Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Judge holds Coppola on $1M bond, orders DNA test

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.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.