It was a case that took years to make. Former NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were accused of taking part in at least eight gangland murders in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, most while still on the job. In the end they were found guilty; but the judge threw out their convictions, saying the statute of limitations had expired, even though he believed the evidence showed overwhelmingly that the officers were guilty.
“It's sort of crazy and sensible,” explained Guy Lawson, co-author of the book “Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia” about the case. “It's like New York City, it's a paradox. It all makes sense at each stage, but when you put it all together, it seems like madness.”
It makes for a story that is better than fiction. “[It had] murder, kidnapping, and intrigue, and the mafia and hit men,” said co-author of “Brotherhoods”, William Oldham. “[It had] a guy who killed 30 people, and a “good guy” who only killed six people."
Oldham was one of a team of investigators who made the case. He and Lawson have written the first book about it, a book that begins with Oldham's story. “In 1990, I went to work with Stephen Caracappa in the major case squad,” recalled Oldham.
The allegations against Eppolito and Caracappa emerged in the mid-90s, but prosecutors did not have enough evidence to charge them. That is when Oldham started investigating the detectives. “In 1997, everyone had sort of packed up their tents and gone home, and I thought that these two deserved a trial and I began an investigation that lasted seven years,” said Oldham.
“I think the secret to why Oldham took this case is because it was so damn hard,” added Lawson. “You know, there's a certain kind of intelligence that wants to do the hardest thing.”
Oldham eventually produced the key witness, Burton Kaplan, a marijuana dealer who said he was the main contact between the officers and the Luchese family. “The thing about a RICO case, it's a number of criminal instants strung together and you sort of do need a story teller to connect the dots,” explained Oldham.
Thanks to Solana Pyne
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