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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Judge rules Gambino boss to stay in jail until trial

A federal judge ruled today that a top Gambino Mafia boss charged in a 30-year-old mob double-murder should remain behind bars until trial, overturning a decision to release him by a lower-ranking jurist.
Judge Sandra Townes held that Bartolomeo Vernace, a Gambino capo who is one of three made men sitting on the crime family’s ruling panel, poses a danger to the community based on "clear and convincing evidence."
Townes, a US district judge, overruled Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes, who held several weeks ago that Vernace could be released on bail.
Both judges sit in Brooklyn federal court.
Federal prosecutors had objected and appealed Reyes’ ruling, while Vernace remained in custody awaiting judicial review.
The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn has charged Vernace with being one of the trigger-men in the 1981 Queens bar mob double-kill where one victim was shot point-blank in the face and another in the chest, saying they have new eyewitnesses to the slayings.
Vernace, 61, was acquitted in a 2002 state-court trial of the murders of John D’Agnese and Richard Godkin in the Shamrock Bar on Jamaica Avenue after an argument arose over a drink spilled on a wiseguy’s girlfriend.
A Gambino associate who was involved in the dispute left the bar and later picked up Vernace and a third accomplice, prosecutors say.
The three allegedly returned and opened fire on D’Agnese and Godkin, who owned the bar.
In an 11-page ruling released Tuesday, Townes ruled that Vernace should not be released until after he’s tried because he is a leader of a criminal organization with "dangerous criminals...at his beck and call."


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