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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gotti trial stirs daughter's rage over slain mom: Speaks up for justice after 24 years of anguish

Stacy Swearingen kept her mouth shut for 24 years, determined to avoid her mother's gruesome fate: Strangled and dumped in a pile of garbage by the Gambino family.

Now, with the slaying igniting fireworks at the trial of ex-mob boss John A. (Junior) Gotti, she's breaking her silence to demand justice - and vengeance - in the 1985 killing.

"They are all cowards who did this," Swearingen told the Daily News. "They got away with it all these years.

"Whoever killed my mother, whoever called in the hit, whoever did the killing, I would love the death penalty for. They took her from me."

Her mother, Robin Lynn Vitulli, was killed in 1985 while dating Junior's uncle Vincent - a Gambino soldier and the youngest brother of John (Dapper Don) Gotti.

Swearingen, now 27, grew up hearing the rumored details of her mother's grisly demise.

"She was at some club and got into an argument," Swearingen recalled. "She slapped [Vincent's brother] Peter Gotti in the face, and he is the one who supposedly ordered her killed."

The fatal slap landed inside a disco at the Kennedy Inn, a now-defunct Queens motel. Her body was discovered in a pile of trash, her legs sticking out.

Swearingen, a mother of two, grew up in the same Ozone Park neighborhood where the Gotti crew operated out of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club.

Her father and grandmother, afraid for her life, ordered her to steer clear of the mob hangout.

"My family feared I would say something," Swearingen recalled. "I have a temper, so they feared I would wind up like my mother. Her mouth got her killed."

Stacy survived, although the Gottis left their mark on her. Swearingen said she was 2 years old when one of the clan burned her pinky toe with a cigarette over her mom's drug debt.

The slaying also left her with no memories of her mother, just a few photos of the pair. Vitulli was killed at age 25.

The unsolved murder was mentioned last week by Gambino family associate John Alite, the key prosecution witness against Junior.

He testified that Vincent Gotti had strangled a woman in a Queens motel. Although Vitulli wasn't mentioned by name, sources indicated Alite - once Junior's best friend - was referring to her slaying.

The testimony ignited a courtroom shouting match between Alite and his former best man.

"I'll kill you," Gotti mouthed silently at Alite as the star witness testified in Manhattan Federal Court.

"You got something to say to me?" Alite barked as he left the witness stand.

"You fag!" Gotti screamed back. "Did I kill little girls? You're a punk. You're a dog. You're a dog. You always were a dog your whole life, you punk dog."

Gotti's attorney tried to blame the slaying on Alite, who laughed the charge off.

Swearingen said she doesn't care who did it - she just wants an answer after living most of her life without one.

"Whoever did this should be a man and say it," she said. "They are all criminals. They are all in jail for something. Why not just say it?"


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