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

Monday, April 23, 2012

The mob boss and the nun

Colombo boss Thomas "Tommy Shot" Gioeli was allegedly part of a botched gangland hit that killed a beloved former nun — and now a Brooklyn jury will learn the unholy details thanks to his
defense team.
Mob turncoat Dino "Big Dino" Calabro claims that a guilt-ridden Gioeli confessed, “I’m going to hell!” after the accidental murder of Veronica Zuraw in 1982.
Federal prosecutors had asked to use Calabro’s allegations in Gioeli’s current racketeering and murder trial. But Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan denied the request because Zuraw wasn’t one of the six slay
ing victims in the indictment against the crime boss.
The judge changed his mind recently after defense attorneys revealed they plan to call a dozen “character” witnesses to attest to Gioeli’s honesty. Now, prosecutors have the green light to grill Gioeli’s pals on the wiseguy’s alleged role in the murder of Zuraw.
Last week, prosecutors also provided the judge with additional evidence containing accusations that Gioeli and Joseph "Junior Lollipops" Carna killed Zuraw while carrying out a double hit against porn king Joseph Peraino and his son Joseph Jr. on a Gravesend, Brooklyn, street.
Zuraw was fatally struck by an errant shotgun blast inside her home. The elder Peraino was left paralyzed from the ambush, and his son was killed.
The Brazilian-born Zuraw had been known as Sister Mary Adelaide before she left the Pallottine order in the late 1960s, when many Catholic communities experienced an exodus following the Second Vatican Council, according to Prof. Emillie Cozzi, who knew her at the time.
As a nun, she studied at Fordham University and taught in diocesan schools.
“She was a beloved teacher. Children flocked to her,” Cozzi told the Daily News.
Zuraw later received a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College, married accountant George Zuraw and worked with immigrants in the Diocese of Brooklyn at the time of her death.
“She was always motivated to help people,” Cozzi recalled.
When he took the stand, Calabro, a former Colombo capo, didn’t testify about Zuraw. But he did tell the jury that Gioeli frequently prayed at a Long Island church’s outdoor grotto — and even passed an order there to kill capo William "Wild Bill" Cutolo.
Gioeli has denied any involvement in Zuraw’s murder, blogging from prison that he dared the feds to charge him with Zuraw’s death.
Defense attorneys have refused to discuss Gioeli's involvement with the church. They have also not disclosed whether they will call to the stand a mysterious priest who is close to the crime boss and identifies himself as “Father Peter.”
Prosecutors originally planned to question the character witnesses only about Gioeli’s involvement in several robberies in the 1970s, but the judge ruled those crimes were too long ago. The feds suggested the Peraino-Zuraw double murder, and Cogan agreed.
Defense attorney Adam Perlmutter has asked the judge to reconsider his decision.
After the government rests its case Monday, defense attorneys say, they will call Gioeli’s cousin Thomas McLaughlin, which is another risky gambit.
McLaughlin pleaded guilty to the 1991 murder of Frank Marasa, which, Calabro testified, Gioeli approved.



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