Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wife testifies against Cutolo's accused killers

Marguerite Cutolo took the witness stand last week to point an accusing finger at reputed Colombo Crime Family boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico (right), according to a story by John Marzulli and Corky Siemaszko of the New York Daily News.

Mrs. Cutolo stepped out of the witness protection program in order to testify in the retrial of Persico and former Colombo underboss John DeRoss for the murder of her husband, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo. She had entered witness protection in 2001.

On the stand last week, she stated that her husband was on his way to meet Persico in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on May 26, 1999, when she last saw him. Cutolo has been missing since that date and is presumed dead.

On cross examination, defense attorneys suggested that William Cutolo is still alive and that the Cutolos have hidden as much as $2.7 million in loanshark earnings. Mrs. Cutolo admitted to possessing $1.65 million in cash at the time of her husband's disappearance. She said government officials were aware of the money and allowed her to keep it to take care of her children.

She denied the defense assertion that William Cutolo remains alive, according to a story by Selim Algar of the New York Post. "My husband never ran away," she said. "...I'm appearing here for my husband, for his death."

Mrs. Cutolo did not testify when Persico and DeRoss were first tried for the murder last year. That trial ended in a hung jury.
Prosecutors charge that Persico waited six years after a ceasefire in a bloody Colombo Crime Family civil war to eliminate his rival for power, William Cutolo (left). "The Colombo war never really ended, at least not in the minds of men like Alphonse Persico," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg said in his opening statement on Nov. 6.
Defense attorney Sarita Kedia countered, "There is not a single piece of evidence to prove to you that Billy Cutolo is even dead."

Brooklyn DA tries Fortunato, Polito for murder

The Kings County District Attorney's Office is taking a shot at prosecuting Mario Fortunato and Carmine "Pizza' Polito for the Nov. 29, 1994, murder of Sabatino Lombardi and attempted murder of Michael D'Urso, according to a story by Scott Shifrel and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Fortunato, partner in the Fortunato Brothers bakery of Williamsburg, and Queens pizzeria owner Polito were convicted in federal court. But that conviction was subsequently thrown out. The pair now face state charges.

D'Urso, who survived the hit despite being shot in the head, has testified that Fortunato wanted him dead as payback for a beating he once gave Fortunato. Prosecutors say Polito was motivated to eliminate D'Urso and Lombardi because he owed them $60,000. The two defendants allegedly planned the attack in the San Giuseppe social club on Graham Avenue.

D'Urso, a former mob associate, became a government informant years ago. He helped federal agents build cases against 70 Genovese Crime Family members, including former boss Vincent "the Chin" Gigante.

Chicago Crime Commission looks back in new book

Drawing from 80 years of archives, the Chicago Crime Commission has released a 293-page hardcover book entitled, "Friend and Foe," according to the commission's website. The volume tells the story of crime and law enforcement through a century of Chicago history. It reportedly includes developments in the recent Family Secrets trial of the local Mafia leaders and explores topics like public corruption, street gangs and the evolution of crime fighting. The book sells for $30 direct from the commission. (A package deal with the commission's "The Gang Book" costs $45.) Friend and Foe is expected also to be available in bookstores soon.

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 tphunt@gmail.com.)
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website Mafiahistory.us; 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.