Witness Testifies How Plot to Kill Officer Was Set Up
The New York Times
By MOSI SECRET
March 27, 2012
An admitted hit man for the Mafia recalled a ride he took with his boss through the streets of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Thomas Gioeli is on trial for murder and racketeering.
Police Officer Ralph Dols was killed in 1997. A witness described it in court as a mob-ordered murder. Photo: New York Police Department
“He pointed out a car. He pointed out a house. And he gave me a little piece of paper with a license plate on it,” the hit man, Dino Calabro, testified on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
That piece of paper, which Mr. Calabro said was from Thomas Gioeli, a reputed mob boss who is on trial for murder and racketeering, was as good as a death warrant, Mr. Calabro said. Not long after that ride, Mr. Calabro said, he staked out the house and was part of a crew that executed its occupant outside.
He said he learned a day later that the man he killed that day in 1997 was a police officer, Ralph C. Dols. Mr. Calabro said that he saw a newspaper and that Officer Dols was “on the front page.”
“First I was amazed,” he continued. “I was like, wow. Then I got in the car to go see Tommy,” because he knew that he had broken a Mafia code.
“You don’t hurt kids,” he said. “You don’t kill cops.”
Mr. Calabro, who has confessed to eight murders and is working with the authorities, was testifying against Mr. Gioeli, whom officials called the former acting boss of the Colombo crime family, and another of Mr. Gioeli’s alleged hit men, Dino Saracino, who prosecutors said was part of the crew that killed Officer Dols, and who is Mr. Calabro’s cousin.
Mr. Calabro said he and Mr. Gioeli had been told that the target was a Mexican man who worked in a Queens club.
Officer Dols had married a woman, Kim T. Kennaugh, who was previously married to three men associated with the Colombo crime family. One of them, Enrico Carrini, was killed in 1987; the most recent former husband was Joel Cacace, also known as Joe Waverly, described by officials as a consigliere, or top mob adviser.
Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Cacace of ordering Officer Dols’s murder because it was embarrassing that Ms. Kennaugh would leave a powerful mobster for someone in law enforcement. He is awaiting trial on murder and other charges. The murder of Officer Dols disturbed Mr. Calabro so much that he said he asked Mr. Gioeli “if we should kill” Mr. Cacace.
Asked why, Mr. Calabro explained it was because he felt that Mr. Cacace had endangered them by asking to have a police officer killed. “Tommy said, ‘Let me see.’ It was never brought up again.”
After they killed Officer Dols, the men involved, always fearful they were being watched, used a code to refer to him: a hand motion mimicking a syringe penetrating the arm, because they thought they would be sentenced to die by lethal injection for the murder, which took place two years after New York reinstated the death penalty. But they did not stop killing, Mr. Calabro said.
He described the murder of William Cutolo Sr., a Colombo family acting underboss whose body was found in 2008.
The plan to kill Mr. Cutolo also started with a ride, this time to a church garden in Massapequa, N.Y., where Mr. Gioeli liked to pray, Mr. Calabro said.
Mr. Calabro said Mr. Gioeli touched his heart and made a gesture with his hand, signaling that Mr. Cutolo should be killed. The Colombo leadership was afraid that Mr. Cutolo would make a push to take over the crime family, Mr. Calabro said.
They set up a meeting with Mr. Cutolo. They decided that Mr. Gioeli would drive Mr. Cutolo to the home of one of his hit men, Mr. Saracino, and they would kill Mr. Cutolo there, Mr. Calabro testified.
“When the time came, we were sitting in the basement,” he said. “We seen one set of legs walking by, not two. I went outside to see who it was, and it was Billy Cutolo. I shook hands with him.”
“He asked me where to go,” Mr. Calabro continued in a choppy pace that characterized much of his testimony. “I showed him the stairs. He walked ahead. I pulled out my gun and shot him in the head.”
“I closed the door. I went outside. I seen Tommy. He said, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘It’s done.’ ”
They hog-tied him and put him in plastic, and buried him in a wooded lot on Long Island.
Asked by a prosecutor, James D. Gatta, why he killed for the mob, Mr. Calabro said: “I wanted to be inducted into the crime family. And it was an order.”