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1992: 'Teflon Don' jailed for life

VIDEO : Outrage from Gotti supporters over life sentence

New York crime boss John Gotti has been sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole.

The head of the city's largest Mafia family was convicted on 2 April for racketeering and five counts of murder - including the former head of the Gambino clan, Paul Castellano.

Gotti's deputy, Frank Locascio, was also sentenced to life after being found guilty of similar charges. Both men were fined $250,000 (134,500).

Several hundred Gotti-supporters had gathered outside the Brooklyn courtroom and an angry mob attempted to storm the building when the decision was announced.

Judge Leo Glasser's sentencing brought to a close the long quest to convict the man nicknamed the "Teflon Don".

Gotti, 51, had escaped repeated attempts by federal prosecutors throughout the 1980s to get charges to stick to him.

But police finally persuaded Salvatore Gravano - his former ally and right hand man - to testify against his boss in return for leniency.


"If there were more people like John Gotti on this earth, we would have a better country"

Gotti's deputy, Frank Locascio

"Sammy The Bull" told the court how Gotti had ordered the Castellano murder in 1985 and then watched the killing with him from a limousine on the opposite side of the street.

The case was secured when the prosecution played tapes of secretly recorded conversations between the Gambino godfather and his Mafia associates to the jury.

Gotti declined to respond after being sentenced but Locascio told the packed courtroom he was innocent of all charges.

"I am guilty, though, of being a good friend of John Gotti - and if there were more people like John Gotti on this earth, we would have a better country," he said.

In Context
John Gotti died of throat cancer in prison on 10 June 2002. He was 61.

Salvatore Gravano was released after five years, but was later convicted of peddling drugs in Arizona on the evidence of an informant in his own organisation.

The Teflon Don's son, John Gotti Jnr, took over the running of the Gambino family but was jailed in 1999 for bribery, extortion, gambling and fraud, and remains behind bars.


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