Tuesday, February 17, 2009

D'Amico, Watts charged with 1989 murder

John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, reputed acting boss of the Gambino Crime Family, and alleged Gambino associate Joseph "Joe the German" Watts have been indicted for participating in the 1989 killing of real estate developer Fred Weiss, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Weiss was shot to death Sept. 11, 1989, as he climbed into his car in front of his Staten Island home. At the time, Weiss was facing the prospect of 70 years in prison for his alleged role in a mob-connected dumping racket in Arlington, NY. Prosecutors say he was killed because then-Gambino boss John J. Gotti believed he was cooperating with federal investigators. Gotti dispatched a squad of hit men to eliminate Weiss, the press release said.

D'Amico (right), 72, was already in federal custody in connection with another case. He was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy involving murder, extortion, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and gambling and one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case. Sixty-seven-year-old Watts, arrested Feb. 11 in Manhattan, was charged with one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case.

If convicted, the men could be sentenced to life in prison. Federal prosecutors are also seeking the forfeiture of $4 million from D'Amico.

D'Amico was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court last August to serve two years in prison and pay a $4,000 fine for extorting money from a Staten Island cement plant. He was arrested a year ago, along with scores of other suspects, in a federal roundup of alleged Gambino Crime Family members and associates. Sixty-two people were arrested in the roundup. Almost all reached plea deals for short sentences. D'Amico agreed to plead guilty to the single count of extortion.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. 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.