Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mob Hitman on Witness Stand

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Sr., John Fecarotta, James "Litte Jimmy" Marcello

An admitted hitman for the Chicago mob is being let off the hook for several gangland murders in exchange for his testimony in the Operation Family Secrets trial. Nick Calabrese, the former hitman and now star witness in the case, began his testimony Monday.

Outfit killer Nick Calabrese says he and his brother Frank Senior killed mob enforcer John Fecarotta back in 1986. Fecarotta, a hitman himself, had botched a gangland assignment and was given the ultimate demotion.

Homicide detectives found a bloody glove near Fecarotta's corpse. It wasn't until new DNA technology, in 2002, that investigators matched the bloody glove to Nick Calabrese. Faced with that evidence, Nick Calabrese violated his outfit oath of allegiance and betrayed his own brother, Frank Senior, working undercover against La Cosa Nostra, the organization in which they both were blood-made members.

Monday, for the first time, brother Nick was on the witness stand testifying against brother Frank. "We're not expecting to see anything other than what he's gonna tell us. We don't know what he's gonna tell us," said Joe Lopez, Frank Calabrese Senior's lawyer.

Nick's first hour of testimony implicated his brother in murders, juice loan rackets and outfit decision making. Said Nick Calabrese: "If you got an order to go kill somebody, you'd have to do it." He also testified that committed mob murders with defendant James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and is expected to provide details when retaking the stand Tuesday.

In exchange for his testimony, Nick Calabrese will not be prosecuted in state court for the Fecarotta murder or any other killings. Nick is off the hook. According to letters introduced Monday in court from state's attorneys in Cook, DuPage and Will counties, all have agreed not to prosecute Nick Calabrese.

He is still eligible for life in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering in Operation Family Secrets, but federal authorities will recommend a sentence far less than that for Nick Calabrese. That made this a deal Calabrese was unable to refuse.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

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