Book Review – Blood Relation

Blood Relation is a commendable book, written in 2004, about a really bad guy – Harold “Kayo” Konigsberg – a stone killer – doing life imprisonment at the time of the book’s writing. Blood Relation was written Kayo’s grandnephew, Eric Konigsberg, over the objection of everyone in Eric’s family, with the possible exception of Kayo himself, who granted his grandnephew several interviews for the book, but was not too happy with the end result.

In Blood Relation, Eric tells of how Kayo threatened his life because of Kayo’s dissatisfaction at his portrayal in a New Yorker magazine article Eric wrote, and how the nephew took this threat seriously, as well he should, since Kayo was said to have killed as many as 20 people for the Italian mob; بيت العلم and more just for fun. Sadism to Kayo was like candy to a kid and some of Kayo’s murders were exceptionally brutal.

To show Kayo’s influence even when he was behind bars, he was able to pull enough strings to get favors from the prison personnel other cons could only dream about.
In Blood Relation Eric wrote, “He (Kayo) had a private apartment done over for him in the jail library, with his own TV, telephone, radio, refrigerator, hot plate, desk and sofa.”

To add spice to his plate, Kayo did the unimaginable in prison. He got himself a chippy and a knockout to boot.

The News York Daily News wrote, “A shapely young blond, Marilyn Jane Fraser, was smuggled into his (Kayo’s) cell in 1965 to provide him female companionship.”

Accompanying the News York Daily News was a seductive photo of Miss Fraser. I’ve seen less skin in Playboy Magazine.

Retired NYPD detective and veteran mob aficionado, Joe Coffey, told the New York Daily News it’s a scandal that Konigsberg is now out from behind bars.

“I knew him well and he was the worst of the worst,” Coffey said. “He enjoyed killing and enjoyed getting paid for it. He was a nasty bastard and he should have gotten the electric chair.”

Kayo’s sadism was also evident in the courtroom. Coffey said that Kayo represented himself at an extortion trial in Manhattan Supreme Court and he emphatically told the court he was insane. Kayo then demonstrated how insane.

“He sat in a wheelchair and defecated in his pants right in front of the judge,” Coffey said. “I was there and he grossed out everyone and cleared the courtroom, but he was convicted anyway. I remember it like it was yesterday.”

In 2008 parole hearing, Kayo said the only reason he was still in prison was because in 1963 Attorney General Robert Kennedy offered him a doozey of a deal in return for information on his pals and Kayo turned RFK down flat

“There was no way he could break me,” Kayo told the parole board. “The Nazis, the Germans, those people that were not hanged at Nuremberg didn’t do 20 years.”

But alas, all good things must come to an end.

In August, 2012, Kayo, at the age of 86, was inexplicably released on parole from the Mohawk Prison in Rome, NY, after being denied parole seven times. Kayo did 49 years behind bars for several murders, and is now living the good life in a $750,000 house in sunny Weston, Florida, with his daughter Edie.

New York State Parole Commissioners Sally Thompson and Michael Hagler gave no reason for granting Konigsberg’s release, which is not surprising since they could be no sane motive for them letting a killer like Kayo out of the can in anything other than in a pine box.

One of the men Kayo was convicted of killing was Anthony “Three Fingers” Castellito, who was whacked by Kayo at the urging of Castellito’s rival union rival, Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano. Jennie Castellito was just 13 when her dad was killed and she was incensed Kayo had been released from prison.

“When ‘Tony Pro’ died in prison – he had cancer – that was the greatest news I ever heard,” she told the New York Daily News. “My father’s dead and he didn’t have the last 49 years to spend alive with his children and grandchildren. I don’t think he should have been released. I don’t understand it.”

The question is – does Eric Konigsberg have to fear for his life now that his granduncle is a free man?

I wish I knew the answer, and I wish when I read Blood Relation I had known Kayo was soon to be sprung from the can and still a danger to anyone he believed had wronged him. It would have made reading the book all the more compelling.

Sadly, if I were Eric Konigsberg, I’d be looking over both my shoulders for Uncle Kayo or, more likely, for someone hired by Uncle Kayo. A man isn’t born with spots then dies with stripes.



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