Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cops: Witness fingered Junior Gotti and wound up dead

The NYPD didn't question John A. (Junior) Gotti in a barroom slaying despite an identification from a witness who was soon found hanging from a tree, two cops testified Thursday.

Within hours of the March 1983 slaying in the Silver Fox, witness John Cennamo was in Jamaica Hospital shouting at police that Gotti fatally stabbed Daniel Silva, retired Detective James McKinley testified.

"We all know who did it!" Cennamo shouted after McKinley arrived at the hospital. "Johnny Boy Gotti!"

McKinley later interviewed Cennamo at the 106th Precinct stationhouse, where he said he saw Gotti and three other knife-wielding men attack Silva.

Prosecutor James Trezevant asked if anyone ever attempted to ask Junior about the killing.

"No," McKinley replied.

An earlier witness in Gotti's racketeering trial testified that Junior's notorious father, John Gotti Sr., shut down the murder probe with a $10,000 bribe to an NYPD detective.

Under cross-examination, McKinley acknowledged arresting Gotti crony Mark Caputo for the Silva murder - although the case later fell apart. Fourteen months after the killing, Cennamo, 22, was found dead - a white sweater wrapped around his neck - from a low-hanging tree, prosecution witness Joseph Stillitano said.

The retired cop said the death had the look of a homicide, since the victim was "hanging too low." Cennamo's knees were almost touching the ground behind the Linden Blvd., Queens, laundermat, he recalled.

Another detective overruled Stillitano, calling it a suicide.

Prosecutors claimed Gotti was responsible for the Cennamo death, saying he bragged about the killing.

Meanwhile, Gotti's defense team argued he was the target of an overzealous FBI, and subpoenaed the personnel and discipline records of FBI Special Agent Theodore Otto.

Prosecutors filed paperwork to block the subpoena, saying Otto's file had nothing to do with the murder charges against Gotti.


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