Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arrest Warrant Issued for Henry Hill

Arrest Warrant Issued for Henry Hill"Henry Hill."

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Kyle Brodie matter-of-factly read the name Wednesday in a roll call of small-time suspects: the unlicensed driver; the work-release probationer.

"No answer," yelled the bailiff.

With that, the mobster-turned-FBI informant -- whose life inspired the movie epic "Goodfellas" -- was facing two $25,000 arrest warrants.

Once linked to an NCAA point-shaving scandal and a $5 million airport heist, Hill at age 65 is wanted for failing to appear on tickets alleging that he was drunk in public in San Bernardino.

"I would have been asking for his autograph," said Desiree Gallegos, 27, who was in the courtroom for a suspension of house arrest terms.

Reached by phone later in the day, Hill said he was unaware he needed to be present. He said he had visited the downtown court on Monday to advise the clerks that he would be having hernia surgery later this week and wanted a new date. "I was hoping the court would understand," Hill said from his San Fernando Valley home. "I did a few days in jail already."

The cases stem from two arrests in May 2008. In the first, a patrol officer saw an intoxicated man standing in the intersection at Redlands Boulevard and Club Drive. The second ticket came 10 days later, when a drunken man refused to leave the lobby of the Fairfield Inn on Harriman Place.

Hill said he was in alcohol rehabilitation at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda at the time. He failed to appear for his first arraignment last July.

He was arrested in Los Angeles earlier this year and again booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Because of jail crowding, he was released before his arraignment. "I don't remember much of all that, but I've been sober a month now," Hill said. "I don't want to drink anymore."

The Brooklyn native is a frequent caller to Howard Stern's radio showGangsters and Goodfellas: The Mob, Witness Protection, and Life on the Run, where he plugs his mob-related watercolor painting, with scenes like a rat with a handgun and three well-dressed men digging a hole in the ground.

The "Goodfellas" movie ends with Hill, played by Ray Liotta, entering federal witness protection. Drug trafficking charges were leveraged for his testimony implicating cohorts in murders and the 1978 heist of $5.8 million in cash from a Lufthansa Airlines vault at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

In real life, drug arrests caused Hill to be removed from the federal program in the early 1990s. He dabbled in restaurants and spaghetti sauce sales.

These days, when he's not collaborating on Mafia-related film, television and book projects, Hill said he works with the FBI as an organized-crime consultant and counsels young street gang members about the lifestyle.

The man who once masterminded gambling enterprises now plays bingo at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in Highland.

"Hollywood makes it up to be glamorous, but it's not," Hill said of his days with New York's Lucchese crime family. "You're either in jail for the rest of your life or you're dead."

Thanks to Paul Larocco

1 comment:

  1. That's crazy how some "street smart" guy like that can get caught for such an everyday offense!

    ReplyDelete