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 Bomb That Killed Underboss Was Meant for Gotti

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vinny nip

vinny nip

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PostSubject: Bomb That Killed Underboss Was Meant for Gotti   Bomb That Killed Underboss Was Meant for Gotti Icon_minitimeWed Feb 04, 2009 6:37 am

Defector Says Bomb That Killed Underboss Was Meant for Gotti


Published: January 24, 1995

It had all the trademarks of a brutal Mafia hit.

Frank DeCicco, then the second in command of the Gambino crime family, had just left a mob meeting in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, on a Sunday afternoon in 1986 and was opening his car door when a thunderous explosion killed him and injured another suspected mobster.

But the killers may have got the wrong man.

Nine years after the murder, a high-level Mafia defector has told law-enforcement authorities that the intended victim of the bombing was John Gotti, who had then just taken over the Gambino family, and that one of Mr. Gotti's own capos, or captains, was involved in the plot to kill him. The killers either mistook Mr. DeCicco for Mr. Gotti or bombed the car in the belief that Mr. Gotti would be in it, investigators said.

Federal and state investigators said the disclosures about the killing were made by Anthony S. Casso, the former underboss of the Lucchese crime family, and that he identified Daniel Marino as the Gambino capo who had betrayed Mr. Gotti.

Mr. Casso, who is under indictment on racketeering charges and who agreed to cooperate with the authorities in return for possible leniency, said the killing was the result of a conspiracy between members of two other crime organizations, the Genevose and Lucchese families.

The families, Mr. Casso told investigators, decided to kill Mr. Gotti because he had engineered the slaying of Paul Castellano, the former Gambino boss, in December 1985 without obtaining approval from the Commission, the governing body for New York's five Mafia families.

The investigators said the conspirators believed Mr. Gotti would attend a meeting on April 13, 1986, at the Veterans and Friends Club, a Gambino storefront hangout on 86th Street near 14th Avenue in Bensonhurst.

According to one investigator, Mr. Casso said members of the Westies, a gang of non-Mafia members from the West Side of Manhattan, were recruited by Mr. Marino and used to either make or plant a bomb for the murder of Mr. Gotti. Mr. Gotti did not attend the meeting, but Mr. DeCicco, whom he had recently named as the family's underboss, did. The investigator said the Westies mistook Mr. DeCicco, who was then 50, for Mr. Gotti or thought he might be planning to ride in Mr. DeCicco's Buick Electra when they attached the bomb to the front end.

At the time of the slaying, detectives said Mr. DeCicco was killed for his involvement in the Castellano murder and that by killing Mr. Gotti's second in command, other mobsters were sending a signal of their dissatisfaction with Mr. Gotti.

As a result of Mr. Casso's assertions, Federal officials have moved to protect Mr. Marino, fearing that Gambino family members loyal to Mr. Gotti might try to retaliate.

Mr. Marino, 54, who is serving a seven-year sentence for an unrelated murder-conspiracy conviction, was abruptly placed in a protective segregation block for a month at the Fairton Federal prison in southern New Jersey, then transferred in November to the Englewood Federal prison in Littleton, Colo., near Denver. Officials said he was moved there because no other member of the Gambino family is imprisoned in Englewood.

Yesterday, James M. LaRossa, Mr. Marino's lawyer, said Mr. Marino "does not believe there is any threat against him, nor do I."

The lawyer said Mr. Marino told him that "Casso is manufacturing this tale because of prior disputes between them regarding Casso's killing of Mr. Marino's nephew, James Hydell."

Investigators said it was unclear how Gambino family members had learned about the identification of Mr. Marino by Mr. Casso, who has been held at undisclosed locations by Federal agents since his defection last March. Mr. Casso, 54, was awaiting trial and facing life in prison on racketeering charges, including participation in 14 murders, when he agreed to cooperate with the Government.

Known in the Mafia as Gaspipe, Mr. Casso is expected to testify as a prosecution witness in cases being prepared against his former allies in the Lucchese family and against capos and soldiers in the Genovese and Gambino families, the investigators said.

No one has been indicted in the murder of Mr. DeCicco. To bring charges against Mr. Marino, investigators said prosecutors would need other evidence or testimony to corroborate Mr. Casso's version.

Mr. Gotti, 54, who was convicted on Federal racketeering and murder charges in 1993 is currently serving a life sentence in virtual solitary confinement at a Federal prison in Marion, Ill. His chief lawyer, Bruce Cutler, said yesterday that F.B.I. officials had described Mr. Casso before his defection as a "psychopath." Mr. Cutler added that "anything coming from him can not be given any credence."

Appointed as a capo by Mr. Castellano, Mr. Marino had been viewed by Mafia experts in law-enforcement agencies as a loyal supporter of Mr. Castellano who resented Mr. Gotti's takeover of the family. In a plea bargain, Mr. Marino pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to kill Thomas Spinelli, a Gambino member.

Mr. Spinelli was killed in 1989 while cooperating with Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn who were investigating the Gambino family.
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