A federal judge today refused to release from custody an elderly Oak Brook man charged with the Outfit-related pipe-bombing of a video gambling machine business.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier said he believes 85-year-old Samuel Volpendesto has serious health problems but found the risk of flight was too great to release him from the Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown.
Volpendesto is charged in a case that links the Chicago mob and the Outlaws motorcycle gang to the pipe bombing of a Berwyn business that was in competition with the Outfit. Reputed mobster Michael "the Large Guy" Sarno also was indicted in the case.
Nathan Diamond-Falk, Volpendesto's lawyer, argued his client is suffering at the MCC from bladder cancer and an infection from a cut he sustained in the spring. It would be a life sentence for Volpendesto to remain jailed before a trial, Diamond-Falk said.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk told the judge Volpendesto looked vigorous in court before the hearing started and was "acting like a clown, frankly." Volpendesto can be heard on secretly made tapes in the case linking himself to the Outfit and the 2003 bombing, Funk said.
At different points in one recording, Funk said, Volpendesto bragged about working for mobsters with ties to legendary Outfit boss Al Capone and claimed he also worked for the late mob boss Sam Giancana.
At Funk's request, a jail official informed the court about Volpendesto's ongoing medical treatment at the MCC.
Schenkier ultimately rejected Volpendesto's request, noting the crime was very serious and suggesting that despite the fact Volpendesto is confined to a wheelchair, he could still flee and not be available to have his case heard by a jury.
That could be his choice, Schenkier said, or the choice of the Outfit if the mob perceived Volpendesto could help the government. "He might have assistance in not being around at trial," the judge said.
Thanks to WGN
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