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Coffee Talk: Ugly Prey

Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, PhD will transport audiences to Chicago 1923 with her vivid storytelling.  Ugly Prey tells the riveting story of a poor Italian immigrant sentenced to hang in Chicago for the murder of her missing husband.  There was no evidence, no murder weapon, and no proof the decayed body found in a suburban drainage ditch was Francesco Nitti.

Sabella was the target of obsessed lawmen who were looking for an easy win. In the early 1920s, Chicago saw a rash of beautiful women acquitted by smitten juries.  Several of these infamous women were guilty, glamorous, and not one bit sorry. To the men who prosecuted her, Sabella was hideous and dirty.  Easy, ugly prey. She was a contadina from Bari who spoke neither English nor Italian. Her skin was hardened from years of toiling in the sun and she made no effort with her appearance. The jury was convinced and Sabella was sentenced to hang. A quick 95 days separated Sabella from the gallows. Could anyone save her?

Dr. Lucchesi is a seasoned journalist who wrote more than 800 stories for the Chicago Tribune. Her work has also run in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Hearst's Digital Publications.Visit to learn more about Ugly Prey and Sabella's connection to the glamorous women who inspired the play, Chicago.

Later Event: November 10
Des Plaines Art Guild Art Exhibit