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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mob boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano dodges death penalty, sentenced to life in prison


Undated surveillance photo of Vincent Basciano, the ex-Bonanno family boss convicted of murder.
Undated surveillance photo of Vincent Basciano, the ex-Bonanno family boss convicted of murder.

Murderous mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano will live to preen again.
The former Bronx hair salon owner was spared the death penalty Wednesday by a federal jury that  found his crimes less heinous than those of turncoat witness Joseph Massino - killer of a dozen people.
"There are other members of organized crime that have admitted to an equal or greater number of crimes that are not facing the death penalty," read a note from 10 of the jurors who gave Basciano life in prison.
The 51-year-old was outwardly confident when the jury began its deliberations at 3:50 p.m., blowing a kiss to his wife and sons inside Brooklyn Federal Court.
"Don't worry about me," the cocky gangster crowed. "I feel good, ya hear?"
When the verdict was read less than two hours later, a relieved Basciano poured a glass of water. He nodded and smiled at the dozen anonymous people who saved his life as they exited the jury box.
His bid to thank them personally was quickly rejected by Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
"There's no chance in the world," the judge declared.
The one-time Bonanno family boss was convicted last month of capital murder for ordering the November 2004 execution of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.
The testimony of his Bonanno predecessor, mob boss turned mob rat Massino, and five other cooperating witnesses crushed Basciano's hopes of acquittal for racketeering, murder and conspiracy.
"Tell Joe Massino he's a b--- j--," said Basciano's son Stephen, delivering a hard to swallow insult outside the courthouse.
Massino became the highest-ranking Mafiosi to ever flip when he wore a wire to meetings with Basciano inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Once sentenced this summer, Basciano will head to the notorious Cell Block H of the supermaximum security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.
Basciano lived up to his nickname during the trial, keeping his hair meticulously groomed and wearing a suit to court each day.
He was already serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of Bronx junkie Frank Santoro before his conviction for Pizzolo's slaying on a deserted Brooklyn street.
Basciano sanctioned the killing to deliver a "wakeup call" to his crime family, which was beset by defections in its upper echelon.
The jury reached its decision despite Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri's contention that the brutal Basciano deserved a lethal injection.
"Even though his body is in prison, his mind will be in the street with his power and his money," the prosecutor told the jury. "The defendant has earned the ultimate punishment."
The government spent nearly $5 million in taxpayer money for Basciano's court-appointed team of lawyers.
Defense lawyer  Richard Jasper had implored the jurors to let Basciano die "in God's time, not man's."
A federal jury spared Bonanno soldier Thomas (Tommy Karate) Pitera in 1992 after convicting the cold-blooded mob killer of six murders.


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