John J. Gotti was sentenced Wednesday to a 5-year prison term for a mob-linked arson with a contingent of family looking on sadly in Brooklyn federal court as the 24-year-old followed an unhappy tradition tracing to his late grandfather and namesake, the one-time Gambino family boss who died in prison.
Gotti is already serving an 8-year state sentence on narcotics charges, but after he and his lawyers presented him as a changed man who kicked a bad drug habit and was ready to turn his life around, U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross agreed to let him serve half the federal sentence concurrent with his state sentence.
“I’m in a good place today, mentally and physically,” Gotti told the judge. “I look forward to the years to come. I know when I leave here I’ll be able to do something good, and give back to the world.”
Gotti, of Howard Beach, Queens, pleaded guilty last year to torching the car of a man in 2012 as an act of revenge after a road rage incident involving Bonanno family mobster Vincent Asaro, and then leading police on a dangerous high-speed chase. He also admitted as part of his plea to involvement in a bank robbery.
He is the son of Peter Gotti, one of the children of the former celebrity don John J. Gotti and his wife, Victoria. One of his uncles, John A. “Junior” Gotti, also did prison time and was an alleged acting boss of the family.
Victoria wrote a letter asking Ross for “compassion,” telling the judge her family was “not raised in a criminal way” and her grandson was “full of love, caring and compassion” but “sadly went in the wrong direction.”
After the sentencing, she was near tears as reporters approached.
“We’re heartbroken,” she said. “He’s deeply loved.”
John A. Gotti, his uncle and godfather, also weighed in, asking the judge to take into account how the pressures of growing up a Gotti in Howard Beach “with all of the connotations and condemnations that the name bears” had left his nephew “torn between the lawful and the lawless which inhabited his environment.”
After the sentencing, Gotti the uncle was stoic.
“We’re soldiers,” he said. “We’ll take what comes our way.”
Federal guidelines recommended a sentence between 60 and 71 months for Gotti, and 5 years was a mandatory minimum for arson.
Gotti’s lawyers argued part of the federal sentence should be concurrent with his state time because his federal plea made him ineligible for programs that might reduce his state term, and prosecutors agreed to that as part of his plea deal.