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

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gambino associate convicted of murder in slaying of custodian in Queens

A Gambino crime family associate was found guilty Monday of masterminding the 2009 slaying of a Queens custodian killed defending his father from a gang of thieves.

Francis LaCorte, 29, betrayed little emotion as the Queens Supreme Court jury of eight women and four men convicted him of second-degree murder after barely three hours of deliberations over two days. A LaCorte relative left the courtroom sobbing.

Gerardo "Jerry" Antoniello, 29, was shot in the back of the head by an unknown assailant dispatched by LaCorte during the botched robbery on Sept. 9, 2009.

The victim’s father, Bartolomeo, was pistol-whipped for the cash he'd just brought home from his Ozone Park pizzeria, Romeo's.

"He's going to be put away for a very long time so he won't be able to kill anybody's sons, brothers or uncles," said Antoniello's brother Carmine, an NYPD sergeant. "My brother's teeth were scattered on the front steps of my parents’ home. The beating he endured at the hands of savages. For nothing."

LaCorte faces a term of life in prison when he's sentenced before Justice Richard Buchter on April 16.

He was also found guilty of orchestrating two other home invasions during the summer and fall of 2009 in Ozone Park, where he owned two cell phone stores.

Jurors said text messages shared between LaCorte and a team of ex-cons recruited for the job were damning evidence of his guilt.

Several added that they were not aware LaCorte was selling drugs stolen by his recruits until his lawyer brought it out during testimony.

"We didn't know he was a drug dealer," said one female juror, who declined to give her name. "That was a big mistake."

LaCorte's lawyer, Christopher Renfroe, made a strategic decision to bring out his client's alleged drug dealing in an effort to show that was the subject of the text messages — not Antoniello's killing.

Three members of the robbery team testified for the prosecution in exchange for a promise of getting years shaved off their prison terms.



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