Roy DeMeo, The Bloodthirsty Brooklyn Mobster Who Was Behind As Many As 200 Murders

Published May 1, 2024
Updated June 1, 2024

Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo and his deadly crew of killers used their chilling "Gemini Method" to murder untold dozens of victims throughout the 1970s and early '80s.

Roy DeMeo had a knack for making people disappear. As a member of the Gambino crime family, DeMeo ran his crew methodically. He had an almost business-like approach to organized crime, which included auto theft, loansharking, and drug trafficking.

Roy DeMeo

Public DomainA mugshot of Roy DeMeo from July 1981.

More than anything, however, DeMeo and his crew were infamous for their alleged involvement in as many as 200 murders carried out using their signature “Gemini Method.”

Of course, a guy like Roy DeMeo would naturally make more than a few enemies. So, it was no surprise when his body was found frozen in the trunk of his car in a Brooklyn parking lot in January 1983.

And in the wake of his death, Roy DeMeo left behind a brutal legacy of violence.

Roy DeMeo’s Early Introduction To Organized Crime

Roy Albert DeMeo was born into a family of working-class Italian immigrants in Brooklyn. His life of crime began early: By the time he graduated from high school in 1959, he was already running a small-scale loansharking operation.

He was also working as an apprentice butcher at a local grocery store. Given the brutal nature of DeMeo’s killing methods down the line, it’s clear that some of the skills he learned behind the meat counter carried over.

DeMeo’s crimes soon caught the attention of Anthony “Nino” Gaggi, an associate of the Gambino crime family. Gaggi approached him and asked him to put his aptitude to work for the family — and DeMeo agreed.

He started out small and worked his way up, forming his own crew and developing a signature system of execution. It was called the “Gemini Method” and involved dismembering victims in such a way that no trace of them could be found.

DeMeo’s method was effective, to say the least.

The Formation Of The DeMeo Crew And The Gemini Method

While DeMeo and Gaggi were building up their loansharking operation in the late 1960s, DeMeo was putting together his very own gang on the side. The DeMeo crew, as it would come to be known, started primarily with car theft and drug trafficking.

In the 1970s, one of DeMeo’s partners in the car theft ring, Andrei Katz, agreed to cooperate with authorities when he was questioned about a stolen van, according to a 1988 report by The New York Times. This led to Katz’s abduction in 1975.

Roy DeMeo With Joseph Testa

Public DomainAn FBI surveillance photo of Roy DeMeo (right) with crew member Joey Testa in 1982.

It was the first known murder committed by the DeMeo crew.

Between then and 1983, along with infamous hitman Richard Kuklinski, the gang was suspected of murdering up to 200 people. Roy DeMeo himself was thought to have killed nearly 40 personally.

Richard Kuklinski
History Uncovered Podcast
Episode 43: Richard Kuklinski, The Mafia Killer Known As ‘The Iceman’
Hitman Richard Kuklinski claimed to have killed some 200 people in ways that remain viscerally horrifying several decades later — but many believe that his story is largely made-up.

In order to kill often and not get caught, Roy DeMeo devised a specific technique when it came to handling murders: the Gemini Method. It was named after the crew’s popular hangout spot, the Gemini Lounge, where most of the executions took place.

The Gemini Method involved a member of the DeMeo crew luring whoever the day’s murder victim was into a small apartment through a side door of the Gemini Lounge. Then, a second crew member — often DeMeo himself — would appear with a silenced pistol and a towel. He would shoot the victim in the head and then wrap the towel around the wound to keep the blood from splattering. Next, someone else would stab the victim in the heart to stop their blood flow.

The DeMeo crew members would then drag the victim’s corpse to a bathtub, where the rest of the blood drained out. They then chopped the victim into pieces, wrapped those pieces in bags, placed them into boxes, and dropped them at Brooklyn’s busy Fountain Avenue dump, where they were unlikely to ever be found.

The DeMeo crew became experts in this brutally efficient method of murdering and dismembering, and dozens of their victims disappeared without a trace.

Gemini Lounge

New York City Department of Records & Information ServicesGemini Lounge, the building where the DeMeo crew carried out their gruesome murders.

During his reign as leader of the DeMeo crew, Roy DeMeo made a case to Gaggi for them to partner with an Irish American gang called the Westies. DeMeo’s intuition turned out to be a benefit to both organizations, and this newfound partnership was a highly lucrative endeavor.

Even better for DeMeo, it earned him even more respect within the Gambino family. In fact, it was his role in the partnership that caused the head of the Gambino family, Paul Castellano, to finally give DeMeo his “button,” formally inducting him into the family.

There was a caveat, however: DeMeo needed to get permission before committing any murders, and he had to stop dealing drugs. Unwilling to give up that cash stream, however, DeMeo’s crew continued to move large amounts of cocaine, marijuana, and narcotics.

DeMeo also continued to kill without seeking approval, including the 1977 double homicide of Johnathan Quinn and his girlfriend, Cherie Golden. DeMeo had suspected Quinn, a car thief, of cooperating with authorities — and dumped his body where it would be seen to send a message.

DeMeo, ever paranoid, also killed a college student by the name of Dominick Ragucci. Ragucci had no criminal ties, but DeMeo believed he was a Cuban drug cartel member. He saw Ragucci’s car parked outside his home on Long Island and panicked, believing the young door-to-door salesman had come to assassinate him.

Paul Castellano

Public DomainPaul Castellano, the boss of the Gambino crime family, reportedly ordered Roy DeMeo’s death because he feared he would implicate other Mob members.

What followed was a seven-mile car chase through Amityville and Farmingdale that ended with DeMeo shooting Ragucci dead.

DeMeo’s son Albert wrote in his 2002 autobiography For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life that when his father found out the truth, he broke down crying, lamenting the fact that he had murdered an innocent boy. The incident also reportedly put a strain on DeMeo’s marriage, as the public nature of the crime made it harder for his wife to simply ignore his criminal career.

Then, as the 1980s rolled around, the FBI started investigating the Gambino family more closely, linking them to a number of missing people. Numerous informants tipped off the police, and the FBI was holding routine stakeouts near the Gemini Lounge.

Roy DeMeo’s life of crime was coming to a swift end.

The Brutal Death Of Roy DeMeo

It’s been speculated that in the midst of the FBI investigations, Castellano put out a hit on Roy DeMeo to take the heat off. One of the potential hitmen mentioned was reportedly a young John Gotti, who expressed that he was wary about taking the contract because DeMeo and his crew were so dangerous.

The task was then handed off to Frank DeCicco, but he apparently had some trouble getting to DeMeo. According to the Mob Museum, it was DeMeo’s own mentor, Gaggi, who finally agreed to snuff him out.

Roy DeMeo, meanwhile, had become increasingly paranoid. Reports indicated he had even contemplated faking his death.

John Gotti

Public DomainJohn Gotti would go on to have Paul Castellano killed in 1985 so he could become the boss of the Gambino crime family, but even he wouldn’t agree to take out Roy DeMeo.

As it turned out, his paranoia was justified. On Jan. 10, 1983, DeMeo attended a meeting with his crew at Patty Testa’s house — but he never returned home. Then, 10 days later, Roy DeMeo’s bullet-riddled body was found in the trunk of his Cadillac, which was parked in the lot of a Brooklyn boat club. His corpse was partially frozen because of the frigid weather outside.

Even though John Gotti wasn’t the man to take out DeMeo, the mobster’s death paved the way for Gotti to move against Castellano and seize control of the Gambino family himself, ushering in a new era for New York’s mobsters.

After reading about the vicious life and death of Roy DeMeo, learn about Albert Anastasia, the Mob boss who was killed while getting a haircut. Then, dive into the story of the American Mafia in the 1980s.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City who holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College and hosts a podcast for Puna Press.
Cara Johnson
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.
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Goldfarb, Kara. "Roy DeMeo, The Bloodthirsty Brooklyn Mobster Who Was Behind As Many As 200 Murders.", May 1, 2024, Accessed June 13, 2024.