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Sunday, May 7, 2023

Judge declines early release for Lucchese Soldier convicted of shooting sister of informant

Front page from March 11, 1992. Showing Patricia Capozzalo and her car after mob shooting.

A Lucchese crime family mobster used a lyric from Bob Dylan’s classic “Blowin’ in the Wind” to argue he should get early release for trying to kill the innocent sister of a mob snitch — but he didn’t get the answer he wanted from a federal judge.

Michael “Baldy Mike” Spinelli, 69, will have to wait until 2026 before he gets out of federal prison for the brutal 1992 attempted murder, after Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie called his request for compassionate release a “nonnegotiable no.”

Spinelli contended that his host of health problems made him eligible for compassionate release and that he’s a fully rehabilitated man who practices yoga and teaches it to his fellow inmates.

He quoted the Nobel Prize-winning rock icon in his January filing to the judge, adding a notation in case the jurist didn’t recognize the lyric.

“I would further submit to the court for consideration, ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? ... The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.’ See Robert Zimmerman, a/k/a Bob Dylan (circa 1962).”

Spinelli already caught a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Dearie trimmed two years off his 295-month sentence and let him spend about four months under house arrest at his sister’s home as the virus spread through the prison system.

He returned to the can in August 2020, and this past January, he asked Dearie to spring him for good under the First Step Act — a criminal justice reform bill that gives judges more sentencing discretion that got bipartisan support in Congress and was signed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018.

Dearie refused his request on Monday, citing the horrendous nature of his crime.

“The passage of time, Mr. Spinelli’s apparently genuine conversion, and his unfortunately declining health do not and will not outweigh the trauma suffered by Mr. Spinelli’s victim and the callous and unprecedented nature of his criminal act, which he carried out to advance his standing as a committed disciple of organized crime,” Dearie wrote.

Spinelli took orders from Luchese soldier Peter Chiodo, who ran his own crew. But in 1990, Chiodo was arrested by the feds and released on bail. That he was put back on the streets led Chiodo’s fellow mobsters to think he turned snitch.

Luchese boss Vittorio “Vic” Amuso ordered Chiodo whacked, and the mob took its shot on May 18, 1991, ambushing him at a Staten Island gas station, the feds charged.

The 6-foot-5, 435-pound Chiodo was shot 13 times but survived, and his brush with death turned his fellow mobsters’ suspicion into reality, leading him to become a government cooperator.

Ignoring Mafia code not to target relatives, Amuso turned his sights on Chiodo’s sister Patricia Capozzalo, the mother of three young children, who had no role in organized crime.

The crime family tapped Spinelli to plan the hit. Spinelli hoped the bloodshed would get him closer to becoming a made man.

He assembled a team and stalked Capozzalo for weeks, deciding that their best chance to kill her was after she dropped her children off at school in the morning, the feds said.

He test-fired the silenced gun in his own apartment, and on the morning of March 10, 1992, he drove the triggerman to Capozzalo’s Gravesend, Brooklyn, home.

The gunman, Dino Basciano, walked up to her 1985 Oldsmobile and started blasting, hitting her in the neck, behind the ear, and grazing her in the back. He missed several more shots.

After Spinelli and Basciano fled, Capozzalo managed to get back into her house and call for help. Basciano would ultimately testify against Spinelli.

Capozzalo needed surgery to remove a bullet from her neck, and was placed into witness protection with her family. She would describe her life as “completely devastated,” and told officials that “although she had not physically died, she felt that the attempt on her life had killed her emotionally and psychologically,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Roddin wrote in a March 23 letter to Dearie.

Spinelli, for his part, was more concerned about his status in the mob. Seven months later, after his arrest on other racketeering charges, he complained to another Luchese member that he should be promoted for trying to kill Capozzalo. And sure enough, in January 1993, he became a made man, Roddin wrote.

At Spinelli’s sentencing, Dearie called the attempted hit “an unthinkable act of cowardice,” and in 2007, when he rejected a motion to overturn the verdict, Dearie opined, “this case marks an extraordinary low point in the violent history of organized crime.”

Spinelli’s lawyer, Allegra Glashausser of the Federal Defenders, declined to comment.



  1. 2026 and then some whiney asshol judge has no say

    1. The judge is the "whiny asshol" here? This man tried to murder an innocent mother of 3 that had absolutely nothing to do with organized crime. He's lucky he even gets to be released in 2026 cause in truth he deserves a lethal injection not a release date.

    2. Jesus that’s pretty embarrassing comment smh trying to kill a mom real gangsters huh

  2. It’s wild the trigger man can testify against the driver and the driver does the longer term. That’s fucked up to me