Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano

More Gravano Notches

Prior to his association with John Gotti, Gravano had been involved in eight murders over a fourteen-year period. Since becoming a member of Gottis inner circle, he played a role in the deaths of eleven men in six years.

After the murders of Castellano and Bilotti in 1985, the next person on Gravanos hit parade was Nick Mormando. Known as Nicky Cowboy, Mormando became addicted to crack cocaine and, according to Gravano, became a renegade and went berserk. Joe Paruta shot Mormando in the back of the head and his body was left in an empty lot. This murder was followed by the aforementioned slaying of Robert DiBernardo.

In 1987 another member of Gravanos crew, Mike DeBatt, also became addicted to crack cocaine. DeBatts father had been close with Gravano and after his death, Sammy had taken the younger DeBatt under his wing the same as he had done with Joey DAngelo. In this case it was DeBatts wife who went to Gravano for help. Sammy responded by having young Mike murdered while he tended bar at Talis. Gravano claimed, This just tore my fucking insides out. Gravano doesnt mention how it affected the DeBatt family.

The following year Gravano was involved in three murders. First was Louis Milito in March 1988. Gravano received permission from Gotti to kill his old Ramper gang partner. Milito had badmouthed Gravanos decision to promote Louis Vallario to crew chief when Sammy was named acting consigliere. Next was Francesco Oliverri in May. Oliverri, a pasta factory employee and father of three, had killed a man in a fistfight during an altercation in an apartment building hallway. The victim had been a member of John Gambinos crew. Gambino went to Gotti for revenge. Gotti gave the assignment to Gravano with orders to use Robert Bisaccia, a soldier in a New Jersey crew that the family was looking to promote. On May 3, while Gravano sat in a stolen getaway car, Bisaccia shot Oliverri in the head as he sat in his car outside his home.

The last murder of 1988 was Wilfred Willie Boy Johnson. Gravano explains, John discussed how it should go, using me to bounce off ideas about the best way to do it. That was my only involvement. Johnsons murder was actually carried out by members of the Bonanno family on August 29, 1988.

Thomas Spinelli was the only entry on the Gravano murder log for 1989. Spinelli was a member of James Faillas crew and had recently testified before a grand jury, an indiscretion punishable by death according to Gravano. Spinelli was about to be called again when Gravano arranged his murder inside a Brooklyn factory owned by the son of a Gambino Family member. In the mid-1990s James Failla, Dan Marino and Joe Watts would all be sent to prison for their role in this murder.

The last two murders Gravano was involved in came in 1990. The first was Eddie Garofalo not to be confused with Gravanos brother-in-law Edward Garafola. A demolition contractor known as Cousin Eddie, in 1985 he illegally demolished four buildings in Times Square in the middle of the night. On August 9 Garofalo was shot to death by Gravano crewmembers in front of his Brooklyn home.

The nineteenth and final murder attributed to Gravano was onetime business partner and later nemesis Louis DiBono in October 1990. Gravano, who had been envious of DiBonos drywall business, describes the turn of events:

He was still robbing the family and I asked for permission to take him out. But John had a meeting with DiBono, and DiBono told John that he had a billion dollars of drywall work that was coming out of the World Trade Center. John bit, hook, line and sinker, and refused my request. John said he would handle DiBono personally and become his partner. But DiBono was up to his old tricks double-dealing. He had obviously been bullshitting John. So when John called Louie in for meetings to discuss their new partnership, DiBono didnt show up. John was humiliated.

This meant an automatic death penalty. John gave the contract to DiBonos captain, Pat Conte. Conte botched an ideal opportunity to kill DiBono. Then, as Gotti grew increasingly impatient, Conte explained that the problem now was trying to corner DiBono again. Whenever a meeting with him was arranged, DiBono never appeared.

It was a joke, what was going on. I couldnt help laughing to myself. I told John why didnt Pat simplify everything. Just call Louie up and tell him to hang himself. Ten months went by. John looks like an asshole. He was too embarrassed even to ask me for help.

Another contractor, unaware of DiBonos predicament, innocently provided Gravano with DiBonos whereabouts. Gravano quickly relayed the information to Gotti and within days, DiBonos body was found inside his car parked in the World Trade Center parking lot.

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