New Jersey police believe Thursday's daytime shooting murder of Frank DeSimone Jr., 41, was related to a personal dispute and not to the Mafia, according to a story by Jason Tsai and Kibret Markos of the Record.
While some of DeSimone's relatives, including his 75-year-old father, have Mafia connections, police have not linked Frank Jr. to the underworld organization. Frank DeSimone Sr., however, is a made member of the Lucchese Crime Family. Another relative, Tommy DeSimone, was the inspiration for actor Joe Pesci's character in the 1990 movie Goodfellas.
Roosevelt Withers, 43, of Manhattan, has been charged with Frank Jr.'s killing. A parolee with an extensive criminal history, police say Withers shot DeSimone in his car at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Police are investigating connections between the two men. DeSimone, a used car salesman, is known to have recently sold a Dodge Durango SUV to Withers. Withers was convicted of drug dealing in 1990 and of armed robbery in 1993. He was paroled last March.
Police apprehended Withers about 20 minutes after the DeSimone shooting. Withers was driving toward New York City, when he crashed his car in heavy traffic at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge. He fled on foot and was caught near a toll booth.
Withers pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Bergen County Superior Court on Friday (see photo above from Dec. 28 issue of The Record).