For the first time in mob history, a New York crime boss testified against a key associate in a murder case.
Joseph Massino, 68, longtime Bonanno crime family boss until a 2004 racketeering/murder conviction, said his successor, Vincent Basciano, (“Vinny Gorgeous”), admitted killing mob wannabe Randolph Pizzolo.
“He told me that he killed him,” Massino said in Brooklyn federal court, recalling a wire-taped conversation he had with Basciano in 2005 while they were serving time in a federal prison. “He said (Pizzolo) was a scumbag, a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid."
Basciano, 51, the former owner of the Hello Gorgeous beauty salon in the Bronx, could face the death penalty if he’s convicted in the November 2004 murder of Pizzolo on a Greenpoint street. He’s serving a life term for a 2007 conviction in another case.
”Randy Pizzolo was killed on orders of that man -- Vincent Basciano, the former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family," U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri said in her opening statement, noting that he was shot seven times in his lower back, neck and head.
Defense attorney George Goltzer said Basciano lied about the hit to protect the real killer — a Bonanno family pal who acted without permission — “from the wrath of Joseph Massino."
Massino, who is serving two life terms, told jurors yesterday that by testifying he was violating a sacred oath. “Once a bullet leaves that gun, you never talk about it."
He said he offered to cooperate with the feds to spare his wife from prosecution. "One day maybe I’ll see a little light at the end of the tunnel," he added.