James Coonan

Victims Unknown
Born (1946-12-21) December 21, 1946 (age 75)
Died Unknown
Known for Unknown
Criminal penalty Unknown


James Michael "Jimmy C" Coonan (born December 21, 1946) is an Irish-American mobster and racketeer from Manhattan, New York who, from approximately 1977 to 1988, served as the boss of the Westies organization, an Irish Mob group based in Hell's Kitchen. Coonan was incarcerated and began serving a 75-year prison term in 1988.


James Coonan was born in 1946 in the Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan area of New York City, the son of John Coonan, an accountant who ran a tax office on West 50th Street. When Coonan was a young man, John was kidnapped, pistol-whipped and severely beaten by Mickey Spillane, a well-known mobster who frequently employed the kidnap-for-ransom racket of local merchants to their families. Author T.J. English has credited this event in several books as Coonan's motivating factor in the takeover of the Westies.

Coonan was the bodyguard/apprentice of loan shark Charles (Ruby) Stein according to The New York Times article that alleged he was "known and feared on the West Side as a murderer and kidnapper". Coonan wanted more, and several West Side neighborhood thugs gathered around him, including Francis "Mickey" Featherstone. By 1976, Coonan and Featherstone were engaged in taking over Spillane's territory, culminating in the 1977 shooting of Spillane, for which Featherstone was arrested and acquitted, and the death of Stein. According to testimony given in 1987 by ex-Westies member turned informant William Beattie, Stein was killed and beheaded in 1977 in a move to erase Coonan's debt and prove the Westies power through viciousness.

In 1979, Coonan was tried and acquitted for the murder of Harold Whitehead, but convicted on weapons charges and sentenced to four years in federal prison. After his release he resumed power, but in 1988 was convicted of racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and sentenced to 75 years in prison with the judge's recommendation of denying parole. Coonan was first eligible for parole in 1998.

He and his wife Edna (b.1942; Julia Edna Crotty) lived in Hazlet and Keansburg, New Jersey, before his incarceration.