Judge Paul W. Armstrong of the Superior Court in Somerville NJ yesterday set bail for alleged mob assassin Michael Coppola (right) at $1 million and ordered DNA tests that could link Coppola to the 1977 murder of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere, according to a story by Chad Hemenway of the Asbury Park Press.
Coppola was apprehended last week after more than a decade on the run. He disappeared after hearing he was ordered to provide DNA samples in the Lardiere murder investigation back in 1996.
Coppola's attorney Thomas Cammarata entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client. Cammarata took issue with prosecutors' description of Coppola as a fugitive from justice. The attorney noted that Coppola was never actually served with the order to provide the DNA samples.
New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Robert B. Leaman argued for $20 million bail. Leaman charged that Coppola had "unlimited access to funds" during the past 11 years while he was apparently not employed. Leaman charged that Coppola was part of the Genovese Crime Family.
Lardiere was shot to death on April 10, 1977, as he began a 26-hour furlough from a Clinton lockup. He was held in Clinton for five years following a refusal to testify before a government agency probing underworld influence in the garbage hauling industry.
Related MobNews post:
- NJ man arrested for 1977 mob hit 03-13-07