Jim Kershner’s this day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
The intriguing question in the headline was: “Can Dead Walk?”
The question arose in a murder trial, in which bartender Giuseppe Coco of the Atlas Bar was accused of murdering Luigi Nardelli.
Coco said Nardelli threatened him by saying, “I will kill you and bury your body where you stand.” Then Nardelli made a move as if to draw a revolver.
Coco responded by immediately firing his own gun and shooting Nardelli dead.
However, some witnesses claimed that Nardelli was already running out of the bar when Coco fired the shots, which would undercut Coco’s self-defense claim.
Other witnesses claimed that Nardelli was shot and then ran a few steps before collapsing.
Since the two bullets in the heart would have killed Nardelli nearly instantly, the doctors were asked whether Nardelli could have run a few steps after being shot. One doctor said he might have been able to run a few paces before collapsing. Another doctor opined that it would have been impossible for a “corpse” to run.
Meanwhile, one witness claimed that, just before the shots, Coco had uttered the words, “Have I taken your sister from your side?” It was said to be “the most calumnious of Italian insults.”