With One Year Left in Custody, a Hit Man's Puzzling Escape

Dominic Taddeo, contract killer for Rochester crime families, is back in custody
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2022 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2022 12:00 AM CDT

Update: The mob hit man who escaped federal custody has been captured, one week later. Dominic Taddeo was taken back into custody in Florida's Miami-Dade County without incident Monday around 11am, CNN reports. That's about 273 miles south of the halfway house he was assigned to in the state, NBC News reports. Our original story from Saturday follows:

In mid-February, Dominic Taddeo, a convicted hit man for organized-crime families in Rochester, NY, was transferred from a medium-security prison in Coleman, Fla., to a nearby residential halfway house. His stay there, however, was short-lived: According to the Bureau of Prisons, Taddeo has escaped from federal custody, never returning after an approved medical appointment last month, reports the Democrat & Chronicle. The "find an inmate" section of the Bureau of Prisons website shows the 64-year-old escaped on Monday. Taddeo, who fatally shot three men in 1982 and 1983, had just one year or so left before his release.

The Guardian notes Taddeo pleaded guilty in 1992 to racketeering charges that included those killings, for which he was sentenced to 54 years in prison. Taddeo also tried twice in 1983—once in April, then again in November—to assassinate Thomas Marotta, one of Rochester's most notorious mob leaders, after being contracted to do so. Although Taddeo hit Marotta both times, the latter man survived the murder attempts. In 2020, Taddeo lobbied for a compassionate release, due to COVID and his own supposed health issues, but his request was denied. Prosecutors say medical records didn't indicate Taddeo had any particularly serious health issues that would've necessitated release.

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Meanwhile, experts are scratching their heads on why he chose now to flee, with such a short time left behind bars. "It's the dumbest thing he could have done," Jerry Capeci, an ex-New York Daily News journalist who now writes a column about the Mafia for Gang Land News, tells the New York Times. "Either there's something wrong upstairs, or something bad happened to him." Gary Jenkins, a former mob investigator in Kansas City, Mo., says that despite Taddeo's innocuous appearance—he wore glasses and was a little overweight—he was "one of the most vicious hit men of the Rochester family" and may prove savvy at eluding authorities. "If you look back, he thinks big," Jenkins says. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was gone for a long time." (More mobsters stories.)

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