WATTS THE STORY ON
By Jerry Capeci
JOHN GOTTI'S longtime pal,
Joseph Watts, got to see Staten Island last Friday afternoon for the first
time in a year, but not the ritzy Rosebank section he called
Watts took a short stroll in the island's St.
George business district - from the Staten Island District Attorney's
office to the Supreme Court. There, he pleaded innocent to kidnap and
murder charges in the 1987 torture slaying of an emotionally disturbed
man, who was thought to have pegged a shot at Gotti outside the Bergin
Hunt and Fish Club. (right)
After entering the plea in the April 29, 1987
slaying of William
Ciccone, Watts was hustled back over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to
his home for at least the next couple of months - the Brooklyn House of
Watts, who pleaded guilty to
federal murder charges in February, "was ordered by Gotti to kill Ciccone
for allegedly shooting at the Gambino crime boss outside his South Ozone
Park social club," said Staten Island District Attorney William
Nine years ago, Gotti and his crew were at the top
of their game and openly flaunted their gangster lifestyle at the club.
That day, Gotti's pals heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot.
They chased Ciccone, grabbed him, stuffed him in a car trunk and drove him
to Staten Island, where he was "tortured for several hours by Watts," and
then shot in the head, Murphy said.
The case lay dormant until former Gambino mobster
Dominick (Fat Dom) Borghese began cooperating with authorities and told
them Watts had pumped six shots into Ciccone's head.
54, will conclude his six-year federal sentence before his 59th birthday.
If convicted of Ciccone's murder, however, he faces an additional 25 years
to life in state prison.
Despite that very bleak possibility, Watts,
(right) looking elegant in a gray suit, white shirt and black tie, was
upbeat as he strolled down Richmond Terrace, smiling and chatting softly
with the detectives who ushered him along. A silver white mane had
replaced the jet black pompadour that had been a Watts trademark. The
federal lockup in West Virginia apparently doesn't stock Grecian
THE betting scandal involving the Boston
College football team brought back memories of another dapper and
murderous gangster, James (Jimmy The Gent) Burke, who died of cancer in an
upstate prison in April.
Burke, who bankrolled a
point-shaving scheme with the help of BC basketball players during the
1978-79 season, masterminded a daring, predawn $5.8 million robbery at
Kennedy Airport's Lufthansa cargo terminal in the middle of the moderately
lucrative betting operation.
The robbery was the focal point of the excellent
gangster movie, "Goodfellas," which starred Robert DeNiro (right) in the
Burke role. No members of the robbery team were ever charged with the
heist, and none of the money was ever recovered. But Burke, three members
of his operation and a reserve forward on the BC Eagles were convicted of
federal sports bribery charges and sent to prison.
While serving eight years on the federal rap,
Burke was convicted of murder and died while serving a 20-year-to-life
LEGENDARY Colombo capo John
(Sonny) Franzese is in better physical shape than many men half his age,
but the 77-year-old gangster keeps pushing the envelope and is back in
prison - for two more years.
Sentenced to 50 years in 1967 for heading a
Queens-based bank robbery ring, Franzese has been released on parole more
times than Gang Land can remember. Each time, however, he manages to do
something to work his way back into the joint.
This time, it was a bowl of spinach soup he had
back in February at a Great Neck, L.I. restaurant with two Colombo hoods.
That's a no-no. He's not supposed to associate with known criminals, even
if they're pals.
Franzese got the news two weeks ago, but he's
already served nearly nine months so, with good time off, he could be home
for the Christmas holidays - but not until next year.