Top 5 Lucchese Mafia Family Murders of All-Time
1 The Lufthansa Heist Murders – In the months after the Lucchese Family’s legendary Irish crew leader James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke engineered the biggest robbery in U.S. history, stealing over eight million dollars of cash and jewelry from the Lufthansa Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, Burke decided to kill several of his co-conspirators, both to cut ties between him and the daring heist and so he could pocket the majority of the proceeds of the score himself. Lucchese mob associates Marty Krugman, Richard Eaton, Tommy Monteleone, Louie Cafora, Joseph (Joe Buddha) Manri, Robert (Frenchy) McMahon and Parnell (Stacks) Edwards all wound up dead over the next six months, as did wiseguy Paulo LiCastri, the Gambino Family’s liaison to the heist and Theresa Ferrara, Monteleone’s girlfriend and Joanna Cafora, Louie Cafora’s, recent bride, for their knowledge of the headline-grabbing robbery. Jimmy the Gent, a longtime confidant of Queens-based Lucchese capo Paul Vario and someone the FBI connected to dozens of gangland homicides in his multiple decades in the rackets, died in prison in 1996, serving a 20 year-sentence for shaving points in college basketball games. A number of the murders linked to the Lufthansa Heist hit parade, were depicted in the gangster film classic, Goodfellas (1990), where Robert De Niro was cast as Burke.
2 The Mafia Cop Murders – Disgraced NYPD detectives Louie Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa worked as a personal hit team for Lucchese Family don, Vittorio (Little Vic) Amuso and his underboss Anthony (Gas Pipe) Casso during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s. The pair of mob moles with badges were convicted on eight different counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2006. Lucchese associates Jimmy Hydell and Otto Heidel, syndicate soliders, Bruno Facciolo and Anthony DiLapi, Gambino Family capos Eddie Lino and Bobby Boriello and an innocent man named Nicky Guido, the victim of mistaken identity, were each victims of the cops-turned-mercenaries’ body-trail.
3 William (Billy Bats) Bentavena – A “made” member of the Gambino Crime Family recently released from prison after serving six years on a drug-dealing bust, Bentavena was killed by enraged Lucchese associate Thomas (Two-Gun Tommy) DeSimone on June 11, 1970, in a murder that was depicted on the silver screen in probably the most iconic scene from Goodfellas, with Joe Pesci portraying Two-Gun Tommy and grizzled mob character actor Frank Vincent playing Billy Bats. Hours after Bentavena was sprung from the clink the month before, he got into a verbal altercation with DeSimone at his coming home party when Billy Bats began making fun of the notoriously hot-tempered DeSimone regarding a childhood shoe-shine business DeSimone once ran. Less than three weeks later, Bentavena was lured to Lucchese-run bar and lounge, The Suite in Queens and attacked by DeSimone and Jimmy the Gent Burke, DeSimone’s mentor and one of the most respected and feared non-Italian mobsters ever. While in the process of driving Billy Batts’ body upstate to bury it, DeSimone, Burke and close friend and Lucchese associate Henry Hill discovered Batts was still alive in the trunk, leading them to pull over and stab him another 30-40 times to finish him off. Bentavena was allied with a young, up-and-comer in the Gambinos, named John Gotti, some 15 years away from ascending to “Teflon Don” status, but juiced in enough at that juncture to get permission to whack Two-Gun Tommy before the decade was through (January 4, 1979). Pesci won an Oscar for his role as DeSimone.
4 Anthony (Buddy) Luongo – Short-lived boss of the crime family for a year in the mid-1980s, Luongo was allegedly killed by his own protégé, Little Vic Amuso and his crew on orders from jailed Lucchese don, Anthony (Tony Ducks) Corrallo, Luongo’s own mentor, on December 12, 1986. Drawn to Amuso’s hangout, The 19th Hole Bar and Grill in Brooklyn, Luongo was driven by Amuso to a house nearby where he received two bullets in the back of the head as he sat down at the kitchen table for a cup of coffee. Luongo was clipped for being too greedy and wanting to isolate Corrallo from his troops and gangland assets, a situation the power-driven Amuso took advantage of to launch his own bloody reign atop the Lucchese throne in the years to come.
5 (tie) Vincent Papa – Lucchese Family drug lieutenant and racketeer, Papa was killed inside the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, stabbed to death on July 26, 1977 by members of the Aryan Brotherhood on a contract taken out jointly by Lucchese leaders and Genovese Jewish narcotics enforcer Herbie Sperling, when they found out Papa had made a deal with then-U.S. Prosecutor and future New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, implicating dirty cops. The Lucchese’s representative in the notorious French Connection drug conspiracy, Papa subsequently masterminded the follow-up French Connection heroin heist from New York Police Property Clerk’s Office, where 400 kilos of uncut ‘H’ disappeared in 1971 from the office’s evidence room and reappeared on the streets. Sperling would eventually be charged for ordering Papa’s jailhouse slaying, but was acquitted at trial, where an AB named Theodore (Tattoo) Blasko was convicted for the actual murder. A fictionalized version of Papa was converted into actor Tony Lo Bianco’s “Sal Bocca” character in the smash-hit film made on the case, starring Gene Hackman that won the Oscar for best picture.
5 (tie) Dominick (The Gap) Petrilli – One-time driver and bodyguard for Tommy Gagliano, the syndicate’s don that preceded crime family namesake Tommy (Three Finger Brown) Lucchese, Petrilli was slain December, 9, 1953, felled by a trio of gunmen as he sat on a bar stool in the Bronx. Rumors had been swirling that he was cooperating with law enforcement following his return from Italy, where the narcotic lieutenant had been deported a decade earlier. It was widely believed on the street at the time of his death that Petrilli had traded information on his fellow mobsters in the Luccheses in exchange for the United States allowing him to come back to New York.