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Queens Chronicle

Two more charged in Antoniello murder in Ozone Park

Suspects face death penalty if convicted

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 5:46 pm

Two Manhattan men are facing federal charges for their alleged role in the 2009 murder of the son of an Ozone Park pizzeria owner in a botched home invasion.

Antoine Burroughs, 25 and Leon Whitfield, 23, were charged with one count each of attempted robbery, weapons possession and murder. Whitfield is in custody, but Burroughs was still at large, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who announced the charges.

The two are accused of taking part in the Sept. 9, 2009 invasion of the North Conduit Avenue home of Bartolomeo Antoniello, then-owner of Romeo’s Pizzeria on Cross Bay Boulevard. Burroughs and Whitfield are accused of trying to break into the home as Antoniello came home from work that day. While they attempted to rob Antoniello, his son, Gerardo Antoniello, stepped in to try to protect his father and was shot in the head. He later died of his injuries. 

Antoniello sold the pizzeria and died several months after his son’s murder. The family later moved out of the home. 

The suspects could face the death penalty if they are convicted. 

Antoniello’s murder was allegedly part of an ongoing spree of home invasions perpetrated by one group. 

Francis LaCorte, an alleged Gambino mobster, was convicted in 2012 of being the ringleader who recruited the gang that targeted three homes in South Queens, including Antoniello’s. He was sentenced to 50 years to life.

An accomplice to LaCorte, Vincent Mineo, previously got 20 years in a plea deal. Cops say they cased the neighborhood, identified target homes and then dispatched hired men to rob them. 

Other accomplices who went to prison for the murder include Jason Burrell and Rashod Cowan, both of whom were arrested a few months after the killing and convicted for their part in it. Both struck deals with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in exchange for testifying against LaCorte and other suspects.   

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