Florence Lassandro: Bootlegger’s moll and executed murderer

(This story is one of a series entitled “One Person’s Journey” telling how people from all walks of life, including a few rogues and rebels, have left their marks upon the world. To see a list of others featured in the series, click here.)

Florence Lassandro 1900 – 1923

Florence Lassandro
1900 – 1923

One of Alberta’s most notorious murder cases of the 1920s occurred in the Crowsnest Pass in 1921, when Prohibition was in full force. It involved the gunning down in broad daylight of a provincial police officer assigned to combat illicit liquor traffic in the towns of Blairmore, Bellevue and Coleman. Two suspects were convicted and sentenced to death. One was a rumrunner named Emilio Picariello who had vowed to kill the policeman for shooting at his son. The other was his female accomplice, Florence Lassandro, a Picariello family friend who became the only woman ever to be hanged in Alberta. Lassandro considered herself innocent yet still took the blame for the policeman’s killing because Picariello had told her that Canadian judicial authorities would never execute a woman.

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