Friday, January 27, 2006

'Mafia Cops' prosecutors drop two murders

Friends of ours: John Gotti, Bartolomeo "Bobby" Boriello, Luchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

With less than a month before trial, Brooklyn federal prosecutors slimmed down the indictment against the "Mafia Cops" by dropping two murders that were part of the racketeering conspiracy charged against the ex-cops. A new indictment unsealed Thursday showed that prosecutors, seeking to simplify the trial, have decided to weed out the 1990 murder of union official James Bishop and the 1991 killing of one-time John Gotti crony Bartolomeo "Bobby" Boriello.

Former NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito, 57, and Stephen Caracappa, 64, have been charged with playing roles in as many as 10 homicides, including some while they were police officers, for members of the Luchese crime family. Some of the murders were believed to have been part of a scheme by former Luchese boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso to avenge a foiled assassination plot against him.

Bishop, an official of Painters Union Local 37, was killed because he was believed by the mob to have been an informant, said prosecutors. Investigators said Boriello was killed after Eppolito and Caracappa provided information to Casso that the Gambino soldier had threatened him. Eppolito and Caracappa, who have denied the charges against them, are slated to go to trial Feb. 21 before Judge Jack B. Weinstein in Brooklyn federal district court.

The Bishop and Boriello homicides were dropped from the case to streamline the prosecution witness list. Last year Weinstein expressed doubts that he would allow prosecutors Mitra Hormozi and Robert Henoch to call as many as 100 witnesses.

As many as 10 potential witnesses now don't have to be called, said the source, who added that prosecutors will try to introduce evidence of the two killings as uncharged crimes if Weinstein allows it.

"Our defense is that Steve Caracappa is a hero, not a criminal," defense attorney Edward Hayes said Thursday. Bruce Cutler, who is defending Eppolito, couldn't be reached for comment.

Thanks to Anthony DeStefano

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