Feature Articles

December 2005

Partners In Crime: The Mafia Cops

By J. R. de Szigethy and Lou Eppolito, Jr.

Part Eleven: Christmas for the Mafia Cops

This may be the last Christmas accused 'Mafia Cops' Stephen Caracappa and Lou Eppolito Sr. celebrate as free men. In a recent decision, Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that, despite concerns over the racketeering charges in the current indictment against the two former police officers, the current case will in fact go to trial, now set for February of 2006. Caracappa will spend Christmas at his mother's house on Staten Island, while Eppolito will celebrate the Holiday at the Long Island home of a relative. Both men are under House Arrest as a condition of their Bail agreement. Likely visitors, which must be approved by the Court, include Eppolito's second wife Fran, and daughters Andrea and Deanna.

Eppolito's son Anthony, arrested with his father last March on drug trafficking charges, is not likely to be a visitor. A search of the inmate locator function of the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons reveals Eppolito Sr.'s name, whereas Anthony Eppolito is not listed. This could be an indication that young Eppolito has 'flipped' against his father and will testify against him at his drug trafficking trial. If true, Anthony Eppolito will spend a lonely Christmas this year as a member of the Witness Protection Program.

In Court proceedings, Eppolito Sr.'s criminal lawyer, Bruce Cutler, has made statements indicating he intends to blame young Anthony for the drug trafficking charges facing his client. How such a strategy will go over with a jury remains to be seen.

Christmas, 2005 is also the anniversary of the murder of Brooklyn resident Nicholas Guido, who was gunned down on that day in 1986 by hired gunmen for Luchese Mafia Family Underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. Mafia cops Caracappa and Eppolito are accused of kidnapping and delivering to Casso Staten Island resident James Hydell, one of the known gunmen who participated in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Casso in 1986. The sadistic Casso then tortured Hydell in order to obtain the names of the others involved in the attempted hit.

One of the names Hydell gave up was that of one �Nicholas Guido.� The Mafia cops are accused of utilizing NYPD computers in order to obtain the address of the �Nicholas Guido� in question. However, the Mafia cops were as sloppy as they were greedy, and supplied to Casso the name of the wrong �Nicholas Guido,� Federal Prosecutors allege. The young man targeted by the Mafia cops and Gaspipe was an innocent Brooklyn resident who worked as a telephone installer. Young Nicholas had struggled throughout his life with a mild case of mental retardation. On Christmas Day, 1986, 26-year-old Nicholas Guido stepped out of his modest Brooklyn home to show his Uncle his pride and joy - a new automobile that was his Christmas present.

Suddenly, an armed gunman approached Guido and began blasting bullets through the car�s windshield. Instinctively, Guido saved his Uncle�s life by pushing him down onto the floorboard and throwing his body over him.

Guido�s mother would later tell the Media that the family never again put up a Christmas tree. For years, the family suffered the suspicion of their neighbors, as well as members of law enforcement, that young Nicholas had been involved with organized crime, thus the reason behind his murder. This was particularly hard on the family given that one of Guido�s uncle was a New York City Police Officer who had dedicated his life to fighting criminals.

Vindication for the Guido family came a decade ago, when Gaspipe Casso was arrested and �flipped,� hoping to get a �get-out-of-jail-free card.� Casso claimed he hired the Mafia cops to kidnap James Hydell and discover the address of Nicholas Guido, among other crimes. Gaspipe admitted to the Feds that he had murdered the wrong man in a case of mistaken identity.

Unfortunately, Anthony Casso made allegations that the Feds in Brooklyn did not want to hear, most notably that Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, their prize witness against John Gotti, was involved in drug dealing. Casso was judged to be a liar and removed from the Witness Protection Program. Many of the allegations Casso made have now been proven to be true, including his allegations regarding Gravano, who set his own son and daughter up in a drug trafficking scheme after his release from the Witness Protection Program.

Thus, while Christmas 2005 will be another sad anniversary for the family of Nicholas Guido as to his tragic murder, this Holiday will also be the first since Guido�s death in which the prospect of bringing to Justice those responsible for his murder is now a possibility.

To be continued

Related Features:

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Ten: The Media Wars

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Nine: The Wrong Man

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Eight: Yet Another Murder, Another Warning

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Seven: The NYPD's 'Other' Mafia Cop: Steve Gardell

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Six: Another Murder, Another Warning

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Five: A Troubled Prosecution

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Four: Judge Grants Bail

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Three: The Emergence of 'Crystal Meth'

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Two: The Cop Who Loved Snakes

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part One: Mafia Cops Indicted

J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at:

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