updated 11/3/2008 8:39:03 PM ET 2008-11-04T01:39:03

A jailed reputed mobster was charged on Monday with the 1977 slaying of a gangland rival who used his last words to taunt him in a motel parking lot.

"What're you going to do now, tough guy?" Giovanni "Coca Cola" Larducci asked when Michael Coppola's gun jammed during the New Jersey confrontation on Easter 1977, prosecutors said.

Coppola has bragged to cooperators that he responded by pulling out another pistol from an ankle holster and shooting Larducci dead, prosecutors said.

The slaying was recounted in court papers alleging Coppola also infiltrated and shook down a labor union for the Genovese organized crime family.

Coppola pleaded not guilty on Monday in federal court in Brooklyn to murder, extortion and other charges.

'More than optimistic'
Defense attorney Henry Mazurek said outside court that the evidence against Coppola is flimsy. His client, he said, was "more than optimistic about beating these charges."

Coppola, 62, was arrested last year after becoming one of New Jersey's most-wanted fugitives. He went underground in 1996 with the help of his wife to duck a court order requiring him to submit a DNA sample in the Larducci slaying.

Over the next 11 years, the couple used various aliases while splitting time between an apartment in Manhattan owned by a Genovese associate and a home in San Francisco, prosecutors said. Following Coppola's capture in New York, investigators said they discovered a book in his apartment titled "The Methods of Attacking Scientific Evidence."

A DNA sample taken from Coppola last year was compared to that from hair found on a hat left at the motel parking lot. The FBI analysis found that "Coppola could not be excluded as the source of the hair," court papers said.

Coppola already was serving time after pleading guilty to charges related to his flight. If convicted of the new charges, he faces life in prison.

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