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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adolfo Bruno shooter Frankie Roche resumes testimony in murder trial

Frankie Roche mug 2007.jpg
Frankie Roche, the admitted shooter in the 2003 contract hit on Springfield organized crime boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, offered jurors in federal court more hours of dispassionate testimony about a string of beatings, attempted killings and a murder he said he carried out almost robotically.
On trial is Emilio Fusco, a Longmeadow man accused in the plot against Bruno prosecutors say included gangsters from Greater Springfield to the highest ranks of the Genovese crime family in New York. Fusco also is charged with the 2003 murder of police informant and street thug Gary D. Westerman, plus a string of extortions, narcotics deals and illegal gambling schemes. Fusco, 43, a so-called made member of the Genovese family, has denied all charges.
Roche began testifying in U.S. District Court on Tuesday - his second time on the witness stand in a murder trial as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.He described to jurors that he was drawn into the "Springfield Crew" of the Genovese family via a prison buddy, Fotios "Freddy" Geas, a henchman for then-rising mob star Anthony J. Arillotta.
Arillotta, who also turned government witness after being charged in connection with the Bruno murder in 2010, testified early that Geas referred to Roche as his "crash dummy," and ended up being his pick for a hitman once the plan to murder Bruno gained speed with a "green light" from the New York bosses.
Roche testified on Tuesday that he was promised $10,000 to ambush Bruno with a .45-caliber pistol in the parking lot of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society social club in downtown Springfield, Mass. He said he emerged from behind a vending machine as Bruno approached his car after his regular Sunday night card game on Nov. 23, 2003 and called out "Hey Al ... You looking for me?" before pumping the crime boss full of bullets.
"Did you have a problem with taking $10,000 to kill a human being?" defense lawyer Richard B. Lind asked Roche during two hours of cross-examination.
"Absolutely not," Roche responded.
"You didn't have to think twice about it?" Lind asked.
"Nope," Roche said, later adding: "It's the kinda guy I was."
"Oh, you're reformed now?" Lind asked skeptically.
"I'm better now," Roche answered.
Roche also testified that after he was arrested and charged with Bruno's murder in state court in Massachusetts in 2005, he continued to communicate with Geas while the two were being held in separate prisons by passing hand-written notes through Springfield criminal defense lawyer Daniel D. Kelly. The government also offered into evidence a hand-written note drafted by Kelly to Roche, that read, in part: "I am working on other witnesses for you."
Kelly, a former Springfield City Councilor, has not been charged in the case.
Although Roche testified about his onetime distaste for "rats," he conceded he now is one himself and hopes to get out of prison as soon as possible in exchange for his testimony.
"You'd like to be out on the streets tomorrow if you could, isn't that right?" Lind asked.
"Absolutely," Roche answered.
Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday afternoon. East Longmeadow, Mass. gangster Felix Tranghese, who also entered the Witness Protection Program after he was charged in connection with the Bruno murder, is expected to be one of the next few witnesses to take the stand.



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