For nearly a decade, Joe Butera must have felt like he had a target on his back as he walked back and forth from home to work in Alliance.
Between January 1909 and November 1917, a sinister force, referred to as the black hand, made eight different attempts on the Italian immigrant’s life.
Even sitting on his front porch, Butera wasn’t safe, as the fourth attempt was made as he played his mandolin in August 1912.
They finally got him on the ninth as he walked to work in the Pennsylvania Railroad yards five years and five attempts later during the early morning hours of August 19, 1919.
Jack Weber, community relations manager at Rodman Public Library and a member of the Alliance Historical Society board, will tell Butera’s story in detail as well as a couple of others when he presents “Only Murders in Alliance” on Monday, October 30 inside the Rodman Auditorium.
The program will be given twice – once at 11 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.
Registration is required to attend either program, which will be identical.
Weber, a lifelong area resident, first learned of Butera’s story while working as a journalist at The Alliance Review and doing research for “Past in Review,” a popular look-back column that ran between January 2017 and November 2020.
Intrigued by Butera’s story, Weber looked further back in the saga, and that led to the discovery of two other gruesome murders, the tales of which he will weave into the program, which is , sponsored jointly by the Alliance Historical Society, the Alliance Area Preservation Society, and the Castle Crusaders in conjunction with Rodman Public Library.