she later went on to hatch a plan, a plan to have her husband killed.
At the age of sixteen, Anna met a man by the name of Salvatore Antonio. The two became smitten and she overlooked the fact that he was thirty years old. Salvatore, or Sal as he was called, had a job working at the rail road, he was a union worker. He worked on the rail road by day but by night he worked in a rather different setting. Sal sold guns illegally and dealt heroin. Anna had no idea what she was getting herself into, she was a young teenager with hopes and dreams.
Despite how short she had known Sal, Anna introduced him to her parents whom later agreed to allow them to wed. Unfortunately, the man Anna thought she knew was a monster, a controlling, abusive monster at that. Sal had a lot of rules in their marriage and he was determined that she follow every single one. Her punishments were severe if she did not follow the rules: Sal would beat Anna at even the slightest slip up.
Now that she realized she had made a dreadful mistake, Anna Antonio was stuck in an abusive marriage. New York state law only allowed divorce under one condition: adultery. Adultery had to be proved with a significant amount of evidence or the divorce would not be approved. There was no adultery occurring in Sal and Anna’s marriage, however, there was violence. This law stayed in effect until 1965, decades after they were married. This meant that if a husband beat his wife viscously she had to stay in the marriage and endure suffering. This is what Anna was subject to.
Anna went on to have children with her abuser. Anna and Sal had three children, one boy and two daughters.
After twelve years of marriage, Anna had had enough. She was backed into a corner, the law in New York was not on her side and thus made divorce unattainable. She decided to take the law into her own hands.
As a union worker, Sal had life insurance valued at a little over five thousand dollars. Anna saw this as an opportunity for murder. She would hire henchmen to kill her husband and pay them part of the life insurance money as payment for the crime. Both men were friends of her husband so there was nothing out of the ordinary when they asked Sal to go on a drive with them to Hudson, New York. After stopping in Hudson, the three drove back to Albany but stopped in Castleton and pulled the car off the road. They claimed they had to use the bathroom by the woods, and Sal decided to take this time to go to the bathroom as well.
While walking back one of the men pulled a gun and proceeded to shoot Sal multiple times. The other man pulled a hunting knife and began stabbing Sal as he lay in the field in his blood. Sal pleaded for his life asking, “what did I ever do to you?”. He was stabbed fifteen times.
Later that night two college students driving through Castleton saw Sal on the side of the road, he was still breathing. He was rushed to the hospital but died before arrival.
The two henchmen returned to Albany and awaited to be compensated eight hundred dollars each for their work. Anna had diabolically planned out her husband’s murder.
When the community heard of the violent murder they assumed it was related to Sal’s ties in crimes and that he was probably killed by gangsters. Indeed, he was killed by gangsters but at the request of his “little Anna”. Anna, a mousy brown, petite, innocent looking woman had organized her husband’s end.
Word broke out that the night of Sal’s murder he went out to dinner with two men. The two men were taken into custody and after days of questioning they threw Anna under the bus.
Anna and the two men were all convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Anna’s son was adopted by a family member and her two daughters were separated and sent to orphanages. Anna’s family was shattered to pieces. If she had never married Sal she would have never gone down a path that led to a methodical, grizzly murder.
“Little Anna” was eighty-five pounds, and very innocent looking. At only twenty-eight years old she became the third woman in New York state to be executed. She went into her execution room, said the Lord’s prayer and then sat in the electric chair.
Was Anna Antonio vindicated? Was Anna a victim who was justified for her murder, or was she an evil, scheming killer?
Was Anna Antonio a victim who was justified for her crime, or was she an evil, calculating murderer?
© 2018 Elijah DeVivo