Sunday, June 22, 2008

Italian court upholds Camorra life sentences

An Italian Court last week upheld life sentence penalties imposed on 16 convicted leaders of the Casalesi Camorra clan, according to reports by RTTNews and Malcom Moore of the U.K. Telegraph.

The 16 leaders, including alleged boss Francesco "Sandokan" Schiavone (left) were sentenced to life late in 2005 after the "Spartacus trial" held in Santa Maria Capua Vetere north of Naples. Michele Zagaria and Antonio Iovine, alleged to be leaders of the criminal organization, were among those sentenced to life terms though they remain at large. Ten other defendants were convicted in the trial and sentenced to lesser terms.

The Casalesi clan was primarily involved in toxic waste disposal, extortion and monopolization of the cement market between Naples and Salerno, according to Judge Raffaello Magi. "They control the distribution of essential products. They control elections, and they offer protection and market opportunities to businesses," he said.

Investigators believe the Casalesi clan, based in the town of Casal di Principe, held assets amounting to billions of dollars. The group is believed responsible for numerous murders. During the trial, five people involved in the case were killed. The lives of a judge and two journalists were threatened.

Five hundred witnesses were called in that trial. Twenty former clan members provided evidence against their old underworld colleagues.

Schiavone was apprehended in 1999, as he attempted to escape from police by climbing over a garden wall at his personal villa.

map of Naples region

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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.