Joseph Porrello

Big Joe
Birth Name:
Guiseppe Porrello
Birth Date:
July 15, 1888
Birth Place:
Licata, Scicily, Italy
Death Date:
July 5, 1930
Place of Death:
Venetian Restaurant, 12601 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, Ohio
Cause of Death:
Gunshot wounds from a mob hit
Cemetery Name:
Calvary Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Crime and their Victims
Big Joe Porrello was the head of the Porrello Crime Family with Sam Tilocco serving as lieutenant and bodyguard in the Cleveland mob when they were both shot in the head by orders of Frank Milano at the Venetian Restaurant in retaliation for the murder of Joseph "Big Joe" Lonardo, boss of the Lonardo Crime Family. The murder of Lonardo allowed Joseph Porrello to take over as boss of the Cleveland crime family and to become the most influential corn sugar baron in the Cleveland area. By 1928 police tied the killings of 15 people in Cleveland to gang clashes over the corn sugar trade.

On July 5, 1932, Joseph Porrello and underboss Sam Tilocco went to the Venetian Restaurant in Cleveland’s Little Italy. It was owned by Frank Milano, head of the rising “Mayfield Road Mob” faction. The reason for Porrello’s visit is unclear, but apparently Milano was going to turn over a number of checks (some for as much as $4,500 [$100,000 in 2017 dollars]) from subordinates as well as a big payoff himself. Porrello called Milano’s place “the bank”.

Porrello and Tilocco were seated at a table when two hitmen attacked them. Porrello took three bullets to the right side of his head and died instantly. Tilocco got up and started running out of the restaurant. He was shot three times in his right torso and once in his left torso. He staggered out into the street toward his automobile around the corner on E. 126th street. He fell in the street, and was shot six times. The hitmen were never identified.

The next day Vincenzo Porrello assumed control of the Cleveland crime family but he too was murdered just three weeks later.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Calvary Cemetery

10000 Miles Road

Cleveland, Ohio, 44105


North America


Grave Location:

Section 21, Lot 215, Grave 8

Grave Location Description

As you drive into the cemetery make your way towards the back until you find the short tunnel under the bridge. Follow the road under the bridge and make the first left. Most of the Porrello Crime Family can be found at the corner of sections 18, 21 and 23 next to the Tilocco monument.

Grave Location GPS

41.43991679 -81.60909793

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