Thursday, November 1, 2007

Witness's apparent perjury clears DeVecchio

State prosecutors dropped their murder case against retired FBI supervisor Roy Lindley DeVecchio today and began looking into the alleged perjury of witness Linda Schiro (right), according to stories by Scott Shifrel and Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News and Michael Brick of the New York Times.

Schiro, 62, the prosecution's star witness, was a longtime girlfriend of Colombo Crime Family bigshot Gregory Scarpa. She testified that DeVecchio provided information to Scarpa about a fellow gangster who was secretly cooperating in a federal investigation and aided Scarpa in setting up four mob killings. After hearing of Schiro's testimony, reporters Tom Robbins and Jerry Capeci came forward with 10-year-old audiotapes of conversations they had with Schiro to research a book. In those conversations, Schiro reportedly contradicted her sworn testimony in the DeVecchio case.

The reporters had promised Schiro confidentiality. Robbins said he felt he had to come forward after noting the contradictions in her testimony. Robbins described the contradictions in an article for the Oct. 30 Village Voice. In the taped interviews, Schiro did not link DeVecchio (left) with three of the four murders. She said nothing of DeVecchio's alleged involvement in the murder of Mary Bari and expressly excluded him from involvement in the murders of Joseph DeDomenico and Lorenzo Lampasi.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Vecchione asked Justice Gustin Reichbach to dismiss the case against the 67-year-old DeVecchio. Vecchione said the case would not have gone to trial "had we been provided these tapes much earlier in the process."

As Capeci noted in his online Gangland column today, the dismissal of the charges in such a high profile case is a public relations nightmare for Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes (right). There was no announcement related to the case on the prosecutor's website today. Hynes reportedly told the press, "There's no way we would have brought a prosecution if we had that kind of information."

During the investigation for the case, Hynes publicly blasted federal agencies for their slow response to Kings County requests for information. Federal prosecutors had investigated the charges against DeVecchio earlier but decided not to prosecute. Current and former FBI agents came out in support of DeVecchio.

In the 2005 election, Hynes had to defeat primary election challengers from within his own Democratic party in order to run for reelection.

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US Mafia was born in New Orleans

book cover


Deep Water:
Joseph P. Macheca and the
Birth of the American Mafia

Written by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water captures the life and times of Joseph P. Macheca. It finally sets the record straight on the man who was a warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, a pioneer of the Crescent City’s fruit trade, a Confederate privateer and the legendary “godfather” of the first Mafia organization to germinate in American soil.
While answering at last the questions surrounding the 1890 assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy and the subsequent Crescent City lynchings, Deep Water establishes the factual details of Macheca’s life and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans. Published by iUniverse.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related 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.