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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano found guilty of murder, gangster faces death penalty


Vincent Basciano was released by the U.S. Attorneys Office in New York.
A federal jury convicted former Bonanno crime boss Vincent Basciano of capital murder Monday - only the second time in 30 years that a Mafioso has faced the death penalty for a gangland rubout.
Basciano, 51, must now wait as the jury decides whether he should die by lethal injection for ordering the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo or get life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Basciano is already serving a life sentence for the shotgun murder of Bronx junkie Frank Santoro in 2001.
The flamboyant gangster was buried under the weight of testimony from six cooperating witnesses, including former Bonanno official boss Joseph Massino, the highest-ranking gangster from a New York crime family to sing for the government.
Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorneys Taryn Merkl and Stephen Frank argued to the jury that Basciano's own big mouth proved he was a murderer.
Basciano - who was in jail when Pizzolo was executed Nov. 30, 2004, on a deserted street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn - admitted he gave the order to kill Pizzolo in a jailhouse conversation secretly taped by Massino.
"His own words are on tape telling you the murder was his idea, he selected the hit team and explaining why it had to be done," Frank said in his closing argument.
Prosecutors say Basciano wanted the hit to send a "wake-up call" to the rest of the Bonanno crime family, already reeling from the defections of high-ranking gangsters.
The feds are seeking the death penalty under the murder in aid of racketeering statute. There is no longer a state death penalty charge in New York.
Last fall, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder re-affirmed the government's intent to seek the death penalty against Basciano after Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis had asked him to reconsider the decision.
In 1992, Bonanno soldier Thomas (Tommy Karate) Pitera was convicted of seven murders and faced the death penalty, but the jury opted for life in prison.
Federal prosecutors will likely introduce evidence during the death penalty phase that Basciano plotted to kill Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres and several mob rats who were all part of the earlier Santoro murder case.
 


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