Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anthony "The Moron" Mirabella & Friends

The picture to the left is a group shot of American Mafiosi, maybe after some kind of collective Cosa Nostra induction ceremony. Sort of a graduation picture then, I guess. They’re a pretty generic bunch, if you ask me. It's hard to find pictures of Anthony The Moron on the Internet, so these guys will have to do. Pick one, any one of them, and that’s probably what The Moron looked like in his prime. Anthony Mirabella was a grade A Mafia cretin. They discovered his decomposed body in the marshes of Warwick, Rhode Island during my youthful sojourn in Providence. The media clued us all in to, first of all, his splendid nickname, and to the fact that he himself had served time for a double murder back in the seventies. They even showed video footage of The Moron getting arrested, obscenely waggling his tongue at the camera. His nickname was well-earned.

After his release from prison in 1980, Mirabella knew he was a marked man. According to his wife, he was a full-blown paranoid who stocked the house with guns, always afraid that his former cronies would come gunning for him. And they did. He was too much of a wild card to be trusted. Allegedly, the fat man in the photo below - whose name is Frank "Bobo" Marrapese - and several other Providence Mafiosi cornered Mirabella in Fida's Restaurant in the Olneyville section of town in 1982, and shot him dead. They took him in the back, stabbed him repeatedly - to make him rot quicker, according to witnesses - then put his corpse (or corpse pieces) into a garbage bag (or bags) and deposited the remains in the wetlands of southern Rhode Island. I remember him primarily because of - one - the irresistible nickname - and also, two - Geoffrey Wolff, author of the memoir, The Duke Of Deception, about his con-man dad, and brother of the more famous Tobias Wolff, wrote a novel based on the case called Providence. Read it sometime. It’s a one-off kind of crime novel as I don’t believe Wolff ever ventured down those mean streets again, but it’s fun.

Amazingly enough, I don’t rightly know if anybody ever served time for Mirabella’s execution.

Frank "Bobo” Marrapese, whose day job was apparently as a cook (which is where, I suppose, he got his knowledge on how to make dead meat rot quicker), did end up serving time for another murder altogether. In 1975, he killed mobster Richard Callei, whose “bullet-ridden” corpse he left on a golf course in Rehoboth, Mass. He was tried for that one in 1987 and got 20 years. Although he was also charged with killing Mirabella, he was somehow found not guilty on that one (mob jury tampering?). He was also found not guilty of another 80’s murder charge, an infinitely more heinous one, that of killing a young guy named Ronald McElroy, who made the mistake of cutting off Marrapese in traffic, whereupon “Bobo” forced him off the road and beat him to a pulp with a baseball bat. Yeah, he was found not guilty of that one, too (more mob jury tampering?). It’s one thing when these guys kill their own, but when they whack civilians...

Poetic justice sometimes gets ya, when no other kind can. Released from prison in 2008, Marrapese was sent back to jail in 2010 for parole violations and, so far as I know, remains there. Other suspects in Mirabella’s demise include Vito DeLuca, Thomas Pisaniello and Nicholas Bianco. DeLuca was eventually deported to Italy. Nicholas Bianco was convicted of racketeering charges in 1991, and died in prison of Lou Gehrig’s disease. To my knowledge, he was never convicted of Mirabella’s murder. I don’t know what happened to Pisaniello.

I have one question though. Seeing as how the murder took place in an Italian restaurant, how would Gordon Ramsay have behaved had he been there to reform the place? Would he swapped swear words with the cook-slash-killers? And, if so, who would have sworn better? Would he have been appalled by the goings on? And, if so, would he have been appalled at the murder itself or merely at the sloppy preparation of the corpse? Or would he have joined in? Ramsay himself likes to dress up in tight black muscle outfits, just like the guys in the picture, so maybe he might have.

Today in History: Seeking justice for 'The Moron' (Providence Journal)
Mobster Set For Release (Providence/New Bedford Local News)
Mobster Marrapese takes first steps out of ACI (Providence Journal)

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