The Chicago Syndicate: Uncle of Mafia Informant, Peter "Big Pete" Chiodo, is Found Slain in Brooklyn

Wednesday, February 03, 1993

Uncle of Mafia Informant, Peter "Big Pete" Chiodo, is Found Slain in Brooklyn

Two years ago Peter Chiodo of Staten Island was shot a dozen times and critically wounded, but the 500-pound informer against the Mafia still lived to testify against a dozen major underworld figures.

A year ago Mr. Chiodo's sister, Patricia Capozzalo, of Brooklyn, was seriously wounded in what the authorities described as a failed attempt by the mob to kill her.

And yesterday, the police found the body of Mr. Chiodo's uncle, Frank Signorino, of Staten Island, stuffed in the trunk of a parked car in East New York, Brooklyn. There were numerous wounds to his forehead, some resembling gunshot wounds.

The authorities would not say last night what the motive might have been in Mr. Signorino's slaying. But the investigators and witnesses in the trials of Mafia leaders last year have said that the earlier shootings were intended to intimidate Mr. Chiodo into silence. Role in Upcoming Trial

Ronald Goldstock, director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, said of Mr. Signorino's slaying, "There could be a thousand reasons for it, and the silencing of Mr. Chiodo is one possible motive."

Mr. Chiodo, one of the more prominent witnesses in the Federal Government's recent prosecutions of Mafia leaders, is expected to testify again at the upcoming trial of Anthony Casso of Brooklyn, whom prosecutors say is the boss of the Lucchese crime family.

Mr. Casso was captured by the F.B.I. two weeks ago as he was getting out of a shower at a hideout in Mt. Olive, N.J. He had been a fugitive for almost three years and had been charged with ordering the killings of 11 people linked to fraudulent construction contracts in New York.

Mr. Casso has been described by Federal authorities as one of the most dangerous Mafia figures in the country. With his capture, officials say the leaders of the region's five Mafia groups are either serving long prison terms or awaiting trial.

The police discovered the body of Mr. Signorino with a black plastic bag tied around his head in the trunk of an abandoned car at Vermont Street and Flatlands Avenue. Reported Missing

Sgt. Michael Race of the 75th Detective Squad said the remains, which were frozen, were turned over to the city Medical Examiner's Office, which will perform an autopsy.

"The body was frozen," Sergeant Race said "Mr. Signorino was reported missing three days ago, and we are not exactly sure what caused the wounds in his head." The detective said the remains had been identified by the dead man's family.

Sergeant Race said the authorities were trying to determine whether Mr. Signorino had any ties to the Mafia.

Mr. Chiodo, whose girth earned him the nickname "Big Pete," turned informant against Mafia figures after being shot a dozen times in May, 1991.

Mr. Chiodo, who has admitted that he was a captain in the Lucchese crime family, said he decided to cooperate with the authorities after two of his criminal associates threatened to kill his wife and his father.

According to the authorities, in the yearlong interval between the shooting of Mr. Chiodo and that of his sister, there were repeated attempts to intimidate other relatives of Mr. Chiodo's.

At the trial last year of Vittorio Amuso, a Lucchese crime chieftain who was convicted of nine murders, Alfonse D'Arco, another underworld figure turned informant, testified that he had made such attempts. Mr. Chiodo also testified about Mafia activities at that trial.

Another person connected to Mr. Chiodo, Anthony Fava, who the police said was a close associate, was found shot to death in Brooklyn 18 months ago. None of shootings has been solved.

Thanks to Richard D. Lyons.

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