John Santucci was born on April 2, 1931 to Tommaso “Thomas” Santucci and Mary Pagano. His father, an Italian immigrant who traveled to America in 1905 at the age of 17, only had an eighth-grade education, but experience as a plasterer and worked as a building contractor during the building boom in Queens in the 1930s. John, his parents and two brothers lived in a home at 130-07 116 Ave. in South Ozone Park.
Santucci graduated from St. John’s Law School in 1953 and married his wife, Edna Ann Hayes, one year later. He entered Democratic politics and was appointed by Gov. Hugh Carey as the Queens County district attorney on Dec. 30, 1976 after DA Nicholas Ferraro was named a judge. Santucci was elected to and held his position from 1977 to 1991 and was embroiled in high-profile cases such as the Howard Beach hate crime killing of Michael Griffith and prosecution of former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro’s (D-Queens, Brooklyn) husband, John Zaccaro, for trying to secure a bribe from a cable company to enter the Queens marketplace.
Santucci retired in 1991 and was succeeded by Richard Brown. The former DA spent his retirement between New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. before passing away on June 30, 2016 at the age of 85.