Monday, June 18, 2007

Schweihs severed from 'Secrets' trial

Ferriola, Venezia reach plea deals on eve of trial
Frank "the German" Schweihs will not be with his Family Secrets case codefendants when trial begins in Chicago tomorrow, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times. Due to Schweihs' poor health - he reportedly has cancer - he was severed from the case and could eventually stand trial separately.

In Family Secrets, Schweihs (left) was charged with the 1974 killing of Daniel Seifert. Prosecutors also suspect him of involvement in the 1985 murder of Pasquale Ricciardi and other killings.

The Sun-Times also noted that Family Secrets defendants Nicholas Ferriola, 32, and Joseph Venezia, 64, reached plea deals removing them from the case today. They pleaded guilty to gambling-related charges. That leaves five defendants for trial starting tomorrow. Four other defendants have already entered guilty pleas.

Fourteen men were indicted in April 2005 in connection with the federal Family Secrets investigation. Last week, Michael Marcello and Thomas and Dennis Johnson pleaded guilty to paying hush money to a murder witness. In May, Nicholas W. Calabrese, 64, admitted involvement with 14 killings. He is expected to testify against the remaining defendants, including his brother Frank Calabrese Sr.

The remaining defendants are:
- Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, reputed former boss of the Outfit.
- James Marcello, who prosecutors say was the reigning Chicago boss at the time of his arrest.
- Frank Calabrese Sr., an alleged member of the Outfit's 26th Street crew.
- Paul "the Indian" Schiro, alleged loan shark.
- Anthony Doyle, former Chicago police officer.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.