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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jr. Gotti Trial: Alite testimony continues

Mob turncoat John Alite testified Wednesday that he shot a Queens cocaine dealer in the head in 1988 on orders from John “Junior” Gotti because the man was bragging about his Gotti family connections, and he was told to make no effort to hide the body because the Gottis wanted to “send a message.”

Alite, appearing at Gotti’s murder-racketeering trial in federal court in Manhattan, said Gotti was particularly incensed at coke dealer George Grosso not only because the drug business is supposed to be off-limits for the mob, but because Grosso touted a link to “John Gotti” - making people think that Gotti’s father, Gambino capo and future boss John J. Gotti, was involved.

“John Gotti Jr. threatened him, told him to stop using his father’s name,” Alite, a top Gotti lieutenant and friend of his family during the 1980s, said of a meeting he attended with Gotti and Grosso. “He told him if he does it again, he’s not going to warn him again.”

Gotti, 45, of Oyster Bay, was tried three times in 2005 and 2006 on racketeering charges, with each case ending in a hung jury after Gotti’s lawyers claimed that he withdrew from the mob in the 1990s, before the five-year statute of limitations on racketeering.

Alite’s testimony could mark a critical departure from the earlier cases, because the former confidante did not begin cooperating with the government until last year, and the slaying to which he tied Gotti is not subject to a statute of limitations or the withdrawal defense. Gotti has been separately charged with the murders of Grosso and a second man, Bruce Gotterup, in 1991.

Testifying for nearly six hours on his 47th birthday as Gotti and Gotti’s mother, sisters and two nephews watched, Alite said that while he administered plenty of beatings as part of Gotti’s crew and for his own drug business, he never killed anyone before Grosso. But Gotti, he testified, ratcheted up the pressure in the fall of 1988.

“He pushed the issue. John Gotti Jr. kept saying, ‘You didn’t kill this kid yet,’ trying to say I didn’t have enough — to do it,” said Alite, who pleaded guilty to racketeering last year in Florida and is hoping for leniency on his sentence.

“He’s telling me it’s got to get done. ‘I’m telling you to do it now, if you’re going to be around.’ ” he said. “Otherwise, I go if I don’t execute his orders.”

Alite said he recruited a four-man team to help with the hit, lured Grosso to a bar in late December 1988 and then into a car by feigning friendship - a trick he said he learned from the Gotti family. He pumped “two or three bullets” into Grosso’s head, he said, and dumped the body beside the Grand Central Parkway.

The means of disposal was specified by Gotti, Alite testified: “Don’t bury him, don’t hide him. Put him out on the street so people know what you did. Send a message: Don’t use our names.”

Alite said the team that helped him included Nicholas Tobia, who became a Suffolk County police officer in 1995. He said Tobia was not in the car where Grosso was shot, but in a trailing car. Tobia, of Wantagh, whose name first surfaced when Alite testified at the trial of mobster Charles Carneglia earlier this year, is on leave from the Suffolk force. Yesterday his lawyer, William Petrillo of Rockville Centre, again denied wrongdoing.

In other testimony Wednesday, Alite gave more details about two deaths that he linked to Gotti. He said Gotti frequently took credit for fatally stabbing a Queens man named Danny Silva in a 1983 bar fight, and said that his father had gotten bodyguard Mark Caputo to take the fall for him. Caputo was charged by police, but the case was dismissed.

He said that Gotti also told him that John Cennamo, a Queens man who fingered Gotti for the Silva stabbing and was found hanged behind a Laundromat in 1984, had been killed by a Gambino family team on the elder Gotti’s orders. The death was ruled a suicide at the time, and family and friends said Cennamo had been depressed about losing a job and a girlfriend.



Post a Comment