Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vinny Gorgeous Faces Death Penalty Alone

Bonanno crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano will fly solo at his federal death penalty trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Four members of his Bronx-based crew will be tried separately from Basciano on racketeering and gang-related murder charges next year.

Basciano will go on trial in August for allegedly ordering from prison the rubout of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo in December 2004, and putting out a contract on prosecutor Greg Andres. He faces death by lethal injection if convicted of Pizzolo's murder.

Then-acting Bonanno boss Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso and reputed soldier Anthony (Ace) Aiello are charged with carrying out the hit on Pizzolo, but former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales declined to seek the death penalty against them.

They will be tried in May, alongside reputed soldiers Anthony (Bruno) Indelicato and Anthony Donato, who are charged with whacking junkie Frank Santoro with Basciano in the Bronx in 2001.

Basciano was convicted last summer of killing Santoro for threatening to kidnap his son. During a recent hearing, Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis noted it might be confusing in a single trial for the jury to consider murder charges against two of the defendants and not Basciano, who shotgunned the victim.

In a 17-page ruling issued yesterday, Garaufis concluded there should be separate trials due to the possibility of antagonistic defenses among the defendants.

"The easier course for any judge is to have a joint trial and go through it all once," said Mancuso's attorney, David Schoen. "The decision to sever the noncapital defendants was right and legally sound."

Basciano's attorneys also sought a separate trial because informing the jury that only Basciano was facing the death penalty would have been prejudicial.

Thanks to John Marzulli

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