Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mama Gets Her shot at 'Mob cops'

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Lucchese Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Twenty years after Jimmy Hydell disappeared on a rainy Saturday, his mother will get her chance at revenge against the men she believes delivered him to his death - the so-called Mafia cops. Betty Hydell is set to take the stand this week to testify that Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were looking for her son the day he disappeared.

Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, have been charged with kidnapping Jimmy Hydell and handing him over to gangster Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso. The two ex-NYPD detectives are on trial in Brooklyn Federal Court on charges they killed and committed other crimes while secretly working for the mob.

Casso allegedly tortured Hydell, a wanna-be wiseguy, for hours, then fatally shot him after getting him to reveal the name of cohorts who had attempted to kill the Luchese capo, authorities contend.

Testimony last week by Burton Kaplan, a key government witness, has infuriated Betty Hydell further, her daughter told the Daily News.

Kaplan told jurors Jimmy Hydell knew he was going to die and begged Casso to "throw him in the street" so his mom could collect insurance. Kaplan said Casso promised he would, but Hydell's body was never found. "My mother was very upset about this," said Liz Hydell. "She's ready to come to court."

Documents obtained by the Daily News show Betty Hydell first contacted authorities about the two cops she believed were involved in her son's death seven years before the duo was arrested.

Betty Hydell, according to those papers, is expected to describe how, soon after Jimmy left the house on Oct. 18, 1986, her other son, Frank, returned to say he'd been followed by two men in a light blue sedan. He was driving Jimmy's car.

Hydell got in her car and found the sedan parked near her house. She says she pulled up alongside and asked the men who they were. The driver flashed a badge and she remembers saying, "You should let people know what you're doing."

Some time later, an NYPD detective showed up with Jimmy's clothes and a key ring. She didn't recognize the keys, but something on the ring was his. She kept the clothes for years.

At the time, she did not know the identity of the two cops and told no one of her suspicions. She feared retaliation against her Frank Hydell, who had his own problems with the law.

In April 1998, Frank was gunned down outside a Staten Island strip club. Betty Hydell claims she then told law enforcement officials her belief that two cops had kidnapped her son.

By then, she said she could identify them - claiming some years earlier that she saw Eppolito plugging his 1992 book, "Mafia Cop," on a talk show and recognized him as the driver of the car she'd seen the day Jimmy went away.

Thanks to Greg B. Smith

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