New York Post: Instant Rat Stuns Mob Trial by Turning on Defense

April 24, 2012 in News

By Josh Saul

Well, that went badly.

A plan to call a cousin of reputed mob boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli to testify on the accused murderer’s behalf backfired terribly yesterday when the paesan claimed that the Colombo chief had approved a gangland slaying.

The Brooklyn federal courtroom where Gioeli is on trial erupted in pandemonium after the bombshell testimony by Thomas McLaughlin, who had described how Gioeli approved the 1991 revenge killing of Frank “Chestnut” Marasa.

“How’s ‘Joey Caves’?” Gioeli yelled at McLaughlin after the latter’s cross-examination by prosecutors, referring to mob turncoat Joseph Competiello, who had already testified against him.

McLaughlin, 42, hollered right back, “Richie says hello!” — an apparently sarcastic reference to former Marine and Colombo crime associate Richard Greaves, who was rubbed out in 1995.

Gioeli, 59, is accused of OK’ing the murder of Greaves and allegedly directed mob subordinates where to bury him.

The family feud spilled over to the court gallery, where a female supporter of Gioeli yelled at McLaughlin — who had held his hand over his face for much of his testimony — “I have to keep my mouth covered whenIlie!”

Gioeli’s lawyers were playing with fire when they called McLaughlin to the witness stand. Although related by blood, he is also a government witness.

“I know Gioeli since I was a kid,” McLaughlin testified.

He said he had introduced his cousin to Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, a Colombo capo who testified against Gioeli at the start of the trial.

McLaughlin — himself a former Colombo associate — said he became affiliated with Gioeli and his crew in the 1980s.

Asked by Gioeli’s lawyer, Adam Perlmutter, what role he played in Marasa’s murder, McLaughlin answered, “I drove Richie Greaves and Dino Calabro” to the scene where Greaves and Calabro fatally shot Marasa.

Under cross-examination by Assistant US Attorney Liz Geddes, McLaughlin added another detail about Marasa’s murder.

He said that, right before the killing, Calabro told him that Gioeli had approved both the hit and the two men assigned to carry it out.

Gioeli and his alleged associate, Dino “Little Dino” Saracino, 39, are charged in a combined six murders.