Death penalty sought for 'Big Tony' in businessman's slaying
ANDERSON, AP LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello deserves the
death penalty for coldly ordering the mob-style slaying of a South Florida
businessman to protect his share of a lucrative stream of gambling profits, a
prosecutor told a jury Wednesday.
County prosecutor Gregg Rossman said Moscatiello hired a mob hit man to fatally
shoot Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis in 2001 during a dispute over the
SunCruz Casinos fleet of gambling ships. Trial evidence showed that Moscatiello
is a reputed member of New York's Gambino crime family.
murder for financial gain is among the aggravating circumstances that can
warrant a death sentence under Florida law. The jurors are to recommend to a
judge what sentence to impose.
for Moscatiello, who was convicted of first-degree murder and murder conspiracy
in July, want the jurors to recommend a life prison sentence. The jurors'
decision is advisory, with the final decision to be made by Circuit Judge Ilona
who also founded the Miami Subs restaurant chain, was slain while trying to
retake control of SunCruz after selling it to businessman Adam Kidan and his
partner, former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Kidan was paying Moscatiello
and his associate, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, thousands of
dollars each month to handle security, beverage supply and other work —
payments that Boulis opposed.
long as Mr. Kidan kept control of the company, Mr. Moscatiello had control of
the company. Once Mr. Kidan lost control, the well dried up," Rossman said
in an opening statement. "Mr. Moscatiello had Mr. Boulis killed for his
own financial gain."
in prison for this man is punishment enough," said defense attorney Sam
Halpern. "You are never, under any circumstances, required to recommend
the death penalty."
put on only one witness, a nephew of Boulis' to describe what the Greek
immigrant's loss meant to the family.
every immigrant, Gus Boulis was the best example of living the American
dream," said nephew Spiro Naos.
Moscatiello friends and family members were testifying on his behalf,
describing his military service, business background and devout Catholicism.
neighbor. Probably one of the best I've ever had. Warm, friendly," said
Audrey O'Brien, who lived in the same condominium complex as Moscatiello. She
recalled how he brought her groceries and other items while she recovered from
back surgery. "I have great affection for Tony."
adjourned for the day Wednesday after hearing testimony, with the hearing to
resume Thursday with closing arguments followed by deliberations.
51, was fatally shot by hit man John "J.J." Gurino as he sat in his
car in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 6, 2001, according to trial testimony.
Cars blocked Boulis in from front and back, with Gurino firing the fatal shots
from a black Mustang that pulled up to the driver's side. Gurino was later
killed in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Kidan nor Abramoff were ever charged in the Boulis slaying, although Kidan
testified for the prosecution against both Moscatiello and Ferrari. Ferrari was
convicted after a previous trial and is serving a life prison sentence.
and Kidan both served federal prison sentences after pleading guilty to fraud
in the $147.5 million SunCruz purchase. Abramoff also was the main figure in a
Washington corruption scandal that resulted in charges against 21 people.