19 November 2019

Eight guilty of serving on Mafia ruling council

On this date in 1986...

New York Times

A Manhattan federal jury on Nov. 19, 1986, convicted eight defendants of serving on a Mafia-commanding board of directors known as "the Commission." The convictions, reached on the sixth day of deliberations, concluded a ten-week racketeering trial.

The defendants included three men authorities identified as bosses of New York-area crime families: Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, 75, of the Genovese Crime Family; Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo, 73, of the Lucchese Crime Family; Carmine "Junior" Persico, 53, of the Colombo Crime Family. (It was later learned that Salerno was serving as a screen for the actual Genovese boss at that time, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante.)

Galante
The others convicted were Gennaro "Gerry Lang" Langella, 47, and Ralph Scopo, 58, of the Colombo Family; Salvatore "Tom Mix" Santoro, 72, and Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari, 62, of the Lucchese Family; Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato, 38, of the Bonanno Family.

The jurors found the defendants guilty of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. They found all but Indelicato guilty of extortion, extortion conspiracy and labor payoffs. They found Corallo and Santoro guilty of loansharking conspiracy and Indelicato guilty of participating in the Commission-authorized 1979 murder of Carmine Galante.

Two months later, Judge Richard Owen sentenced Indelicato to forty years in prison and sentenced each of the other defendants to a century behind bars.

The Commission Case began with arrests and arraignments back in February, 1985. Rudolph Giuliani, then U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said he was inspired to initiate the case after reading a discussion of the Commission in Joseph Bonanno's 1981 autobiography, A Man of Honor. He decided to apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against the panel of organized crime leaders.

Dellacroce
The list of original defendants included Salerno, Corallo, Santoro, Furnari, Langella and Scopo, as well as Philip "Rusty" Rastelli, boss of the Bonanno Crime Family; Paul "Big Paul" Castellano, boss of the Gambino Crime Family; Gambino underboss Aniello "Neil" Dellacroce. A superseding indictment in June 1985 added Persico and Stefano Cannone to the case, bringing the number of defendants to eleven.

Dellacroce died of natural causes on Dec. 2, 1985. Castellano was murdered in Manhattan two weeks later. Cannone's death, reported in the press in January 1986, apparently occurred in September 1985.

When Rastelli, who was being tried in Brooklyn on a separate matter, was severed from the case, prosecutors added Indelicato to the list of defendants, as the sole representative of the Bonanno Family.

The trial began with jury selection on September 8, 1986.

11 November 2019

Two killed at Castellammarese colony in Brooklyn

On this date in 1917...

Two men were shot to death at a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, street corner late Sunday afternoon, November 11, 1917. Authorities surmised that the double-killing stemmed from a Mafia feud.

The victims were residents of the neighborhood, largely a Sicilian colony populated by immigrants from Castellammare del Golfo: Antonino Mazzara, thirty, lived at 230 North Fifth Street, and Antonino DiBenedetto, forty-three, lived at 343 Metropolitan Avenue.

Witnesses saw the two men at about five-thirty that afternoon, speaking with two others on North Fifth Street just northwest of the intersection with Roebling Street. As two teenage girls walked by, they overheard an argument. They recalled that one of the men threatened, "If you don't tell us, we will kill you."

Moments later, there were gunshots. New York Police Detective James Kenny, walking home at the end of his workday, was on Roebling Street approaching North Fifth when he heard four rapid shots, a pause and then three more shots. As Kenny reached the corner, he saw two men on the ground and two others, with guns in their hands, running northwest in the direction of Driggs Avenue. He ran after the gunmen.

One fled through the hallway of a building and got away. Kenny caught up with the other at Driggs Avenue. He overpowered and disarmed the man, using a choke hold and an arm twisting move to bring him to his knees and cause him to drop his firearm. The gunman was later identified as Antonio Massino, twenty-seven, of 165 East 112th Street in Manhattan. Massino's firearm was a magazine-fed pistol. Reports indicated that its magazine was empty.

The sound of the shots brought hundreds of area residents onto the street and caused police officers Wagner, Clancey and Reilly of the Bedford Avenue Station to rush to the scene. Acting Police Captain James Green sent in reserves to disperse the crowd. An ambulance was summoned. Mazzara, shot through the heart, was already dead when it arrived. DiBenedetto, shot above the heart and in the neck, survived just a bit longer. He succumbed to his wounds within minutes of his arrival at Eastern District Hospital, then located about a half mile away on South Third Street.

Police Captain Daniel Carey and a number of detectives came out to search the area. In a vacant lot near the intersection of North Fifth Street and Driggs Avenue, beside a school construction site, they found two loaded shotguns and an empty guitar case. They concluded that the guns had been brought to the location in the case. But only geography linked the guns to the killings of Mazzara and DiBenedetto.

Manhattan police officials were notified of the murders and of the arrest of Massino. Manhattan Detective Marci was put on watch at Massino's building on 112th Street, in case his accomplice showed up. At about 2:30 the next morning, the detective observed a man approaching the building cautiously, looking up and down the street, and then dashing for the entrance. Marci placed the man under arrest. The suspect, identified as Giuseppe Martinnico, thirty-three, of 90 Main Street in Jersey City, New Jersey, was found to be in possession of a handgun very similar to the one found on Massino.

The two girls who witnessed the argument before the shooting were unable to identify the suspects. Police brought Antonino Mazzara's brother Joseph to the Bedford Station to look over the suspects. Joseph said he did not remember ever seeing the men before. Massino offered a weak explanation for running from a murder scene with a gun in his hand. He had armed himself after recently receiving two threatening letters, and drew the firearm to protect himself after hearing shots fired.

Sources:
  • Antonino DiBenedetto, New York City Extracted Death Index, certificate no. 21982, Nov. 11, 1917.
  • Antonio Mazzara, New York City Extracted Death Index, certificate no. 21983, Nov. 11, 1917.
  • "Double murder due to feud, police say," Brooklyn Standard Union, Nov. 12, 1917, p. 4.
  • "Two die in street after seven shots," New York Herald, Nov. 12, 1917, p. 14.
  • "Two killed in street battle," Brooklyn Citizen, Nov. 12, 1917, p. 2.
  • "Two men are held on homicide charge," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nov. 12, 1917, p. 4.

05 November 2019

'Mafia Cop' Eppolito dies in federal custody

Eppolito
[From Mob-News blog
Louis Eppolito, 71, a former New York Police detective who was convicted of committing murders for organized crime, died Sunday, November 3, 2019, at the Tucson Medical Center in Arizona, according to published reports.

The inmate locator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirms that Louis Eppolito, register number 04596-748, died November 3, 2019. There is no indication of the cause of death.

Eppolito and his former NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa were sentenced in March 2009 to life in prison, following a 2006 conviction for participation in mob murders, attempted murders, racketeering and conspiracy.

Caracappa
Caracappa died in the federal detention center at Butner, North Carolina, on April 8, 2017. (See "'Mafia Cop' Caracappa dies in prison.") The cause of his death also was not released, but Caracappa had earlier requested a release from prison on the grounds that he was suffering from cancer.

Their trial revealed that Eppolito and Caracappa, both highly decorated law enforcement officers, secretly worked with Lucchese Crime Family leader Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. They received a retainer of $4,000 a month to provide him with police data and to help arrange mob murders. Authorities charged that they received a $65,000 bonus for personally handling the murder of a mobster during a phony traffic stop.

The 2006 convictions of both men were thrown out by the trial judge, who decided that the statute of limitations on their more serious federal offenses had already expired. A federal appeals court reversed that decision in September 2008. They were sentenced to life in prison on March 6, 2009.

Eppolito, son of Gambino Crime Family member Ralph Eppolito, authored (with Bob Drury) a 1992 autobiography entitled, Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob."

See other Mob-News posts on the Mafia Cops.

Sources: