NYPD detective testifies officers did not question Gotti in 1983 killing
Although it remains to be proven whether John “Junior” Gotti got away with murder, news reports said a retired detective testified Friday that the son of late mob boss John Gotti wasn’t questioned by police after a 1983 killing in which he was suspected.
Gotti, 45, who is on trial for the fourth time, is accused of extortion, bribery, drug dealing, loan sharking and conspiracy to kill drug dealers George Grosso and Bruce John Gotterup.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig opened the trial last week by reminding the jury Gotti may have had a hand in killing two other victims as well: Danny Silva, who Gotti is accused of fatally stabbing in Ozone Park’s Silver Fox bar in 1983, and witness John Cennamo, who Honig said was found 14 months after the Silva slaying, hanging from a low tree branch behind a Linden Boulevard laundromat.
Retired Detective John McKinley took the stand Friday, testifying that after Silva was murdered, police never questioned Gotti about the incident. The peculiarity of this nonaction intensified as McKinley explained how Cennamo, when interviewed by cops, claimed he had seen Gotti and three other men with knives attack his friend at the bar. Later, under cross-examination, McKinley admitted that cops arrested Gotti bodyguard Mark Caputo for the Silva murder. Caputo was never convicted of the crime.
Prosecutors attempted to connect Gotti to the subsequent death of Cennamo, whom they say the Gambino crime family killed to keep from accusing them of involvement in Silva’s murder. They also said Gotti bragged about Cennamo’s hanging.
Retired NYPD Officer John Stillitano took the stand as well, saying Cennamo’s death looked like a homicide, but was ruled a suicide by cops.
Gotti’s defense attorneys accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation of unfairly targeting Gotti.
The last three Gotti trials, in 2005 and 2006, centered around charges he plotted to kidnap and kill Curtis Sliwa after the Guardian Angels founder railed against the Gotti family on his radio show. All three trials ended in hung juries and mistrials.
Gotti has repeatedly insisted, both during and after his trials, that he quit the mob in the 1990s.