Giaccone in November 1980
July 12, 1932|
May 5, 1981 (aged 48)|
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Giaccone was born in the Ridgewood section of Queens. His father died during the 1930s, leaving Giaccone, his sisters and brothers, and mother to fend for themselves during the Great Depression. Serving as an altarboy, Giaccone grew up as a strict Catholic. Giaccone had good grades in school and graduated from high school. As a young man, he became a protegee of Bonanno underboss Giovanni Bonventre. Giaccone was described as being brazen, yet gentlemanly; when a relative was diagnosed with hemophilia, Giaccone assumed the financial support of his wife and children. One of the relative's children and Giaccone's nephew followed in his uncle's footsteps and became "Frankie Saggio," a notorious enforcer who was a huge earner known for his ability to bring millions of dollars into the family. Giaccone was also known to be ruthless when necessary.
Giaccone had a wife Annette, a daughter Corinne, and a son Phillip Giaconne Jr. He was an in-law to Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino. Giaccone's legitimate business was Pinto Trucking, a trucking firm in South Ozone Park, Queens that served also as a headquarters for his crew. During his life, Giaccone was never convicted of a crime.
By the mid-1970s, the Bonanno family was in turmoil. After official boss Philip Rastelli went to prison in 1975, capo Carmine Galante took control of the family. It is suspected that the heads of the other New York Five Families collaborated with Rastelli to arrange Galante's death; they supposedly viewed Galante's greed and ambition as a threat to all their interests. On July 12, 1979, Giaccone, Dominick Trinchera, and Alphonse Indelicato allegedly murdered Galante at an Italian-American restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
After the Galante murder, a fight for control of the family started. One faction included Rastelli and his closest allies, Joseph Massino, Salvatore Vitale, and Dominick Napolitano. Both Massino and Vitale had served in Giaccone's crew, but had not been happy with his leadership. The opposing faction consisted of three Bonanno capos; Giaccone, Trinchera, and Indelicato. With Rastelli still in prison, Giaccone and the other two capos started plotting to kill Massino and Napolitano. However, Massino discovered the plot and moved to kill them first. The original idea was to order Bonanno associate Donnie Brasco, who was actually undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone, to first murder Giaccone in Miami, Florida. However, Rastelli later canceled the contract because Napolitano wanted to kill all three capos at the same time.
The three capos murder
On May 5, 1981, Massino loyalists shot and killed Giaccone, Trinchera, and Indelicato in a Brooklyn night club. On the pretext of working out a peace agreement, Massino had invited them to meet with him at the 20/20 Night Club in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. However, Massino's real plan was to assassinate the capos. The ambush was set in the club store room, with Salvatore Vitale and three other gunmen wearing ski masks hiding in a closet. One of the gunmen was mobster Vito Rizzuto, who came from Montreal, Quebec, Canada with another Canadian mobster to help Massino. Massino told the men to avoid shooting so that bullets wouldn't spray around the room. Massino also brought drop cloths and ropes for disposing of the bodies afterwards.
When the capos arrived at the 20/20, Massino and Bonanno mobster Gerlando Sciascia escorted them to the store room. Massino was reportedly walking arm in arm with Giaccone. As the men entered the room, Sciascia brushed his hand through his hair, giving the prearranged signal. Vitale and gunmen rushed out of the closet, with Rizzuto yelling "stick up". Massino immediately punched Giaccone, knocking him to the floor. Giaconne got up and tried to run out of the room, but was blocked up against a wall with Trinchera. The gunmen killed Giaccone with a volley of submachine gun fire. The three capos were unarmed, as was the rule when attending a peace meeting.
The lot was a Gambino mob graveyard; Gambino crime family capo John Gotti arranged for his men to bury the bodies there as a favor to Massino. A few weeks after the shooting, authorities discovered Indelicato's body and removed it from the lot.
In October 2004, after some children reported finding a body in the Lindenwood lot, FBI agents excavated the property and discovered the bodies of Giaccone and Trinchera. Among the personal items they unearthed was a Piaget watch that had belonged to Giaccone's wife. In December 2004, the bodies were positively identified as Giaccone and Trinchera.
On December 5, 2005, Massino, then a government witness, pleaded guilty to murdering Giaccone, Trinchera, and Indelicato. He received two life sentences in prison. In May, 2007, after being extradited to the United States, Rizzuto pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court to reduced charges in the murder of three capos and was sentenced to ten years in state prison.
In popular culture
- In the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, Philip Giaccone was portrayed by Frank Vallelonga, also known as Tony Lip
- In the 2017 Canadian mini-series Bad Blood, in a flashback, Giaccone was portrayed by Massimo Cannistrano
- "Human Remains Linked To Mob" New York Times
- Defendant Linked to Mob Murder Plot" New York Times, by Arnold H. Lubasch
- Saggio, Rosen, Frankie, Fred (2004). Born to the Mob: The True-life Story of the Only Man to Work for All Five of New York's Mafia Families. Running Press. p. 3. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Aftermath of a Hit" Archived 2010-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. by David Amoruso Gangsters Inc. May 8, 2007
- Alexander Nazaryan (14 August 2015). "New York's darkest secret: The Hole is a Mafia graveyard that few people venture into". The Independent.
- "Bloody B'klyn Rubout: Says Massino OKd '81 mob hit"[permanent dead link] by John Marzulli, New York Daily News June 30, 2004
- "In Court, Evidence Suggests Gotti Associates Buried Victims in Lot" by William K. Rashbaum New York Times October 9, 2004
- "Skeletal Remains Are Believed To Be Those of Mob Captains" by William K. Rashbaum New York Times October 13, 2004
- "Metro Briefing" New York Times December 21, 2004
- Bonanno crime boss is sentenced to two life terms" by Robert F. Worth New York Times June 24, 2005
- "Canadian mobster pleads guilty to aiding 26 year old Mafia hit in New York" Mafia-News.com May 4, 2007