Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vincent "The Chin" Gigante Dies

Friends of ours: Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, Genovese Crime Family

US mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who avoided jail for decades by wandering Manhattan streets in a ratty bathrobe and slippers as part of an elaborate feigned mental illness, has died in prison. He was 77.

Mafioso Gigante died at the US Medical Centre for federal prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, early today, said prison spokesman Al Quintero. "The cause of death is currently unknown. He had a history of coronary disease."

Dubbed the "Oddfather" for his bizarre behaviour, the former Genovese crime family head, an ex-boxer whose lengthy string of victories over prosecutors ended with a July 1997 racketeering conviction, finally admitted his insanity ruse at an April 2003 court hearing.

After nearly a quarter-century of public craziness, Gigante calmly pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for his deception. He then chatted amiably with his son, shook hands with defence lawyers and even laughed at one point.

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