CASE FILE: Gangland Graveyard
THE SCENE: Queens, New York
LEAD DETECTIVE: Jerry Capeci, journalist, author, and creator of GangLand.com
It started with a severed foot in a vacant lot. By the time the painstaking FBI investigation ended, a powerful Mafia crime family was shattered and its once-invincible “Don” faced life behind bars. The story centers on the events of May 5, 1981, when three Mafia captains — “Philly Lucky” Giaccone, “Big Trin” Trinchera, and “Sonny Red” Indelicato — were invited to a sit-down in a Bensonhurst, Brooklyn social club for what was said to be an “administrative meeting.” It was an ambush. The three wiseguys were killed on the orders of capo Joseph Massino, who was making a successful play for control of the Bonanno crime family. But, until recently, it was never clear what really occurred that evening, or what happened to the bodies of Giaccone and Trinchera.
“Gangland Graveyard” takes viewers into the world of the Mafia through expert insight provided by Joseph D. Pistone. From 1976 to 1981, posing as tough-talking jewel thief Donnie Brasco, Pistone gained the trust of the highest levels of the Bonanno Family. He became such an integral part of the organization that he was almost asked to be one of the hit-men who helped ambush Massino’s competitors.
The story of Massino’s downfall is told from the FBI’s perspective and highlighted by the dogged efforts of FBI forensic accountants. The two agents spent two years poring over documents until they found the key that ultimately unlocked the prosecution’s case against Massino.
As the drama builds, forensic archeologists and anthropologists help to dig up the stories behind the bodies, taking an unprecedented look into the grisly underworld of the mob — complete with vicious dog fights, revenge plots, takeovers, and brutal murders. Agents Sue Ostrobinski and Matt Laird, members of the FBI’s Evidence Response Team, demonstrate how they sifted through evidence found 10 feet below ground during the 2004, 22-day dig in “Mafiaville” that started it all. Depicting the latest forensic techniques used by the FBI, including DNA testing and wound analysis, “Gangland Graveyard” finally answers the question of what happened on that fateful night of May 5, 1981.