‘Goodfellas’ mobster gets 8 years for arson, says he’ll die in prison
It didn’t matter that he was acquitted in the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist, the murder of a believed government informant or at base, the decades of organized crime in the Bonanno crime family. The hobbling 82-year-old Vincent Asaro was sentenced to eight years in prison at Brooklyn’s federal court on Thursday for car arson, a term he called his “death sentence.”
Asaro hoped his criminal history wouldn’t come back to haunt him as his attorney, Elizabeth Macedonio urged Judge Allyne Ross to solely consider the arson Asaro pleaded guilty to in June.
But prosecutors submitted detailed accounts of Asaro’s life of crime, focusing on the murder of Paul Katz and the $6 million Kennedy Airport heist immortalized in the film, “Goodfellas,” for consideration of their proposed 15-year sentence.
“Mr. Asaro is here today to be sentenced for arson,” Macedonio said. “What they’re really asking for, judge is a life sentence for arson.”
Judge Ross made it clear in a nearly 10-minute detailing of Asaro’s accused crimes that she thought prosecutors proved his guilt in the 2015 trial she presided over.
Asaro’s relatives gradually teared and shook their heads in the court audience before one woman stormed out of the courtroom mumbling swears.
With still slicked-back white hair in his tan prison jump suit, Asaro swiveled in his chair when Ross dealt the sentence, barely looking at her for the rest of the proceeding.
Asaro would likely be around 87 when released from prison, accounted for time served, but when he ordered a driver’s car that cut him off in traffic be torched, he was 77.
With his “explosive temper,” as Judge Ross put it, Asaro called a Gambino crime family associate to get the driver’s address using a law enforcement database. The next day, Asaro called a Bonanno member, who hired Matthew Rullan and John J. Gotti – the grandson of the famed Gambino boss, John Gotti, to torch the car.
Gotti and Rullan both previously pleaded guilty to the crime and are awaiting sentencing while Asaro was already ordered to pay $21,276 restitution for the burnt car.
Asaro requested the judge recommend him be sent to two nearby prisons so his family could visit, despite them not being medical facilities. As his poor health history sat documented in front of him in four stacked manila envelopes, Judge Ross questioned his plea.
“I don’t care what happens to me at this point,” Asaro told the judge. “What you’re sentencing me to is a death sentence.”
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