Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dem Are Lies!

The day after a jury of seven women and five men found him guilty of racketeering, bookmaking and extortion, Oak Brook mobster Frank Calabrese Sr. hit his boiling point in court Tuesday, shouting out "Dem are lies!" as a prosecutor detailed his alleged murders.

Assistant U.S. attorney Mitchell Mars was making his closing argument before the second phase of jury deliberations, during which jurors will specify which murders, if any, the now-convicted mobsters committed during the course of their racketeering activities.

Calabrese Sr. had managed to remain silent during the first portion of Mars' presentation, when he recounted how Calabrese Sr. was caught on tape apparently telling his son, Frank Calabrese Jr. about the murder of William and Charlotte Dauber in Will County in 1980. The two were cut off in traffic and then shot to death because the mob thought William Dauber was an informant.

When Calabrese Jr. questioned why Charlotte Dauber was killed too, Calabrese Sr. replied, "Well, what was I supposed to do? Tell her to move over?" Mars said. And Mars' voiced cracked when he recalled another tape showing Calabrese Sr. "talking to his son, almost with glee, about how you can cut a man in half with double-ought shotgun shells. That's as cold as it gets."

Through those accusations, Calabrese Sr. remained silent, as he did through his attorney's attempt to persuade jurors not to find he had committed murder. But only when Mars, in his final rebuttal, remarked on how Calabrese Sr. was, even then, sitting "with a very chilling smile on his face" after "he has left a trail of bodies -- literally" did Calabrese erupt.

"Dem are lies," he barked out, sitting up in his seat.

Two U.S. Marshals moved in, prepared to restrain Calabrese, but Mars continued, ignoring the comment as if Calabrese wasn't even in the room.

District Judge James Zagel glanced at Calabrese, but said nothing, apparently unwilling to interrupt Mars any further.

Jurors, for their part, looked unimpressed by Calabrese's attorney's pleas to not believe the testimony of Nick Calabrese -- the hit man and brother of Frank Calabrese Sr. who testified and linked Calabrese Sr. to 13 murders. One woman yawned repeatedly. Another stared at the floor, his head held in both hands. Still another juror's eyes fluttered almost closed.

If the 12 jurors find unanimously that Calabrese Sr., James Marcello of Lombard, Joseph Lombardo of Chicago and Paul Schiro of Phoenix committed murders as part of their racketeering conspiracy, they face sentences of life in prison.

The jury went home Tuesday without reaching a decision. Deliberations continue today.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

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