A Brooklyn federal jury on Wednesday chose life — in prison that is — over death for one-time acting Bonanno crime family boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, who was accused by a fellow wiseguy during the death penalty phase of his trial of plotting to kill a federal prosecutor in 2004.
The New York Times reported that the jury passed on giving Basciano the death penalty after deliberating for less than 2 hours on Wednesday. Instead, he will serve a life sentence without parole for ordering the murder of Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo. He was not prosecuted for allegedly plotting to kill a federal prosecutor.
The juror apparently agreed with the defense argument during the death penalty phase that there were other mobsters who had committed crimes that were equal or worse, and they were not facing the death penalty, the Times reported.
The case became notable for a few reasons, one being that Bonanno crime boss Joseph C. Massino, testified against Basciano, marking the first time a boss of one of the New York Crime families had testified for the government.
Secondly, during the death penalty phase, ex-mobster Dominick Cicale testified that Basciano plotted to kill a mob-busting federal prosecutor Greg Andres at an upper East Side Italian restaurant over an issue of disrespect.
Cicale testified that a private eye passed on a message to Basciano in the spring of 2004 from then-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, who was in prison.
“Joe Massino wanted to let Vinny know the prosecutor was disrespectful … and the prosecutor ate at Campagnola’s every Thursday night,” Cicale testified. Basciano never carried out the murder.