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Friday, 13 May 2011

Emilio Fusco, a convicted gangster from Longmeadow and the fourth defendant in the Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno case, is en route to the United States after being arrested as a fugitive in southern Italy last summer

23:16 | ,

Emilio Fusco, a convicted gangster from Longmeadow and the fourth defendant in the Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno case, is en route to the United States after being arrested as a fugitive in southern Italy last summer, according to federal prosecutors.

Fusco, 42, had been fighting extradition after allegedly fleeing there before he was charged in the Bruno case in 2010. Three of his co-defendants went to trial in a Manhattan federal court in March, were convicted of racketeering, murder and other crimes and face life sentences. U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel ruled that Fusco’s absence should not hold up that trial, and set Fusco aside to be tried alone.

Fusco is accused of helping plot a contract hit against Bruno on Nov. 23, 2003. Witnesses said the murder was carried out, in part, because Fusco argued to senior mobsters in New York City that Bruno had outed Fusco as a “made guy” in the Genovese crime family to an FBI agent.

The revelation was documented in a presentencing report in a 1999 federal racketeering case against Fusco, which local mobsters presented to New York crime bosses, who sanctioned Bruno’s killing, according to witnesses who testified at trial. Bruno, 57, was shot dead in a parking lot by paid gunman Frankie Roche.

Fusco, who served a two-year prison sentence for loan-sharking before launching a Dumpster business in western Massachusetts, also is accused in the grisly 2003 murder of mob associate Gary D. Westerman.

Westerman disappeared three weeks before Bruno’s death. Genovese associate-turned-government witness Anthony J. Arillotta, of Springfield, told jurors that he and Fusco bludgeoned Westerman with shovels after Fotios and Ty Geas, brothers from West Springfield, shot Westerman outside a home in Agawam.

Arillotta testified that Westerman, his brother-in-law and frequent partner-in-crime of the Geases, was lured to the house under the guise of committing a home invasion. Westerman’s body was recovered in an eight-foot makeshift grave in the woods behind the house on Springfield Street last year, after Arillotta led law enforcement officials to the burial site.

Westerman’s remains were recovered along with a mask and stun gun – presumably intended for the home invasion – plus an empty pack of cigarettes prosecutors argued were Fusco’s brand of choice.

William Aronwald, a defense lawyer for Fusco, has said his client traveled to Italy to visit family frequently, and did not flee to avoid being prosecuted. He also denied Fusco’s involvement in either murder.

The Geases and New York crime boss Arthur “Artie” Nigro were convicted at trial and are scheduled to formally be sentenced to life in prison by Castel on July 15. Arillotta, Roche and two other cooperating witnesses pleaded guilty in the Bruno murder and are expected to receive reduced sentences in return for their testimony.

Fusco’s return to the States was delayed as lawyers wrangled over whether he would face a potential death penalty for the capital murder charges. Italy, along with many other European countries, will not extradite citizens exposed to lethal injection. He is scheduled for an initial appearance in the southern district of New York on Monday.

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