The Mafia captain held responsible for a double homicide committed 33 years ago in Woodhaven will die in prison, just like the man he used to work for, John Gotti.
Bartolomeo “Bobby Glasses” Vernace, 65, was sentenced last week to life in prison plus 10 years, without chance of parole, by U.S. Court Judge Sandra L. Townes.
A longtime mobster who ran with the Gambino crime family since the 1970s, and eventually became one of three people in charge of it, Vernace had been found guilty last year of a racketeering conspiracy that included the killings in Queens, heroin dealing, robbery, loansharking and gambling.
The murders were committed on April 11, 1981, at the Shamrock Bar, located at 86-06 Jamaica Ave. They were prompted by a spilled drink.
The victims, John D’Agnese, 22, and Richard Godkin, 35, owned the bar. When a patron spilled a drink on a woman who was there with one of Vernace’s pals, Frank Riccardi, an argument ensued. D’Agnese asked Riccardi to leave. He did, but returned with Vernace and another reputed mobster. The three then shot D’Agnese and Godkin in front of multiple witnesses.
Vernace went into hiding for years but then returned to Queens and ran his mob crew from a club in Glendale. He eventually was tried in state court but got off. One witness in the federal case said he had lied in the state trial out of fear for retribution from the mob.
Riccardi also beat a state trial and later died, while charges against the third alleged killer were dropped.
The federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, said Bartolomeo “dedicated his life to committing crimes for the Mafia,” while D’Agnese and Godkin were innocent men who also ran the local Boys’ Club.