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An Old-Style Mob Boss Is Sentenced to Life in Prison

Crime family leader Joseph Massino had admitted involvement in eight murders.

June 24, 2005|From Newsday

NEW YORK — In a watershed moment in the city's mob history, Bonanno crime family boss Joseph Massino was sentenced Thursday to life in prison after pleading guilty in connection with one murder and waiving his right to appeal a separate racketeering case in which he was convicted last year.

In response to questioning from U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, Massino admitted to ordering the killing of Bonanno captain Gerlando Sciascia, whose body, police said, was dumped on a Bronx street in March 1999.

Massino, 62, also opted not to challenge the July verdict of a jury that found him guilty in a case that involved seven other murders. And Massino, who was seen as the last old-style don still standing before his conviction, agreed to forfeit about $9 million in assets to the government.

After Massino's plea, Garaufis read a letter in support of a life sentence from the daughter of Dominick Trinchera, a victim in the prior case, that read in part, "Joseph Massino took away a big part of our lives."

Garaufis then spoke of criminal organizations, saying they trade on human frailty and greed and impose a kind of "illicit tax" on goods and services purchased by citizens.

The judge sentenced Massino to life in prison in both cases.

Edward McDonald, Massino's lawyer, said the plea deal eliminated the threat of the death penalty and that Massino "will be able to seek a sentence reduction at some point in the future."

Early this year it was disclosed that Massino was cooperating with the government and had made tapes of talks with reputed acting boss Vincent Basciano, who is facing federal indictment and has pleaded not guilty.

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