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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Top ranking Gambino gangster gets life in prison for two murders

Gambino mobster sentenced to life in prison
It took more than three decades, but a Gambino mobster finally met his fate in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday ​for the senseless 1981 slayings of two Queens bar owners.

Former Gambino capo Bartolomeo Vernace, 65, was sentenced to life in prison for ​taking part in the murders, sparked by a drink​ ​innocently ​​spilled onto his mobster crony’s girlfriend.

Prosecutors said Vernace assembled Gambino goons to shoot and kill Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese at the Shamrock Bar on Jamaica Ave. after the cocktail tumbled onto family associate Frank Riccardi’s lady.

Vernace, a veteran gangster who was born in Sicily, managed to beat state murder raps​ f​or the crime ​after key witnesses to the shootings​ ​–​ including John Gotti’s niece, Linda Gotti​ ​– ​​refused to testify.

Bartolomeo Vernace

Free to revel in a few more decades of mob mayhem after the acquittal, Vernace ascended the ranks of the Gambino clan to become a captain before the feds ​ ​hit​ ​him with fresh racketeering raps.

The mobster was found guilty last year in Brooklyn federal court.

After waiting more than three decades for justice, relatives of the slain men filled a courtroom row to see the hunched hoodlum dispatched to prison for the rest of his life.

“Mr. Vernace killed our father and we have missed him every day since that night when we kissed him goodbye,” Godkin’s daughter, Christine Orsini, told the court before the sentence was handed down.

Her voice quavering, the grieving woman recalled how a family friend rang the doorbell to their home in the dead of night to relay the shattering news.

Just a tiny girl at the time, Orsini said she and her sister sneaked to the top of the stairs in their home and overheard the conversation.

“His life was cut short for a spilled drink,” she said. “​​Thirty-three ​​ years and three trials is a long time to wait for justice.”

Vernace is the only man to to have been convicted in connection with the heinous double murder.

Riccardi, who died in 2007, was acquitted in a state trial and another suspect, Ronald Barlin, had his case dismissed in 1981.

Balding and gray, Vernace declined to address the court before his fate was handed down by Judge Sandra Townes.

After being formally told of his mandatory life sentence, Vernace said nothing and walked glumly out of court without turning to a row of relatives in the front row.



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