Bernard Marchesani

Outfit Enforcer


Convicted of extortion and sentenced to serve a 20 year prison term in 1970. Marchesani served 8 years at the Lewisberg federal prison before being granted parole. Marchesani became the subject of a nation wide man hunt when he failed to appear for trial on a second charge of extortion in 1981. An enforcer closely aligned with Anthony Zerilli and the Detroit Outfit. Marchesani eluded arrest for more than 5 years before he was captured by federal marshalls at a Van Buren Township Condominium complex on Febuary 21,1986. Agents approached Marchesani's home dressed as security guards under the ruse of investigating the vandalism of Marchesani's car. Once Marchesani stepped outside of his condo he was overtaken by agents who had been prepared to enter the apartment had the security decoy failed. Marchesani surrendered without incident and gave the agents a pearl handled .25 caliber pistol he had been carrying on his person. Agents then searched Marchesani's condo and confiscated $17,490 in cash and substances suspected of being marijuana and cocaine, four other hand guns, a shotgun, jewelry and 3 address books. Marchesani had been sought in an extortion attempt against convicted accountant Donald Robb along with Anthony Zerilli and two others who were acquitted of all charges in March of 1982. Marchesani had been arrested in the extortion case but promptly checked himself into a Detroit Hospital for treatment of a then unspecified illness. Shortly after checking himself in, Bernard checked himself out and began his 5 year flight from justice. During his time on the run, Marchesani emerged as the prime suspect in the May 19, 1985 slaying of Collen Marie Smith in Highland Park. Bernard was returned to prison where he finished out the remaining 12 years of his 20 year term he had received in the early 70's extortion case. In September of 1986 Bernard Marchesani was sentenced to serve an additional 8 years in prison for extortion and jumping to escape trial to go along with the 12 remaining years on a sentence he received in 1970 for extortion and other charges. During his sentencing Marchesani was referred to as the most dangerous loanshark in Metro Detroit. Marchesani succumbed to the ravages of cancer after having been granted a mercy parole by the Michigan State parole board. Marchesani's death on January 15,1998 at the age of 73 came as his superior Anthony Zerilli and sixteen other reputed members and associates of the Detroit Partnership attempted to fight off the most serious attack ever on the Detroit Outfit.