Ex-Mob Boss Gives Tell-All Testimony

Joseph Massino breaks code, tells jury of murders he ordered
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2011 9:00 AM CDT
Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, the head of the Bonanno crime family for 14 years, is seen in this undated file photo released by the US Attorney's Office.   (AP Photo/US Attorneys Office, File)

(Newser) – Joseph Massino wasted no time getting to the juicy stuff when he was brought to the stand yesterday. Asked by the prosecutors what powers he had as head of the Bonanno crime family, the first word out of his mouth was, “Murders.” Massino spent the next five hours giving his life story, including a lengthy catalog of murders he’d ordered or carried out, the New York Times reports. He was testifying against former acting boss Vincent Basciano, but spent most of the day establishing his own bona fides.

He explained that he’d run away from home at age 14, hitchhiked to Florida, and eventually gotten into the murder business. He detailed how he orchestrated his rise to the top—including the killings of three senior Bonanno figures, which he cleared with the Gambino and Colombo families first. And as a former restaurateur, he peppered his talk with food metaphors. “If you need somebody to kill somebody, you need workers,” he said. “It takes all kinds of meat to make a good sauce.”

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