Friday, January 30, 2009

Calabrese sentenced to life in prison

Frank Calabrese Sr., 71, convicted of racketeering and racketeering murders in Chicago's Family Secrets trial of 2007, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison, according to reports by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune and Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

A jury found Calabrese (right) guilty of participating in seven killings related to Chicago organized crime. His victims were William and Charlotte Dauber, Michael Cagnoni, John Fecarotta, Michael Albergo, Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski. The panel could not reach a decision on whether he had a part in six other killings.

At sentencing, Calabrese told the judge, "I'm no big shot. I'm not nothing but a human being, and when you cut my hand, I bleed like everybody else."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Racketeer Schiro gets 20 years in prison

Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 71, convicted of racketeering in the Family Secrets trial of September 2007, was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison, according to reports by CBS2Chicago and by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.

Though the Family Secrets jury did not convict Schiro (right) on a racketeering murder charge, U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said he considered the 1986 murder of Emil Vaci when calculating Schiro's sentence. Vaci was killed in Phoenix, Arizona, after Chicago mob bosses felt he was cooperating in a federal investigation.

Schiro was indignant at his sentencing and denied that he was involved with Chicago's underworld. "There's no evidence of racketeering I can see at all," he said. "I went to trial with codefendants I never met in my whole life."

Federal officials say Schiro has been a career criminal and was once a close friend to Anthony Spilotro. The Chicago Outfit sent Spilotro to Las Vegas in the early 1970s to watch over its casino investments there. Spilotro was killed in 1986.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Former FBI agent Connolly gets 40 years, but...

John J. Connolly, a former FBI agent recently convicted of second-degree murder, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. However, the judge in the case believes it is unlikely that the conviction will stand on appeal.

Judge Stanford Blake of Miami-Dade Circuit Court noted that a defense challenge citing the statute of limitations was legally correct. Blake said he could not throw out the conviction because the defense argument was not made until almost a month after the verdict was returned.

Connolly (left), 68, is already serving a sentence in federal prison that continues until 2011. He was recently convicted of leaking information to Boston area mobsters James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi that led to killing of potential government witness John B. Callahan. Callahan had knowledge of Bulger's and Flemmi's role in the 1981 killing of Jai Alai businessman Roger Wheeler. Callahan's body was found Aug. 2, 1982, in the trunk of his car at Miami International Airport.

Judge refuses Gotti bail request

A Manhattan federal judge has denied release on bail to John A. "Junior" Gotti, according to a story in the New York Daily News. Gotti (right) is awaiting yet another racketeering trial in New York. His last three such trials ended in hung juries.

Judge Kevin Castel also denied Gotti's request to have his latest case transferred to Judge Shira Scheindlin, who presided over the three Gotti mistrials. The defense argued that Scheindlin was familiar with the background of the case.

Gotti acknowledges having been a part of the Gambino Crime Family leadership but claims he gave up the Mafia life years ago. He was indicted in Tampa, Florida, for three racketeering murders and drug trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August. Early in December, his lawyers succeeded in having his trial moved from Tampa back to New York.

Alite Targeted

Former mobster John Alite was targeted for assassination, Federal prosecutors revealed earlier this month, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News. Alite, an old friend of Gotti, is expected to testify against Gotti in his upcoming racketeering trial. Alite was part of a Gambino Crime Family crew engaged in rackets in western Florida.

Prosecutors noted there is no evidence that Gotti was involved in plotting against Alite. Defense attorney Charles Carnesi said the prosecutors mentioned the murder plot in a bail motion related to Gotti, "to be inflammatory. Even they acknowledge he had nothing to do with it."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Imprisoned Scala, 65, succumbs to cancer

Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala, 65, died Dec. 29 in Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Scala was serving a six-year sentence for extorting money from a Manhattan strip club.

Authorities suspect that Scala (right) was one of four men involved in the 1985 assassination of Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano. That assassination allowed John J. Gotti to take command of the Gambino organization. However, Scala was never charged with Castellano's killing.

Battling liver cancer, Scala requested an early release. The request was denied by the federal prisons system, despite the recommendation of the judge who sentenced him last year. In a letter to prisons director Harley Lappin, federal Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote, "At the time of sentencing I made clear my view that his offense, though serious, did not in my view warrant his dying in prison. I respectfully urge you to look into this man's situation with a view to the possibility of compassionate release of this apparently dying man."

Uvino convicted of Long Island beatings

Michael Uvino, reputed captain in the Colombo Crime Family, was convicted by a federal jury on Christmas Eve of beating two men, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The victims reportedly had set up a robbery of poker players at a Long Island social club. Uvino was convicted along with Philip Costanza and Brian Dono. Codefendant John Tripi was acquitted.

Gotti attorneys request Judge Scheindlin

Attorneys for John A. "Junior" Gotti have asked that their client's upcoming racketeering trial be held before Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Scheindlin presided over Gotti's last three racketeering trials, all of which ended in mistrials. The Gotti camp believes that Scheindlin is fair and that her familiarity with Gotti history will ensure a swift trial.

Gotti, 45, is awaiting transfer from Florida back to New York. Prosecutors transported him south for arraignment and hoped to try him in the Tampa area. But a federal judge ruled that the trial should be held in New York.

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.