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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Brooklyn jury had deliberated over the course of four days before finding Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano guilty of murder, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges.


17:10 |

A tough-talking New York City mobster who's already serving a life sentence for attempted murder was convicted Monday in a death penalty case accusing him of ordering a gangland killing to cement his rise to power in the Bonanno organized crime family.

A Brooklyn jury had deliberated over the course of four days before finding Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano guilty of murder, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges.

The federal trial of the one-time owner of the Hello Gorgeous beauty salon featured testimony by former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, the highest-ranking member of the city's five Italian organized crime families to break their sacred vow of silence and testify against one of their own.

Massino, 68, began talking with investigators after his 2004 conviction for orchestrating a quarter-century's worth of murder, racketeering and other crimes as he rose through the ranks of the Bonannos. The bloodshed included the shotgun slayings of three rival captains and the execution of a mobster who vouched for FBI undercover agent Donnie Brasco in the 1980s. Brasco's story became a movie starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.

While imprisoned together in 2005, the former Bonanno boss agreed to wear a wire and betray Basciano, a gangster known for his meticulously groomed hair, sharp suits and hot temper. Before trial, Basciano won approval to have access to five different suits to wear to court -- one for each day of the week.

Jurors heard one recording of Basciano boasting, "I'm a hoodlum, I'm a tough guy. Whatever happens happens. Let's go."

The same jury will decide whether Basciano should be put to death in the trial's penalty phase, which begins next Monday.


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