Chief Strickland were you on duty at the Bowl-a-rama in Prince William when Chet McLaughlin was shot.
GEORGE STRICKLAND: No, I was not on duty and was bowling with the crew from Hamilton. We were playing against a Prince William team.
I understand that you tended Lark Larsen when he was shot to the ground, Chief.”
GEORGE STRICKLAND: “That’s not what happened. Lark was loaded… Not the first time either.”
“You heard the shots, Chief?”
GEORGE STRICKLAND: “One of them may have been from a silencer. The other was the usual crack you might associate with a gunshot.”
“You know McLaughlin?”
GEORGE STRICKLAND: “Yeah, Chet was an OK kind of guy.”
“Then why would someone or more than one person gun him down?”
GEORGE STRICKLAND: “His daughter had a guy Mark Pierra who was stalking her. Guy carried a knife. And word has it that Johnny Stefani a known gangster was on site here at the bowling alley.”
“What about you Bucky? You were on the Hamilton team.”
BUCKY DRISCOLL: “I don’t know nothin.’ I was having trouble with my balls.”
BUCKY DRISCOLL: “My balls kept gettin’ stuck.”
GEORGE STRICKLAND: “Bowling ball in the return.”
ARNIE DEWARS: “Chet was a pro-Bowler!”
“I don’t care about his biography. What did you see?”
COCOA STEFANI: ” Dewars and the rest of them didn’t see nothin.’ They were boozin’ it up with those blue cups. I told ya no drinkin’ at the Bowl-a-rama.”
ARNIE DEWARS: ” A little lubrication never hurt nobody.”
COCOA STEFANI: “That right? You’re gonna take a little ride with my Uncle Dullio, Dewars.”
ARNIE DEWARS: “Hey Cocoa. I didn’t mean it. I was just kiddin.'”
BUCKY DRISCOLL: ” I ain’t afraid of you guys. You’re all paper tigers.”
COCOA STEFANI: “Is that right, Rodent? Dullio, take Mr. Tough Guy here with Dewars to meet Earl”
BUCKY DRISCOLL: “Who’s Earl?”
COCOA STEFANI: Somebody who’s gonna teach you the meaning of life.”
BUCKY DRISCOLL: ” Oh, what a relief. Thanks Cocoa.”
COCOA STEFANI: ” Don’t mention it.”
“So Cocoa, your father was in the coat room with somebody from Vegas.”
COCOA STEFANI:”I can’t speak for the old man. He’s been gone for years. But if he was back here he had a good reason.”
Johnny Stefani did have a good reason to be back in the Prince William area. His presence back in the area and the subsequent plot with Cocoa brings Cocoa’s life full circle since his brother Anthony’s death in NYC and Johnny’s abandonment over twenty years ago. And whoever was after Chet McLaughlin is trying to finish the job.
Las Vegas Weekly last year in conjunction with the Mob Museum published a list of people, not necessarily mob leaders, who were gunned down for reasons-some known, some unknown. In light with what happens to Chet McLaughlin in the Jones book, let’s look at someone these wipe outs.
Gus Greenbaum and his wife:
Did they skim money to keep a high roller lifestyle? Probably. Throats slit…
Former FBI agent bombed in broad daylight inside a Downtown Vegas parking garage. Coulthard was Mr. Law and order in Las Vegas. Headed the FBI’s local office and became well known attorney.
Elmer “Al” Bramlet
Elmer “Al” Bramlet- flashy dresser and traditional labor leader. Refused to pay his firebombing thugs for a job not done. Unfortunately for Elmer they completed another job-his demise.
Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston
Heart failure and lung congestion–owed money to the mob–a forced overdose?
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
Dead at age 41
Bugsy Siegel: The Life and Legacy of the Notorious Gangster Who Helped Develop Murder, Inc. and the Las Vegas Strip
Who knows why he was hit? Jack Dragna from LA might have wanted him dead. Moe Dalitz’s ex-girlfriend was abused by Siegal. The big boys wanted him gone because he was skimming money from the Flamingo.
So, what the heck did Chet McLaughlin do? This is where Jones and Cocoa have to look through the people around Chet at the college. That leads them to northern New Hampshire followed by the Hamilton crazies) and the beginning of the showdown. We learn why the old man in the mountain collapsed, ruining great landmark.
Everything leads back to Prince William and a bizarre death chamber. Remember the past is always present. Chet McLaughlin knew something, and it got him killed.
Robert P. Fitton