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Anthony Piano


For several months in early 1937, a group of teenagers had been engaging in a string of robberies, thefts, and burglaries throughout the east end of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. When the group beat 61-year-old retired mailman George Fleck so badly that he was hospitalized, two eighteen-year-old males, Anthony Piano and Herman Ruffo, were arrested. Piano was also charged in connection with the March 1937 robbery of a drugstore. Having been identified by Fleck as one of the perpetrators, Piano was tried and convicted on May 4, 1937 and sentenced to two to four years in the county workhouse. Ruffo pleaded guilty to a series of offenses and was sentenced to eight to sixteen years in the workhouse.
 
However, several months into Piano’s term, two other men confessed to the beating of Fleck and the robbery of the drug store for which Piano had been convicted. The men stated that Piano had not been involved in the crimes, instead identifying 18-year-old Charles Pampana as their accomplice. In viewing one of the men, 18-year-old Charles Pampana, Fleck recognized that he had been mistaken in identifying Piano.
 
On October 20, 1937, Piano was released upon the motion of Assistant District Attorney Earle R. Jackson, who dismissed the charges against Piano after describing it as a case of mistaken identity.
 
 – Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:PA
County:Allegheny
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1937
Convicted:1937
Exonerated:1937
Sentence:2 to 4 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:18
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID