Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Carneglia convicted of racketeering, murders

Charles Carneglia, once a trusted hitman for Gambino Crime Family boss John J. Gotti, was convicted in Brooklyn federal court today of racketeering and gangland murders, according to a story by John Marzulli and Larry McShane of the New York Daily News and other published accounts.

The jury reportedly reached its decision Monday night. It found Carneglia (right) guilty of four murders, racketeering, extortion and robbery. His victims were armored car guard Jose Delgado Rivera, Gambino soldier Louis DiBono, and reputed crime family associates Sal Puma and Michael Cotillo. The jury could not agree on whether he committed a fifth murder, that of court officer Albert Gelb in 1976. It found Carneglia not guilty of a conspiracy charge.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York provided details on the Carneglia murders. Cotillo was stabbed to death during a fight between two Gambino factions in front of a Queens diner in 1977. Puma was stabbed to death in 1983 over a dispute concerning the delivery of money to a jailed member of Carneglia's underworld "crew." DiBono was shot to death in 1990 on orders of John J. Gotti. DiBono had refused to meet with Gotti when the crime boss summoned him. Rivera was shot and beaten to death during a 1990 robbery of an armored truck at the American Airlines facility at JFK Airport.

Carneglia faces a possible sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. He argued, apparently unconvincingly, that he had left the Mafia life back in 2001, putting his offenses beyond the statute of limitations for federal racketeering charges.

Prosecutors said Carneglia dissolved some of his victims' bodies with acid.

"We sincerely hope that today's verdict brings a measure of closure to the families of Carneglia's victims," U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said. "They have waited years for this day because the Gambino Family used violence and intimidation to silence witnesses and protect its members."

Carneglia was one of 62 alleged members and associates of the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno Crime Families arrested on Feb. 7, 2008. Carneglia is the only defendant to insist upon a trial - 60 others have reached plea deals.

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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.