By MAX NEOPIKHANOV and ARIANNA ROMIG
A former captain of the Colombo crime family testified Tuesday that ex-boss Thomas Gioeli and hit man Dino Saracino ordered him to kill multiple people, including a city police officer mysteriously slain in Brooklyn in 1997.
Dino Calabro, Saracino’s cousin, testified that Gioeli ordered him and Saracino to kill Police Officer Ralph Dols – without telling them that Dols was a cop.
“Tommy had told me he was a Mexican guy who worked in a social club,” he said.
Calabro said that Gioeli was acting on orders from Joel Cacace, who was acting head of the Colombo crime family at the time. Prosecutors say that Cacace ordered a hit on Dols because he married Cacace’s ex-wife.
Gioeli and Saracino are on trial at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on racketeering conspiracy charges that include six murders. Calabro, previously sentenced to life in prison, agreed to cooperate with authorities in January, 2009 and is seeking a reduced sentence.
A day after the slaying, Calabro saw Dols’ face on the front page of a newspaper when walking to a candy store, and found out he was an officer. “We don’t typically kill police officers,” he testified. “It’s a rule. We don’t hurt kids, and we don’t kill cops.”
The hit occurred in 1997 in front of Dols’ Brooklyn home at East 19th Street and Avenue U. In his testimony, Calabro gave details about the planning and execution of the hit. Calabro said that he had used a .44-caliber revolver and Saracino used a .45-caliber air jordan 10 automatic pistol to kill Dols. He also detailed how he and Saracino stole a car to drive to the crime scene, then fled in a brown Jaguar that belonged to Saracino.
After the slaying, Saracino and Calabro went to Saracino’s home where they hung out in the hallway and listened to their police scanner, Calabro said.
Calabro found out from relatives a few days later that police were suspicious of him and Saracino because of a parking ticket that Saracino had received in the same area. He felt he was being watched, he said.
After learning that Dols was a cop, Calabro and Saracino referred to him as “AIDS” and would gesture the motion of a needle being inserted into his arm, in reference to their belief that they would receive the death penalty if ever caught for the murder. They also discussed “taking out” Cacace, because he had “screwed them” by having them kill a police officer, Calabro said.
Calabro also testified that he had murdered William Cutolo, an underboss he said Gioeli believed was trying to become head of the family after former boss Alphonse Persico was imprisoned.
Calabro testified that Gioeli was to drive Cutolo to Saracino’s Brooklyn home, but because of a car problem, Cutolo arrived before Gioeli.
Cutolo “went in, I went in behind him, closed the door, pulled out my gun and shot him in the back of the head,” Calabro said. According to Calabro, Gioeli arrived minutes later and Calabro told him it was done.
Calabro said he and Saracino buried the body in Farmingdale, Long Island, where it was recovered in 2008.
When asked why he committed the murders, Calabro said: “I wanted to be inducted into the crime family.”
Gioeli and Saracino face life in prison if convicted.