Not quite one full decade into the twentieth century – September 13, 1909 – something occurred that would change the Midwest region of the United States of America for the next 63-years, seven months and one day. Sam “Mad Sam” DeStefano (known as Dyno to his Outfit cronies) was born. His legendary, blood-curdling reputation, replete with homicidal rampages and a sadistic obsession with torture, has led several prominent authors and law enforcement officials to conclude that Sam DeStefano was one of the most vicious and sadistic murderers in U.S. history.
From the time Dyno was a teenager until he moved out on his own as young man he lived in an apartment building off Polk Street in the heart of what is known today as Chicago’s Little Italy. His home was one or two buildings down from the boyhood home of the now late Outfit henchman Willie Messino.
Willie Messino often had problems with Dyno. Little Italy was a rough inner-city neighborhood, the sort of place where physical violence was commonplace. DeStefano, nearly eight years older than Messino, found delight in brutally assaulting the younger, smaller Willie. However, Willie never backed down from Dyno. He took his occasional beatings like a man, fighting back, punching and kicking every time. Whenever Dyno was challenged to a street-fight as a young man, he would always say in a voice similar to the one Ben Gazzara used in the 1975 film Capone, “Okay, how do you want to fight? Do you want to fight on one leg? Do you want to fight with one arm tied behind your back? Do you want to fight with both arms tied behind your back? Do you want to fight with a knife? Do you want to fight with a baseball bat?”