The first defendant to be sentenced in the Family Secrets mob conspiracy case was given 20 years in prison by a federal judge today, the maximum amount of time he could receive for his role in the conspiracy.
Paul "the Indian" Schiro had appeared emotionless during the landmark 2007 trial, but addressed U.S. District Judge James Zagel briefly today as he was about to learn his punishment.
Schiro accused Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk of "misquoting things," and said he had no idea why the jury had found him guilty. "I went to trial with co-defendants I never met in my life," Schiro said.
Zagel said there was plenty of evidence linking Schiro to the conspiracy, and to the 1986 murder of Emil Vaci. The jury had been unable to reach a verdict blaming Schiro for that killing, but Zagel said Schiro had been involved.
He likened Schiro to a sleeper agent who was an Outfit associate allowed to carry out his own burglary activity. But Schiro never hesitated when asked to help kill Vaci, who was shot to death in Arizona after he began being interviewed by a grand jury.
"There was no evidence of his hesitation," Zagel said. "He was available."
Four others were convicted in the case, and their sentencings are set to begin within days, beginning Wednesday with Frank Calabrese Sr. The defendants were accused in a decades-long conspiracy that included 18 gangland killings.
Thanks to Jeff Coen
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