William Grasso

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William "Wild Guy" Grasso was an Italian-American gangster from East Haven, Connecticut who served as underboss to Raymond Patriarca, Jr. (a.k.a. "Junior") in the Patriarca crime family, also known as the New England crime family, the Providence crime family or the Boston crime family. The Patriarca family is a Mafia crime family based in New England. Succeeding his father Raymond L.S. Patriarca as boss after his father's death in 1984, Junior was considered a weak leader. He managed to keep the peace in his crime family due to the support of the Gambino crime family of New York. When Junior's original underboss Ilario "Larry Baione" Maria Antonio Zannino was sentenced to thirty years in prison in 1987, it further weakened Junior's position. With Zannino in jail, Grasso became underboss.

Some law enforcement officials believed that Grasso, who was known for his ruthlessness,[1] was actually in charge, but these rumors ended when Grasso was killed on June 13, 1989.[1]

With the death of Grasso, Raymond Patriarca, Jr.'s position as boss was weakened. In 1990, Junior was superseded by Nicholas Bianco, the acting underboss after Grasso's death. In 1991, Bianco was one of the defendants tried for the murder of Grasso.[2]

Restaurateur Gaetano Milano of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a suburb of Springfield, was charged with the murder of Grasso. "Wild Guy" reportedly was murdered as the two were traveling on Interstate 91 to what Grasso believed was a meeting with Carlo Mastrototaro, a Worcester gangster, to settle a dispute about vending machine territories in Springfield. Springfield was a fiefdom of the Genovese crime family, operating with Patriarca family approval.[1]

Milano and his confederates Frank Colantoni Jr. and brothers Frank Pugliano and Louis Pugliano were convicted of conspiracy to commit racketeering. Milano was also convicted of murder. During his trial, it was found out he had recently been made a member of the Mafia.

He admitted to the murder, claiming it was part of a power struggle between the various factions of the Patriarca family and that it was a case of "kill or be killed" – that if he didn't kill Grasso, "Wild Guy" would have killed him. He was sentenced to 33 years, which was reduced by seven years after a appeals during which his attorney argued that Federal Bureau of Investigation informants, including FBI "Top Echelon" informant Angelo Mercurio, and corrupt investigators had stirred up trouble among New England gangsters, including Milano and Grasso.[3] [1] In 2012, Milano entered a pre-release program as he had been rehabilitated.[1]

Louis Pugliano, who had received a life sentence was released in 2006 after serving 15 years. His lawyers secured a resentencing agreement with prosecutors who admitted that Pugliano received ineffective counsel and was hurt by a flawed jury selection process.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Barry, Stephanie (December 11, 2011). "Organized crime in Springfield evolved through death and money". Springfield Republican. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Mahony, Edmund (30 July 1991). "Jury Asks To Rehear Fbi Tapes Referring To Grasso's Murder". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Gaetano J. Milano was sentenced in 1991 for executing William "Wild Guy" Grasso". Criminal Organizations. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
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