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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Trial of 3 defendants in murder of Adolfo Bruno enters 3rd week in Manhattan

A third defendant turned prosecution witness is expected to testify today as the federal trial stemming from the 2003 murder of mob boss Adolfo Bruno in Springfield, Mass., enters its third week in a Manhattan courtroom.

Felix Tranghese, of East Longmeadow, is expected to tell jurors further details about how the plot to murder Bruno developed, and of meetings he had with bosses of the Genovese crime family in New York to sanction the killing.

Tranghese, like two others before him, has pleaded guilty in the murder and is testifying against three men remaining on trial for the crime – Fotios “Freddy” Geas, of West Springfield, Mass., his brother Ty Geas, of Westfield, Mass., plus reputed onetime acting Genovese boss Arthur “Artie” Nigro, of Bronx, N.Y.

Testifying earlier in U.S. District Court were Frankie A. Roche, formerly of Westfield, Mass., who admitted shooting Bruno repeatedly as the man exited an Italian social club on Nov. 23, 2003, and Anthony J. Arillotta, of Springfield, who discussed his role in the crime.

According to his testimony, Arillotta sought and received permission from Nigro to remove Bruno in a power play and over suspicion that Bruno had given information to law enforcement officials. Arillotta, 42, who entered the Witness Protection Program after his arrest in a sweeping murder and racketeering indictment out of Manhattan in February 2010, in testimony laid the foundation of his violent rise to power after the slaying of Bruno and Arillotta’s brother-in-law, Gary D. Westerman.

Arillotta told jurors of the two murders and an attempted murder he pulled off with the Geases’ help, plus myriad shake-downs of business owners from Springfield to New York, and a secret induction ceremony in the Bronx in 2003 in which Arillotta stripped off his clothes and swore an oath to the Mafia.

“I swore that if I ever talked to law enforcement I would burn like the piece of paper,” Arillotta said, of a piece of paper dotted with his own blood that Nigro set on fire during the ceremony.

On cross-examination last week, defense lawyers attempted to discredit Arillotta before jurors by forcing him to admit on the stand that he hid $80,000 from his wife and children, who had to apply for welfare benefits after his arrest, and that he agreed to testify for the prosecution to win a lighter sentence.

Following Arillotta on the stand was Roche, who testified that he stalked Bruno in Springfield’s South End and hid behind a vending machine while waiting for the crime boss to leave the social club.

“I said, ‘Hey Al!’ He said, ‘What’s up, buddy?’ I said, ‘I heard you were looking for me,’” Roche recounted, referring to a beef over a bar brawl between the two which had been percolating for days. “Then I shot him once in the chest. Then as he was falling against the car, I shot him three or four more times. Then I stood over him and shot him once more.”

The Geases and Arillotta helped plot Bruno’s murder with the “green-light” from Nigro, according to Roche and Arillotta.

Also slated to testify this week is Frank Dadabo, a 69-year-old former union official from New York whom Arillotta testified he and Ty Geas shot several times in 2003 in a failed attempt to kill the man at Nigro’s behest.



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