Sunday, August 5, 2007

Secrets: Mistress testifies against Marcello

Connie Marcello, longtime mistress of Chicago Outfit boss James Marcello, continued to accept thousands of dollars each month from her beau though she secretly testified against him before a grand jury in March 2005, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun Times.

Connie Marcello, who legally changed her name to Marcello though she and James Marcello never married, testified in the Family Secrets trial last week. She noted that the mob boss paid for her suburban home, took care of her $15,000 gambling debt and provided her with up to $5,000 per month.

Also last week:
  • Michelle Spilotro, daughter of Michael Spilotro (right) who was executed by the Outfit in 1986, said James Marcello called for her father on the day he disappeared. She said she recognized Marcello's voice.

  • Dr. John Pless, a forensic pathologist, described the autopsies of Anthony and Michael Spilotro, according to a story by Kelli Conkey of Medill Reports. He noted that the decomposing bodies had been dug up in an Indiana cornfield after being dead at least a week. Dr. Pless said there was no evidence that the men had been buried alive but he could not rule it out. He said they were likely beaten to death. Michael suffered a broken nose, head and neck injuries. Asphyxia - lack of oxygen - was attributed to his right lung being almost entirely filled with blood. Anthony died of head, neck and chest injuries, in addition to asphyxia.

  • Ann Spilotro, wife of Michael, testified that her husband understood that he was in trouble with the mob in the weeks leading up to his June 1986 murder, according to an AP story published by ABC7 in Chicago. Michael and his brother Anthony were lured to a Bensenville basement, were killed there and were buried in Indiana.

Italian police arrest Mafia bigshot

Franco Franzese, 43, believed to be a key aide to Sicilian Mafia bosses, has been arrested by Italian police in Palermo, according to a Reuters news story.

Franzese has been listed by the Italian Interior Ministry as one of Italy's most dangerous criminals. He is believed to have served as an aide to Salvatore Lo Piccolo, reputedly one of the Mafia's most powerful current bosses.

Joey Leo charged with extortion

Daniel Leo
FBI electronic surveillance resulted in Joey Leo, nephew of reputed Genovese Crime Family boss Daniel "The Lion" Leo, being charged with extortion July 24, according to a story by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

Agents placed a listening device in Joey Leo's car and tapped his cellphone after failing in wiretapping attempts directed against Daniel Leo (right). As a result, they obtained portions of conversations related to mob business between Daniel Leo and his nephew. Some of the conversations related to extortion of a taxi business between 2002 and 2006. Joey Leo is held without bail.

Authorities believe Daniel Leo quietly succeeded Vincent "The Chin" Gigante as Genovese boss. He was charged May 30 with four counts of extortion. He pleaded not guilty but was held without bail. Leo was first mentioned as Genovese boss in December of 2006. Authorities cautioned at the time that the Genovese clan was notorious for screening its actual bosses through the use of front men.

About Me

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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.