When a federal appeals court doused any real hope of freedom for them, ex-NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa looked to the U.S. Supreme Court for a little delay. Hey, anything’s better than facing the painful rage of the relatives of the eight men they murdered for the mob at their sentencing.
But last week, after prosecutors objected to that notion, Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Jack Weinstein set December 3 as a day of reckoning for the convicted Mafia Cops – some 22 years after they murdered their first victim, jeweler Israel Greenwald on Feb. 10, 1986.
“The victims of the defendants’ heinous crimes have a strong interest in the imposition of sentence and indeed the right that sentencing proceed free from unreasonable delay,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Norris, adding that “the public, too, has a great interest in finality.”
Caracappa, 66, who’s been housed at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since April 2006, when jurors found the rogue detectives guilty of eight murders, bribery, drug dealing and other crimes, was the first to ask to put off his sentence until after his appeal to the high court.
Eppolito, 60, followed the lead of his partner-in-crime when he returned to the MDC after copping a tax fraud plea in Las Vegas, where his decision to take the weight for ripping off the IRS of $102,000 in tax money allowed his wife to escape any prison time.
Except for their relatives and appeal lawyers – Daniel Nobel and Joseph Bondy – it’s hard to find anyone with nice things to say about the ex-detectives, who took part in additional slayings and other failed murder plots while on the mob’s payroll, according to court papers in the case.
But it’s easy to grasp why they would rather tackle the conservative leaning Supreme Court with four justices appointed by Presidents named Bush and three judges by
other Republican Presidents (Reagan and Ford) than face the widows, children and siblings of the men they killed who are sure to attend the sentencing – many for the second time.
(At the first proceeding, Weinstein delayed the official sentence pending post trial proceedings that ended with him reversing the convictions on technical reasons but stating he would give the men life if he were overruled.)
“You took away our daddy,” wailed Greenwald’s daughter Michal two years ago as she called out both defendants by name and recalled that she last saw her father (right) when she was a 10-year-old school girl and he gave her a hug as she waited for a bus on the day they killed him and buried him under a Brooklyn garage.
“By doing that you took away our childhood. You took away our mother. You stole our innocence. You filled our nights with nightmares and our days with torture,” she said, recalling how over the years she and her family became envious of others whose deceased loved ones were buried in a cemetery – “envious of a grave!”
Saul Bienenfeld, who represents Michal and her mother Leah in a wrongful death suit against the NYPD and New York City, told Gang Land that Mrs. Greenwald and other family members would attend, even in the unlikely event that victim statements are not permitted at the official sentencing.
“There’s no way you could keep them away,” said Bienenfeld.
For closure and other reasons many relatives of other murder victims – there are seven wrongful death suits pending in Brooklyn Federal Court against the city and the Mafia Cops – are also expected to attend.
Mother’s Grief Lives On
Pauline Pipitone, a distraught 80-year-old woman whose 26-year-old son, Nicholas Guido, was killed the same year as Greenwald, won’t be making the trek to court.
Guido, (right) the only Mafia Cops’ murder victim with no criminal ties, was shot to death on Christmas Day in 1986 outside his Brooklyn home as he showed an uncle a new car he had bought. A telephone installer, Guido was killed only because he had the same name as a gangster the rogue detectives had fingered for their mob partners.
Mrs. Pipitone did not attend the first sentencing, has not given any interviews, “and is a very private person,” said her attorney, Mark Longo. He added that the only time she has spoken publicly about her grief was when prosecutors called her as a trial witness.
The attorney gave Gang Land a heart-wrenching letter the ailing Mrs. Pipitone wrote to Mayor Bloomberg two years ago in which she asked him – with no success – to intercede with city lawyers who were dragging out her lawsuit “so that I won’t be here to see justice done.”
“I remember running out to the street that day, seeing him laying against the driver’s seat in the car. They told me he had probably tried to move over to protect his uncle who was sitting next to him. He was wearing a new white jacket he had just gotten for Christmas. Seeing the red against the white – I still won’t wear anything white.”
Mrs. Pipitone said that not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her dead son, and she knows that his father, her first husband, died two years later of “a broken heart.”
“No amount of money in the world will bring him back to me. No amount of money could replace a life lost to a mother because of what was done by those men who were allowed to use their police shields to do horrible things. And if I could, I would gladly give anything I get back to you if I could have the last 20 years back with my son.”
This was written by The Boss. Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008, at 3:48 pm. Filed under Other Mafia Orgs. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Post a comment or leave a trackback..