PALERMO, Sicily — A jury today convicted the men considered the top leaders of the Mafia and sentenced 13 of them to life imprisonment. Among those condemned to life terms was Michele (the Pope) Greco, described as the head of the Mafia's multibillion-dollar international heroin operation.
The reading of the verdicts for the case's 460 defendants began shortly after 6 p.m. The process was expected to take days. The trial was seen by many in Italy as a test of the state's commitment to defeat the Mafia. The logistics of the trial were staggering: 1,314 people testified, including 395 defendants, and jurors listened to 635 final pleas by defense attorneys.