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Ex-Westies Member: ‘I’ll Kill Anybody, But I’m Not into Cutting Them Up’

October 22, 1987 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former member of the Westies gang says he helped rob and murder a loan shark in a bar in Hell’s Kitchen but balked when the gang’s leader began butchering the corpse with a knife.

For two days, William Beattie has told horrifying tales of bloodthirsty murder, mayhem and dismemberment to a federal court jury at the racketeering trial of eight alleged Westies gang members.

On Wednesday, Beattie, who is testifying in return for leniency, described murders for revenge, for unpaid debts and for the elimination of competitors.

Beattie, who said he joined the gang in 1972, testified that the main defendant, reputed Westies boss James ″Jimmy″ Coonan, once said he killed to enhance his reputation because ″the more bodies you had, the more monstrous you looked.″

Prosecutors claim the Westies seized the loansharking, drug dealing and extortion rackets on Manhattan’s West Side in the 1960s and maintained their hold for two decades through a series of gruesome murders.

The defense has denied the existence of an organization called the Westies, which even Beattie has said was a name created by the news media for ″the Irish mob″ of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen section.

Beattie, 40, said he participated in the 1977 slaying of loan shark and bookmaker Charles ″Ruby″ Stein and in the cleanup and removal of body parts after the 1975 killing of a gang member.

Beattie said he helped Coonan and two others ambush Stein in a 10th Avenue bar, pulling the curtains and locking the door after Stein entered.

Then, said Beattie: ″Danny (Grillo) comes out from the kitchen and pumped some shots into Ruby’s chest.″

Grillo was among 10 co-conspirators not indicted with the eight defendants on trial because they have all been slain.

Coonan embraced Grillo after the shooting and ordered the others to shoot Stein’s corpse, said Beattie, then ″Richie Ryan shot him, gave me the gun and I shot him.″

Beattie said the killers split about $1,000 Stein was carrying, then put Stein’s body on plastic sheets and dragged it to the rear of the bar, where it was cut up with a serrated kitchen knife.

Beattie testified that when he looked away, someone sneered, ″ ’Haven’t you got the stomach for it?‴

″I said, ’That’s not my bag. I’ll kill anybody but I’m not into cutting them up,‴ testified Beattie.

He admitted placing garbage bags containing Stein’s body parts in the trunk of a car but did not know where they were taken.

When Beattie asked why the butchery was necessary, he said Coonan replied, ″No corpus delicti, no investigation.″

Stein’s headless, limbless torso was found a few days later floating in Jamaica Bay.

The trial is in recess until Monday.