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· Mobbed-Up with Jesus
Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations



Mobbed-Up with Jesus

     Apparently communications with the Lord are having a better affect on the mob than with the Catholic Church in Boston. Bean Town has been plagued recently with sex scandals involving several Catholic priests.

     In the meantime, after speaking with Jesus personally, would-be mob informant Robert Luisi, Jr., arrested in June 1999 on drug and racketeering charges, has decided to face trial and withdrew his plea agreement with the government. Luisi, a mob wannabe who was rejected by the New England Mafia, was named capo by Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino in the late 1990s and was allegedly placed "in charge of the crime family’s interests in the Boston area."

     Mob watchers at the Merlino trial, which began last spring, wondered why Luisi was never called to the witness stand. It turned out that Luisi had shaved his head in prison and began walking about with a Bible everywhere he went in the cellblock. He told other prisoners he was writing a book about his life, "From Capo to Christian."

     George Anastasia reported last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer that a source close to the federal prosecutors in Philadelphia stated, "They were afraid he might start quoting from the Bible and telling the jury about his talks with God. He’s been telling people he speaks with Jesus."

     In the absence of his testimony prosecutors had to rely on other witnesses who apparently lacked credibility with the jurors as Merlino was acquitted of the drug counts which were charged in the indictment. However, Merlino was convicted of other crimes and is currently serving a 14-year sentence.

     On December 27, 2001 Luisi "quietly" withdrew his guilty plea and is scheduled to go to trial on April 15 before US District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay.

     On November 6, 1995 Luisi’s father, Robert, Sr., his brother Roman, and his cousin Anthony Sarro were murdered along with another associate in the 99 Restaurant in Charlestown. The massacre was allegedly over a drug turf feud.

Short Takes

Boston – For the past two years Boston defense attorney Tracy A. Miner has been singing the praises of her client, ex-FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr., claiming he has done nothing wrong and that he will be cleared at trial. Now that the scumbag Connolly claims he is unable to pay his legal bills the whiney Ms. Miner is singing another tune and wants to withdraw from the case. Not so, according to US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro. He told the slighted lawyer, "I am not going to push back the trial date so some other lawyer can come in here…You’re it!" To speed the process, which has been dragging along through the court system for over two years, Tauro suggested to Assistant US Attorney John Durham that he trim the case down and drop one of the major conspiracy accounts. In a strange choice of words Tauro stated, "Instead of having a big shotgun blast, you have a rifle shot." Durham replied that if the government dropped some of the counts "they wouldn’t be able to present all of its evidence against Connolly and he’d face less prison time if convicted."

New York (1) – Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is scheduled to take the stand during his sentencing for running an ecstasy drug ring in Arizona with ties to New York City. Gravano is trying to steer a 20-year prison sentence down to 12. Former AmericanMafia.com contributor Al Guart points out that this will determine whether Gravano "leaves prison as a 68-year-old or after his 76th birthday." Guart quoted an unidentified source who stated, "He’s a skilled witness, and he has everything to gain. It’s also fair to say he is concerned about his image and would like to tell his story." What image is this? The image he has before his fellow ex-mobsters of being a rat bastard, or the image he has of being a total idiot after blowing a second chance at life after confessing to his involvement in 19 murders.

New York (2) – Sperm update! A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania judge has ruled that the sperm of Antonino Parlavecchio can be destroyed by the government. In his ruling Judge Malcolm Muir stated, "To permit Mrs. Parlavecchio to recover the illegally obtained seminal fluids would constitute judicial approval of her criminal activities and reward her for her crime." Antonino received an additional six months for his part in the sperm smuggling scheme. Maria was given a year of probation. The childless and 38 year-old Mrs. Parlavecchio will have to wait until her husband is released in 2006 before she thinks of planning a family again. By that time she will be 42. It can be done. Hang in there Maria.

Rochester – As the April 15 trial of Albert M. Ranieri draws near, Federal prosecutors are still trying to link him to an armored car robbery in 1990, which netted $11 million. At the time of the robbery Ranieri was driving the armored car. Although the statute of limitations has run out for indicting him on that crime, prosecutors can still pursue it as a criminal act committed under the RICO law. Ranieri, who is in jail awaiting trial on conspiracy to distribute cocaine, was asked to give hair samples and fingerprints. His lawyer, Michael Tallon, claims his client already gave this to the FBI when he was being investigated for the robbery ten years ago. Tallon fears the FBI has lost not only that information but also other information that he is entitled to before trial begins next month.

This Week in Mob History

This week we will cover two weeks since I was off.

March 4, 1944 – Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, Louis Capone and Emmanuel "Mendy" Weiss were executed in the death chamber at Sing Sing prison for the murder of Joe Rosen. Buchalter is the only mob boss ever to be executed. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_11-1-99.html

March 4, 1968 – Peter Crociata, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the underboss to Gaspare DiGregorio during the "Banana War." He was shot six times as he was parking his automobile near his Brooklyn home, but survived.

March 5, 1996 – Ilario "Larry" Zannino was a longtime member of the New England Mafia Family operating out of Boston. He eventually reached the rank of underboss of the family. Plagued by legal problems in the late 1980s Zannino feigned health problems to keep himself out of court and prison. Zannino died at the age of 75 at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.

March 7, 1926 – Anthony Finalli was shotgunned to death in Chicago during the purge of the "House of Genna." He had worked as a collector for Orazio "the Scourge" Tropea for the defense fund of Albert Anselmi and John Scalice.

March 8, 1921 – Paul Labriola and Harry Raimondi, although killed in separate shootings, were murdered by the same gang of killers during the "Bloody 19th Ward War" in Chicago. Led by Angelo Genna, the murder crew put nine bullets in Labriola while he was walking to work in the morning. In the afternoon Raimondi was murdered by the same crew in his cigar store. Both men were precinct captains who supported Alderman John Powers against Anthony D’Andrea. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_9-25-00.html

March 8, 1952 – Arnold Schuster was an innocent man murdered on the orders of Albert Anastasia because Anastasia had seen on the news that Schuster had spotted bank robber Willie Sutton on the street and had notified police. The "Mad Hatter," who despised rats, covered his ass by having Schuster’s killer, Frederick Tenuto, murdered. Tenuto’s body has never been found. This information did not become public until Joseph Valachi became a government witness in 1963.

March 8, 1968 – Sam Perrone was a Bonanno Family loyalist who was believed murdered during the "Banana War" in revenge for the attempted killing of Peter Crociata just days earlier.

March 11, 1960 – S. Joseph "Sandy" Naples and Mary Ann Vrancich were cut down on the porch of the Vrancich home. Naples was a major influence in the gambling operations in the Mahoning Valley and had a long and colorful career in Youngstown. His young girl friend was an innocent victim.

March 11, 1989 – Joseph Ferriola served as the acting boss of the Chicago Outfit for a period of three years following the imprisonment of Joey Aiuppa. An unpopular leader, Ferriola was suffering from cancer and heart problems when he took over. He died at the age of 61 from heart problems in a Houston hospital.

March 12, 1909 – Joseph Petrosino was a revered New York City police officer who fought triumphantly against the Black Hand in that city and helped establish the "Italian Squad" to work with the large Italian population that was being preyed upon by the underworld. While on a mission to Palermo, Sicily to gain knowledge about suspected Black Handers and establish a rapport with his Sicilian counterparts Petrosino was murdered in the street. His killer was believed to be Don Vito Cascio, a Sicilian Mafia chieftain.

March 12, 1983 – Guiseppe N. "Nick" Civella was a longtime leader of the Kansas City Mafia family. His leadership began in 1952 after the death of Tony Gizzo. In November 1981, a federal indictment was issued charging Civella and ten others with a variety of offenses involving skimming and hidden ownership interests in the Tropicana. The FBI case was called Strawman I. Before the case could go to trial, Civella was severed from the others due to his rapidly deteriorating health. With dozens of court motions filed by his lawyers, Civella fought to stay out of prison; to transfer within the prison system; and to get out of prison early. Civella was paroled from the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri and returned to his family just days before he died. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_1-31-00.html

March 13, 1993 – Pasquale "Pat" Marcy was described as a political power broker in Chicago notorious First Ward and as the Outfit’s connection to City Hall. Marcy was credited with case fixing and other crimes. Shortly after he went to trial on Federal racketeering charges he suffered a minor heart attack. While recovering he died in his sleep at home from heart complications at the age of 79.

March 15, 1981 – Philip C. "Chicken Man" Testa succeeded Angelo Bruno as leader of the Philadelphia mob. His reign was short lived as he was killed by a bomb on the front porch of his home when he returned at 3:00 in the morning. Rocco Marinucci would be killed for allegedly setting off the bomb.

March 15, 1982 – Rocco Marinucci set off the bomb that killed Phil Testa. Exactly one year to the day later, according to George Anastasia, Testa’s son Salvie got revenge. Marinucci was found shot numerous times in the head and chest. His mouth was stuffed with three large unexploded firecrackers.

March 16, 1932 – Gerard Vernotico and Antonio Lonzo were found dead together on a building rooftop. According to Joseph Valachi, Vernotico was ordered killed by Vito Genovese because Don Vitone coveted his wife. Lonzo was murdered just because he happened to be there. Twelve days after the double murder Genovese married Anna Petillo Vernotico. She would one day testify against him at trial.

March 16, 1971 – Thomas E. Dewey was one of America’s most successful and celebrated crime fighters. Appointed Special Prosecutor by the governor of New York, Dewey went to work putting away Waxey Gordon, Lucky Luciano, James Hines and Lepke Buchalter. His efforts chased Vito Genovese out of the country and led to the murder of Dutch Schultz. Dewey ran successfully for governor of New York and unsuccessfully for president in 1948 losing to incumbent Harry Truman. He died of natural causes.

March 17, 1987 – Santo Trafficante, Jr. was the longtime leader of the Tampa Mafia Family succeeding his father upon his death in 1954. Trafficante was involved heavily in gambling casinos in Cuba until the island nation was taken over by Fidel Castro. According to his longtime lawyer, Frank Ragano, Trafficante gave him a death bed confession claiming he was involved in the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Trafficante died at the age of 72 at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, after failing to survive a bypass operation.

March 17, 1999 – Gerlando Sciascia was described by Jerry Capeci as a Sicilian-born Bonanno Family capo "who made his bones" by bringing heroin into Gambino Family members Gene Gotti and John Carneglia. Sciascia was shot five times in the head and chest and his body dumped on Boiler Avenue in the Bronx.

Trials and Tribulations

AmericanMafia.com attempts to keep its audience advised of ongoing legal matters in the world of organized crime. New entries and addition to existing information will appear in RED.

Due to space constraints, the complete "Trials and Tribulations" listing will only be shown on the first Monday of each month. Weekly we will show the ones that are due to occur in the next 30 days and any new additions.


March 11, 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr., alleged mob boss of legendary Cicero, Illinois, goes on trial for attempting to bribe a high-ranking federal official to obtain a pardon or clemency for former Chicago Outfit boss Rocco Infelice in 1998. This trial was originally scheduled for January. AM.com would like to thank Chicago Tribune reporter Matt O’Connor for the update.

April 1, 2002 – Boston – Retired state trooper Richard J. Schneiderman goes on trial on charges that he hampered the FBI’s search for James "Whitey" Bulger by letting Bulger family members know that the FBI had requested pen registers on their telephones. The trial was originally scheduled for January 28. AmericanMafia.com would like to thank Boston Herald reporter J. M. Lawrence for the update. AM.com, which uses a lot of Lawrence’s articles, was surprised to find out J. M. is a woman. Lawrence also tells us that Judge Edward F. Harrington, who was called Washington DC to testify last week, has recused himself from the case.

April 15, 2002 – Providence – Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. and four co-defendants go on trial in what the FBI has dubbed Operation Plunder Dome.

April 15, 2002 – Boston – The racketeering trial of Robert Luisi, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. Luisi at one time had a plea agreement which called for him to testify against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino last year. On December 27, 2001 Luisi withdrew the plea.

April 15, 2002 – Rochester, NY – Albert M Ranieri goes on trial for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Since his arrest on December 29, 2000, another defendant, prominent defense attorney Anthony Leonardo, Jr., has pled guilty and implicated Ranieri in the May 2000 murder of his former business partner Anthony Vaccaro. Authorities also suspect Ranieri of a 1990 armor car heist of $11 million.

May 6, 2002 – Boston – The long awaited trial of former FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro.

May 20, 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr. and Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese go to trial for looting the city coffers of millions of dollars.

June 2002 – Las Vegas – The Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled arguments on the appeals of Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish the convicted murderers of Ted Binion. Alan Dershowitz will argue Murphy’s case.

July 29, 2002 – Cleveland – Richard E. Detore goes to trial on one count of conspiring to violate a federal bribery statute involving United States Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr.


March 22, 2002 – Trenton – Joseph V. Lo Re and four others will be sentenced for their December 17 conviction for an embezzlement conspiracy involving a Bayonne, New Jersey waterfront union.

March 25/26, 2002 – New York – Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is scheduled to speak at his sentencing for his conviction in running an ecstasy ring in Arizona, which had ties to New York.

March 27, 2002 – New York – Joseph "Joey Flowers" Tangorra will be sentenced after a plea agreement was reached on December 21. Tangorra admitted to wounding a man in 1992 over an unpaid debt and dealing in cocaine for 15 years.

April 29, 2002 – Chicago – Originally scheduled for January 31, the sentencing of the former chief of Chicago detectives William Hanhardt was delayed to allow prosecutors additional time to prepare their pre-sentence report. Hanhardt pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and interstate theft for operating a nationwide jewelry theft ring that involved members of organized crime. Hanhardt, 72 years old, has been held since an unsuccessful suicide attempt this past October.

May 17, 2002 – New York – Colombo Family underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss will be sentenced for his February 6 conviction on extortion charges.

June 13, 2002 – New York – Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico will be sentenced after pleading guilty to extortion, loansharking and money laundering. The son of jailed-for-life mobster Carmine "the Snake" Persico was the alleged "acting boss of the Colombo


Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com


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