Today in History: 100-Year Prison Sentences for Seven Mafia Members
By M. C. Millman
Three top bosses and four mafia underlings were sentenced to a hundred years each in prison on January 13, 1987, for participating in the Mafia commission that had ruled the Mafia since Prohibition and had spread its reach throughout the United States.
The ten-week-long trial started in November and ran into December 1986. It became known as the Mafia Commission Case, and the subsequent sentencing marked the first solid proof to the public that such a commission existed and that there actually was a mafia made up of bosses from five New York crime families that were terrorizing and ruling across the U.S. with an iron fist.
From day one, the Manhattan courtroom was always standing room only. Gawkers arrived early to assure themselves a place in the courtroom to watch the proceedings.
Over the course of the ten weeks, 85 witnesses were called to the stand, and 150 tape recordings were played for the jury.
When the sentencing was made, the judge stated that he was not only sentencing the men, whom he called ruthless racketeers, but "overall crime." He pronounced all eight guilty of racketeering, conspiracy, and operating a Mafia Commission.
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno was sentenced for having "essentially spent a lifetime terrorizing the community for your financial advantage," according to Judge Owen.
Carmine "Junior" Persico was sentenced for his role as an "upper member" of the Mafia echelon "that lives, succeeds on murder and violence."
Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo received the same 100-year sentence as did Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella, Salvatore Santoro, Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari Sr., and Ralph "Little Ralphie" Scopo.
Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato was sentenced to 40 years for the murders of Carmine Galante and his two bodyguards.
Judge Owen said that all eight would be eligible for parole after ten years under federal law, but he recommended that they all be denied parole.
The 10-week Commission trial was the first solid blow against the powerful Mafia, which ruled the unions across the country with an iron fist.
"It is not unrealistic to say that at some time in the future, we will destroy the Mafia," U.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said at the time. "Judge Owen gave the kind of sentences that you have to give to habitual criminals, that are, at the bottom, murderers."