Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1987
Copyright 1987 Chicago Tribune Company
May 15, 1987 Friday, SPORTS FINAL EDITION
CHICAGOLAND; Pg. 1;
LINKED TO HIT ON SPILOTROS
By Ronald Koziol.
a longtime mob muscle man slain last September, was
targeted for death because he botched the burials of gang leader Anthony
Spilotro and his brother Michael after they were killed three months
earlier, according to new information received by federal agents and
"The plan mapped out by crime syndicate bosses was that the bodies of
the brothers were never to be found." a federal source who asked not to
be identified said Thursday. "But when they were, it meant somebody had
to pay for the blunder."
A week after the brothers left Michael's Oak Park home on June 14, 1986,
their badly beaten bodies were discovered in a makeshift grave in an
Indiana cornfield. A farmer noticed the newly turned ground and,
suspecting that the remains of a deer killed out of season had been
buried by poachers, called police.
Speculation at the time was that if the bodies had been buried in an
adjacent wooded area just 30 feet from the cornfield, they might never
have been found.
Federal sources said Fecarotta
apparently supervised the
Spilotro murder crew and picked the spot where they were to be buried.
"Maybe somebody got lazy or they made a mistake, particularly if they
buried the bodies at night," the source said.
On Sept. 14, exactly three months after the brothers' disappearance,
58, a former union business agent and suspect in two
previous murders, was gunned down in a doorway of a bingo hall at 6050
W. Belmont Ave., as he tried to flee from his assailant.
The shooting was witnessed by at least three persons who have been
unable to make any positive identification of the killer after viewing
FBI and police photos.
Police Lt. John Minogue, commander of the Grand-Central violent crimes
unit, said that police also had been told by their underworld informants
was held responsible by syndicate leaders who had
ordered the slayings of the Spilotro brothers, because their bodies were
"We have the same report, but we're still no closer to solving the
murder than we were on the day it happened," Minogue said.
Police records show that Fecarotta,
as long ago as 1965, was
identified as a collector for crime syndicate loan sharks. He was also
listed by federal agents as being a member of the mob's South Side "26th
Street crew," which controls the rackets in the 1st Ward and nearby
U.S. Justice Department attorneys have described the crew, headed by
imprisoned mobster Angelo LaPietra, as the Chicago crime syndicate's
enforcement arm and specifically charged with handling murders within
Investigators also noted that Fecarotta's
slaying was the only
gangland killing in the Chicago area since the deaths of the Spilotros.
Anthony Spilotro was considered expendable by Chicago mob bosses after
most of the members of his Las Vegas gang were jailed and profits from
illegal rackets had dried up, according to police. There were also
reports that Spilotro had hoped to seize control of the mob from its
reputed new boss, Joseph Ferriola.
Federal sources had disclosed last month that the plan by Chicago mob
bosses was for the Spilotros to "disappear." A "temporary" boss was to
be named to handle the Las Vegas operations that Anthony Spilotro had
headed since 1973, the agents were told.
"It was to be a smooth transition--like a silent takeover--with the
Chicago mob continuing to take part and share in the profits of the Las
Vegas rackets but without Spilotro," according to a federal source.
Probably the most bizarre part of the murder plot, the source said, was
the mob's plan to feed phony information to the FBI that Spilotro and
his brother were very much alive and were seen from time to time in
Europe and other areas.
The elaborate ruse was to include planting the brothers' clothing or
other personal items in hotel rooms to indicate they had been there but
had fled hurriedly. When the brothers' bodies were found they were
wearing only underwear.
The discovery of the bodies foiled the scheme and, investigators