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Jury ties 3 defendants to murders at mob trial

A federal jury blamed 10 murders on three aging mobsters Thursday in a trial that exposed the seedy inner workings of organized crime in Chicago.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A federal jury blamed three aging mobsters for 10 murders Thursday after a trial that included a parade of colorful witnesses who exposed the seedy inner workings of organized crime in Chicago.

Jurors deadlocked on blame for eight other murders after eight days of deliberations in one of the biggest mob trials in the city's storied crime history.

But they held Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; and James Marcello, 65, responsible for 10 of the 18 murders included in racketeering conspiracy charges against them. The jury's decision increases the maximum sentence each of them faces to life. Jurors deadlocked on the fourth defendant, Paul Schiro, 70.

The same jury convicted them Sept. 10 of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that involved illegal gambling, loan sharking, extortion and a wave of mob murders going back almost four decades.

The jury then considered whether the men were individually responsible for specific murders — the prerequisite for toughening their sentences to life.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel polled individual jurors, and all said further deliberations would not help them come to a unanimous decision on the deadlocked counts.

Retired police Officer Anthony Doyle, 62, was also convicted of racketeering conspiracy, but he was not accused of direct involvement in a murder.

The so-called Operation Family Secrets trial is the biggest organized crime case in Chicago in many years. The defendants were convicted of operating the Chicago Outfit, as the city's organized crime family is called, as a racketeering enterprise.

They were accused of squeezing "street tax," similar to protection money, out of businesses, ran sports bookmaking and video poker businesses, and engaged in loan sharking. And they were accused of killing many of those who might have spilled their secrets to the government.

The oldest murder listed in the indictment, that of Michael "Hambone" Albergo, himself a loan shark, goes back to 1970.

Also among the victims was Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, long the mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie "Casino." He and brother Michael Spilotro were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in June 1986.