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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Lucchese hitman linked to 11 murders set to be released after serving 35 years


A “stone cold” Mafia hitman tied to at least 11 bodies, some of them dismembered, will be sprung from federal prison next year after serving just 35 years of a life sentence — outraging the families of his victims.

Former Gambino crime family associate and Lucchese family made man Anthony Senter, 68, behind bars in Canaan, PA, was recently given the green light for release by the U.S. Parole Commission.

“The Commission determined that he had substantially observed the rules of the institution and that his release in June 2024 would not jeopardize the public welfare,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman told The Post.

But that’s a far cry from how federal authorities once viewed Senter, who was sentenced to life plus 20 years in 1989 after being convicted for participating in at least 11 murders.

Senter, along with six other mobsters, was also hit with racketeering charges, including narcotics trafficking, auto theft, loan sharking and extortion.

Senter was a member of a mob crew working under Roy DeMeo, a Gambino made man.

The crew operated out of the Gemini Lounge at 4021 Flatlands Ave. in Flatlands, Brooklyn, where many of their murders were committed during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Federal and city authorities traced at least 75 deaths and disappearances to DeMeo’s crew — and independent researchers put their brutal toll at more than 200.

Rudy Giuliani, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who initially brought the case against Senter and 20 other Gambino family members and associates — including then-godfather “Big Paul” Castellano — was astonished by the parole decision.

Senter “should die in jail,” Giuliani declared. “He displayed, without exaggeration, wanton disregard for human life.

“He was a stone-cold killer who liked to kill,” the former prosecutor said. “And I believe he liked to participate in some ways in the dismemberment of the bodies that took place afterwards.”

The “Gemini Method

The Canarsie-born Senter was the son of Italian immigrants who had anglicized their original family name of Sente.

He and another crew member, longtime pal Joseph Testa, spent so much time in their boss DeMeo’s gin-mill hangout that they became known as the Gemini Twins.

“Gemini Lounge everybody knew was a house of horrors, don’t go in there, you might not come out,” recalled Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, who grew up playing stickball with Senter in Canarsie.

The future killer was widely known around the neighborhood as a hothead.

“He truly could flip the script — he could be having a conversation with you, and then all of a sudden one little thing would set him off,” Sliwa said. “Oftentimes Joey Testa would have to calm him down.”

DeMeo, who worked as a butcher’s apprentice before launching his criminal career, used his early training to devise a grisly murder procedure — later dubbed “the Gemini Method” — that Senter and the others gleefully followed.

Former gang member Dominick Mantigilio testified in Senter’s trial that those targeted for death would first be lured to an apartment-turned-abbatoir next to the Gemini Lounge that had been rented by mobster Joseph “Dracula” Guglielmo.

“When the [victim] would walk in, somebody would shoot him in the head with a silencer,” Mantigilio told the court. “Somebody would wrap a towel around to stop the blood and somebody would stab him in the heart to stop the blood from pumping.”

Crew members — often clad only in their underwear, to avoid staining their clothes — would drag the corpse into the shower and let it bleed out, like a hog in a slaughterhouse.

Then they would “pull him out, put him on a pool liner in the living room, take him apart, and package him,” Mantigilio said matter-of-factly.

The bloodless body parts were placed in cardboard boxes and taken to Brooklyn’s Fountain Avenue landfill — now Shirley Chisholm State Park in Canarsie — where they were buried under mounds of trash and lost forever.

Senter and his gang “engaged in wholesale murder,” U.S. Assistant Attorney Walter Mack said during their 17-month trial in 1988 and 1989 — committing “the most violent” crimes ever tried in a New York federal court, the prosecutor claimed.

Golden Years

The DeMeo crew’s heyday, from 1975 to 1983, spanned the final decade of the New York Mafia’s “golden years,” said historian Selwyn Raab.

“The New York families ran the country, ran the Mafia in the U.S.,” said Raab, author of the definitive mob chronicle “Five Families.”

“The Gambinos and the Genovese were the two largest and most powerful families,” Raab explained. The Gambino family, headed by Castellano, had about 100 official members, or “made men,” like DeMeo.

But “each made man had probably 10 people who worked for him,” Raab said — “associates” like Senter and Testa.

The sprawling structure made it possible for Castellano to maintain plausible deniability of the blood-drenched activities of the family’s associates, even while scoring $20,000 a week in cash from the lucrative luxury car-theft ring run by DeMeo and crew.

In January 1983, shortly after DeMeo was served with a grand-jury subpoena to testify in a federal racketeering case, his bullet-riddled body was found frozen in the trunk of his own Cadillac — rubbed out, investigators later learned, by members of his own crew.

DeMeo’s death did not halt the case.

In March 1984, Giuliani indicted Castellano, along with Senter and others, on a raft of racketeering charges, including drug trafficking, extortion and murder.

Eighteen months later, as the trial dragged on, Castellano himself was slain in a notorious public hit on the sidewalk outside Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan, ordered by the man who would succeed him as Gambino family boss: John Gotti Jr.

Senter, then 30, emulated the style of the rising “Dapper Don” during his trial.

The “devilishly handsome” defendant, a Post fashion reporter wrote at the time, took care to display his “cool elegance” in Giorgio Armani suits and ties and “impeccable white shirts” whenever he appeared in court.

“You want to look good,” Senter smirked.

Scores of Victims

Most of the DeMeo crew’s scores of confirmed and suspected victims were rival gangsters, but not all.

Two of the murders that sent Senter to prison were those of Charles Mongitore and Daniel Scutaro, workers at a Brooklyn auto body shop.

Mongitore, 30, was pressing charges after being stabbed by the son of a Gambino family soldier in a personal dispute. On June 5, 1980, the DeMeo crew attacked Mongitore at his workplace, shooting him 14 times at close range and slitting his throat.

Soon after, Scutaro, 25, arrived at the body shop to start his workday — only to find the gangsters cleaning up the scene of the crime.

He too was gunned down.

Both victims were later discovered in the trunk of a car, Newsday reported.

In 1977, Senter and Testa shot and killed Cherie Golden after her boyfriend became a federal informant.

While Golden and Testa were chatting outside the lounge, Senter shot the woman twice in the back of the head, and once again in the face as her body whiplashed on the way to the ground, according to “Murder Machine,” a 1993 book about the DeMeo crew by Gene Mustaine and Jerry Capeci.

Jerome Hofaker was just 23 when he was killed outside his girlfriend’s home in 1977 by Testa and Senter after getting into a fight with one of Testa’s brothers, Mustaine and Capeci wrote.

Senter was never charged in Golden’s or Hofaker’s murders.

“We knew it was mob related,” cousin Denise Hofaker, 69, told The Post. “What I remember is being at the funeral and my aunt turning to me with fear in her eyes and saying, ‘Oh my God, what are we doing here?’ She was nervous that somebody would come after us.”

Hofaker was appalled by news of Senter’s impending release.

“That would be horrible,” she said. “From what I understood he had gotten a life sentence. He is 68. That’s not a life. He has an awful lot of life to live, and that’s not right.”



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