Charlie Workman – Dutch Schultz’s murderer

Charlie was considered to be a strong person but of silent type, who had killed over 20 people, when working for Murder Incorporated, headed by Lepke Buchalter. He was popularly called ‘The Bug’ among mafia members. However, it was his killing Dutch Schultz that he rose to fame quickly.

His early life

It was in 1908 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that Charles was born and was among the six siblings of Anna and Samuel Workman. When in 9th grade, he quit school to roam the streets, seeking trouble. At the age of 18, he got arrested for stealing cotton threat from a Broadway parked truck. The next year, he shot a man behind his year and got arrested. His reputation was such that the victim did not testify against him before law, the reason, he got sent to Reformatory of New York. He had been to prison several times for several years for parole violations.

Life as a Mafia

He worked for Lepke as freelancer schlammer or leg breaker in 1926 and did an excellent job and got promoted to becoming killer with ‘Murder Inc.’ He had a cool demeanor and had several exceptional hits, which made him to get the nickname ‘The Bug’ given by Lepke. ‘Handsome Charlie’ was his other nickname, given opposite sex.

He got arrested few times for carrying weapons in 1932 and for docking off-duty police in 1933. His specialty always remained killing. After a hit, he enjoyed taking all the valuables found with the victim and kept it to himself, thereby earning bonus in thousands of dollars.

Murdering Schultz

He was decided to be the perfect candidate for killing Dutch Schultz in 1935, when the latter did not heed to the Commission with regards to killing of Thomas Dewey, the Special Prosecutor. It was Workman who had pierced Schultz on 23rd October 1935. But he found that police officials had turned up at the sight immediately after the killing instead of a getaway car, especially after such an important hit. He discovered from the papers that Weiss was the shooter.

He was sent to meet Lucky Luciano at Miami. But he got arrested on charges of vagrancy in 1940. In the meantime, Abe Relese had spilled out to Dewey that Workman was behind Schultz’s murder, for which the latter was tried in 1941, and plead ‘no defense’ and sentenced to life imprisonment.