A 47-year-old man convicted of leading a gang of robbers who beat and hog-tied victims was sentenced Friday to more than 62 years in federal prison, much of the time mandatory because he used a gun.
"It isn't over until God says it's over," Anthony Calabrese said as friends and family waved, some wiping away tears, and marshals led him off to begin what could easily turn out to be the rest of his life behind bars.
Calabrese was convicted by a jury in February as masterminding the robbery of a leather store, a tattoo parlor and a meat market.
On orders from Calabrese, a gang member tried to break the tattoo parlor owner's hands with a hammer because he had tattooed the underage daughter of a Chicago mob boss, prosecutors said in court papers.
A railroad engineer testified that he was having Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" tattooed on his back when three men burst into the parlor, tied him up and hog-tied his girlfriend. Witnesses said hog-tying victims was standard operating procedure when the gang pulled robberies.
Prosecutors said in court papers Calabrese had held himself out to various people as being connected to the Chicago mob. Calabrese is not believed to be related to the Calabrese family that was at the center of one of the biggest mob trials in the city's history last year.
Jurors also heard a tape on which an alleged gang member yelped and pleaded for mercy as Calabrese and another man beat him. Frank had to be taken to a hospital and blood was splattered on the wall when it was over. Calabrese was said to have feared the gang member would squeal.
"He was cold and he was uncaring," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel M. Hammerman told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve.
St. Eve said federal law required her to sentence Calabrese to a minimum of 57 years for using a gun in multiple offenses and more time for pulling the robberies. She sentenced him to 62 years and seven months.
Calabrese and his attorney pleaded for an even lesser sentence, saying that he has already served six years in prison for an unrelated conviction, rehabilitated himself and started a new life. Calabrese said he wanted to have at least some time at home with his family. "I want to show them the real Tony Calabrese," he said. He waved and blew a kiss to his relatives as marshals led him out and some of them called out: "We love you."
Thanks to Mike Robinson
Sunday, July 20, 2008
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