Thursday, September 27, 2007

10 Mob Hits Committed by 3 of the Mobsters at Family Secrets Trial

A federal jury in Chicago today found three Outfit figures committed 10 gangland slayings at the heart of the Family Secrets mob conspiracy trial.

The jury deadlocked on one murder blamed on a fourth defendant as well as seven other homicides. Earlier this month, the same jury convicted the four defendants as well as a former Chicago police officer of racketeering conspiracy.

In a second round of deliberations decided today, the jury found Frank Calabrese Sr. committed seven murders, James Marcello two murders and Joey "the Clown" Lombardo one murder. As a result, the men face up to life in prison because the slayings were committed in the course of the racketeering conspiracy.

The jury, however, was unable to reach a decision on the one murder attributed to defendant Paul "the Indian" Schiro.

In its decision today, the jury held Marcello–identified by authorities as Chicago's top mob boss when the indictment was announced–-- responsible for the most notorious murders, the 1986 deaths of Las Vegas mob chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother Michael whose bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The Spilotros' brother, Patrick, grabbed his wife, Kathy, as the verdict was read. "It was a sense of justice being served," he said later of his reaction. "We're just thankful the verdict came down as it did."

The jury also found that Calabrese, portrayed by prosecutors as a ruthless hit man, took part in the 1980 shotgun slayings of William Dauber and wife Charlotte and the 1981 car-bombing of trucking executive Michael Cagnoni.

Lombardo, a legendary mob figure for decades, was held responsible for gunning down Daniel Seifert in front of his wife and young son shortly before Seifert was to testify in court against Lombardo, a former business partner.

The jury deadlocked on whether Schiro, the Outfit's representative in Phoenix who is serving a prison sentence for his role in a mob-connected jewelry theft ring, committed the 1986 murder of grand jury witness Emil Vaci.

The jury was also unable to reach a verdict on six murders attributed to Calabrese and one blamed on Marcello.

The jury convicted the Outfit figures as well as Anthony "Twan" Doyle, a former Chicago police officer, of racketeering conspiracy on Sept. 10 for extorting "street taxes" from businesses, running illegal gambling operations, making high-interest "juice" loans and protecting the mob's interests through violence and murder.

The 18 gangland slayings date back decades.

The prosecution case hinged on the testimony of Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, one of the highest-ranking mob turncoats in Chicago history who linked his brother to many of the murders. Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., also secretly tape-recorded conversations with his imprisoned father. The unprecedented cooperation by relatives of a mob target prompted federal authorities to code-name the probe Operation Family Secrets.

Doyle was convicted of passing on confidential information about the federal probe to a mob friend but wasn't charged in the murders.

The riveting trial, which played out over 10 weeks this summer before overflow crowds in the largest courtroom in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, marks the most significant prosecution of the Chicago mob in decades.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

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