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

Monday, July 4, 2011

Push to execute mobster Vinny Gorgeous was waste of time says juror

Vinny Gorgeous was found guilty of giving the order to kill mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.
Vinny Gorgeous was found guilty of giving the order to kill mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

One of the jurors who convicted Bonanno boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano of murder called the government's bid for the death penalty "a waste of time."
"It was never going to happen," said the juror, whose name is being withheld by the Daily News.
Basciano was the first mafioso in decades to face capital punishment for a gangland murder - and prosecutors went for it even after a judge asked them to reconsider.
After Basciano was found guilty of giving the order to kill mob associate Randolph Pizzolo, the feds argued he would be extremely dangerous even while jailed.
They contended he was responsible for other uncharged murders and had plotted to whack prosecutor Greg Andres.
The juror said the pro-execution arguments were unpersuasive.
"I think they wanted [Basciano] dead because he threatened one of their guys," the juror said.
"It was kind of like schoolboy stuff where you push me and I push you back. It felt more like chest-thumping from the prosecutors."
The juror noted that two cooperating witnesses - former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino and underboss Salvatore Vitale - committed many more killings than Basciano had and weren't on Death Row.
"If you cooperate, it seems like the government picks and chooses who gets the death penalty based on their importance to them, and not because of the law or the crime," the juror said.
"You got Joe Massino, who's the king of murderers, and Sal Vitale is probably off playing golf somewhere."
A spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch declined to respond to the juror's comments.
Although Lynch's office made a confidential recommendation to the Justice Department on whether to seek the death penalty, the decision was made by the U.S. attorney general.
During the penalty phase of the trial, the jurors were impressed by the defense lawyers' presentation about the oppressive security at Supermax prison in Colorado, where Basciano will serve a life sentence, the juror said.
Two on the anonymous panel who were initially in favor of the death penalty changed their vote after a brief discussion, the juror said.
Basciano looked relieved after the jury came back with life in prison instead of death.
"I thought to myself, 'Do you remember where you're going? Do you remember that concrete slab of a bed?' I think Supermax is worse than the death penalty. I'd commit suicide if you sent me there," the juror said.
The juror said Basciano seemed "likable" at times, but there were also frightening flashes of red-faced anger.
"In the back of my mind, I'm stuck my whole life thinking, 'I wonder if Vinny is sitting in his cement chair?'" the juror said.
"The bottom line is, I didn't put him in Supermax. Vinny made choices to put himself there."


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