Musitano Ndrangheta Clan's Power Play for Hamilton

Ken Murdock once played a pivotal role in mob politics in Hamilton, a tough town on Ontario's Great Lakes waterfront.
Murdock Killed Johnny Papalia, mob boss
Mob hit man Ken Murdock, who was paroled two years ago.
He was sentenced to "life" for killing mob boss Johnny "Pops" Papalia and was a suspect in the killings of two close Papalia associates on the orders of his longtime employers, the Musitano crime family, one of three key crime families in the Hamilton region. The other two were the Luppinos and Papalias.

According to Murdock himself, shortly after the hit on Johnny Papalia in 1996, the Musitanos had considered taking out the three brothers who together ran the Luppino family, presumably in a move to dominate Hamilton, a key city in the Ontario province in terms of historical organized crime.

At the time, the Musitanos were backed by Vito Rizzuto, who also would eventually make a move from Montreal to take over Southern Ontario.

Johnny Papalia, known as "The Enforcer," had been a bootlegger and then a drug dealer, involved in both the French and Pizza Connections. He had taken the reigns as boss of the Hamilton area from Don Giacomo Luppino, dubbed "The last of Canada’s old-style Mafia godfathers," when Luppino died of natural causes in 1987 at age 88.

"Pops" Papalia had assumed control along with the two lieutenants: Enio "Pegleg" Mora and Carmen Barillaro.

On Sept. 11, 1996, Pegleg Mora was shot four times in the head at point blank range after pulling his gold-colored Cadillac into the driveway of his farm in north Toronto.

The next year, in May of 1997, Murdock killed Johnny Papalia and later Barillaro.

Rizzuto was, in fact, closely involved with the hits on the Papalia family, so close that one of his right hand men was seen by law enforcement meeting with Musitano family leaders after each of three Papalia hits went down in the late 1990s.

Afterward, Vito himself was seen meeting with Musitano boss Pat. (In the 1990s, Mora borrowed $7.2 million from Rizzuto, giving the bulk of it to Johnny Papalia and Carmen Barillaro. When Vito start inquiring about repayment of the loan, he was ignored.)

All three of the key families in Hamilton -- the Luppinos, Papalias and Musitanos -- were Calabrian Ndrangheta clans. Still, Pat Musitano, boss of the family in the late 1990s, "fell in with Vito Rizzuto."

Back in 1931 the American Mafia's Commission decreed how Canada would be carved up. Quebec, including the key city of Montreal, fell under the purview of Joseph Bonanno; Southern Ontario, including the waterfront steel-making town of Hamilton, belonged to Bonanno's cousin, Stefano Magaddino.

Bonanno and Magaddino feuded the rest of their lives over Canada, a key platform from which to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Europe.

According to the National Post, Murdock, 50, has been doing well while out on parole. He is holding down a job. He has respected the rules at his halfway house and attended monthly counseling sessions, his parole records show.

As Humphreys reported of Murdock:

He was known on the streets of Hamilton as impetuous, violent, and strong.

Once, when emerging from jail and looking for a job, he walked into Bannister’s, a large and rough strip club in the heart of Hamilton’s downtown, and asked the head of security for a job as a bouncer. “We already have somebody,” the man said, pointing to a large man standing outside the DJ’s booth. Murdock walked through the club, jogged up the stairs to the bouncer, and — without a word — beat him up.

“[I] gave him a couple of shots to the head, kicked him while he was down. He got up and I told him to f— off, he didn’t work here anymore.” When the man in charge of security tried to break the fight up, he too was thrown down by Murdock. “I got my job,” he later said.

Such talent was spotted and cultivated by the Mafia in the city and he was recruited into the Musitano crime family. He served as a loyal and dedicated henchman. When the mob family’s patriarch, Dominic Musitano, died in 1995, Murdock was asked to be in the honour guard at his funeral.
Murdock was willing to do anything for the family.