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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Al Bruno murder trial witnesses shed light on last moments of chronic convict Gary Westerman's life

Chronic convict Gary D. Westerman showed up to a tiny house in Agawam, Mass., in the dark on Nov. 4, 2003, with a stun gun and a ski mask, expecting to rob the homeowners of marijuana and cash with frequent partners in crime.
Instead, Westerman's remains, along with his nonlethal weapon and the mask, were discovered nearly seven years later on the grounds of that house by a team of FBI agents and state police, according to testimony in an ongoing mob murder trial in a federal court in New York. A medical examiner on Wednesday testified Westerman had a bullet hole in the center of his skull, a bullet lodged in his jaw and a gunshot wound to his upper right arm, in addition to blunt trauma to his cheekbones, nose and eyes.
gary westerman.JPGGary Westerman
The testimony shed new light on the grisly final moments for Westerman, a drug-dealer, tractor-trailer truck thief and low-level organized crime associate who previously had seemed to disappear without a trace. Law enforcement officials only began digging for his remains in a wooded area at 160 Springfield St. in Agawam after Mafia turncoat Anthony J. Arillotta led them there in 2010, according to an FBI agent, with a covert entourage of investigators - many of whom had wondered for years what had happened to Westerman.
Standing trial are two of Westerman's accused killers - his onetime friends Fotios "Freddy" Geas, of West Springfield, Mass., and younger brother Ty Geas, of Westfield, Mass. The brothers allegedly shot Westerman several times and dumped him in a makeshift grave on the property after luring him to the home under the guise of a potential "score." They, along with reputed New York mob captain Arthur "Artie" Nigro, also are charged with the 2003 murder of crime boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno and a string of other offenses. Nigro is not accused in connection with Westerman's slaying.
The Geas brothers have denied involvement in the Westerman murder and any of the crimes charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment. Their denials come despite direct testimony from Arillotta, who told jurors he and fellow gangster Emilio Fusco, an Italian-born Genovese crime family associate from Longmeadow, Mass., aided in Westerman’s slaughter by bludgeoning him with shovels after the Geases shot him several times.
Fusco is charged in the case but fled to Italy before his arrest. He is awaiting extradition.
Arillotta told jurors that the Geases wanted to kill Westerman because they believed – correctly – he was a police informant. Westerman also became Arillotta’s brother-in-law when he married his sister, 30 years his junior, enraging her family. Massachusetts State Police Capt. Peter Higgins on Wednesday testified that Westerman first approached him on the investigator's regular jogging route in 1996, while Westerman had a pending case with Freddy Geas, hoping to trade information for a shorter sentence.
Westerman violated his cooperation agreement with the state police by getting caught passing bad checks the following year; he went back to prison for half a decade, Higgins testified. When he was released in 2003, he approached Higgins again and began informing on the Geases and other organized crime figures in Greater Springfield.
Then, he disappeared.
Boston FBI agent April Haddock told jurors on Wednesday that Arillotta led them to the Agawam property last April after he decided to turn informant. He pointed out where Westerman had collapsed, and the general area at the mouth of the woods where they dragged him to an eight-foot deep hole Arillotta said he and the Geases had carved out months before for another intended victim.
"Agents escorted him to the location. He explained what took place and walked us around the location and explained to us where the probable burial site was," Haddock testified, adding that a team of 32 evidence recovery experts from the FBI probed a slightly depressed area of the ground about 150 feet away from the house, uncovering an empty cigarette pack, shell casings and Westerman's remains, including his sneakers and the mask and stun gun.
Photos in evidence from the dig showed Westerman's skeleton was curled up in a sort of fetal position when they unearthed his bones.
Meanwhile, the dig at the Agawam property was prompting a flurry of nervous calls between Ty Geas, who had not yet been arrested in the case, and Freddy Geas, who was charged with the Bruno murder but not in connection with the Westerman matter, and was behind bars without bail pending trial.
The two incredulously and cryptically wondered if Arillotta had indeed flipped, according to the recorded calls in early April. And, the dialogue became more pointed when the two discussed media reports that investigators were digging in Agawam.
“As it looks now, my days are short here,” Ty Geas is heard telling his brother on April 10, 2010, with Freddy Geas later asking: “You see that broken English guy again?” apparently referring to Fusco, who speaks English with a heavy Italian accent.
Freddy Geas added little more to the conversation, other than “Awwww, [expletive].”



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