Mob Rat "Junior" Has Reasons to Squirm...

Hector Pagan.
Hector "Junior" Pagan will pay the piper soon. He faces the judge for sentencing this month. And it is quite possible he will go away for life.

In the end, Pagan's punishment, despite his cooperation with the Feds, could fit his crimes.

This is partly because the fetching, determined daughter of the man Pagan killed has caught the attention of the judge.

A well-known gangland character who appeared on "Mob Wives" during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Pagan was the "star" witness against Richard Riccardi and Luigi Grasso, who were convicted for the murder of James Donovan, whom Pagan himself had shot. Riccardi and Grasso, found guilty, were sentenced to more than 35 years in prison each.

Pagan basically helped put away his cohorts for murder, when the original plan was for a heist. It only became a murder case because of a decision Pagan alone had made during the Gravesend heist, which netted the trio $50,000 apiece.

It galls many what Pagan has seemingly gotten away with: shooting a man to death for no apparent reason (the victim, Luchese associate James Donovan, had dropped the cash and was running away when Pagan fired the fatal shot, which nicked the femoral artery) and then ratting out the other two members of the robbery team and testifying against them for the murder.

The WSJ even covered the case in a report, noting it was a "rare and risky legal strategy" used by prosecutors; it was called: Testifying down.

"This is, generally speaking, the opposite of how cooperating witnesses work. Usually, legal experts said, the goal is to get those witnesses to admit to wrongdoing, cooperate with the government and to walk the investigation up the ladder, obtaining evidence against leaders or those potentially engaged in more serious crimes. In exchange, on the recommendation of prosecutors, cooperators typically end up serving reduced or no prison time."

Also coming into play in Pagan's case is the "felony murder rule," as my Friends of Ours colleague noted: "If a murder is committed in the commission of a felony, then everyone involved with the underlying felony are legally responsible for the attendant murder regardless of whether they had any involvement in taking the life."

Grasso in surveillance shot.

At sentencing,  Federal Judge John Gleeson told Pagan's cohorts that he understood how they must feel about their fate being determined by the very man who fired the gun causing the murder for which they were on trial in the first place: "I understand that you think you were less culpable [than Pagan]. I don't see any meaningful difference in blame that should be placed for the murder. You chose a life of crime. A man is dead. It's a natural consequence of the life you chose for yourself."

On the last day of his life, Donovan was making a routine stop at a check-cashing operation he owned. He was getting out of his car when Pagan and the others pulled up.

Pagan testified that his job was to hold Donovan at gunpoint while Ronnie grabbed the money.

Dr. Tara Margarella offered compelling testimony.

“I put the gun to him and said, ‘Stay right here,’” Pagan told the jury. “He wiggled away from me and started running. I shot him.”

“There really was no getaway plan,” Pagan testified.

In a Brooklyn basement, they counted their take and it came to some $200,000.

Pagan testified that, when told that Richie had been blabbing about the killing, he responded by saying, "You should kill Richie. He’s going around saying things that should not be said.”

Pagan's notoriety from his appearance in "Mob Wives" had created a pre-trial stir that helped sell newspapers for a week or two.

The prosecution wanted an anonymous jury fearing that jurors might become "starstruck" because of Pagan's status as a reality TV star. Also of concern was the possibility that jurors might ignore evidence and reach a verdict based on whether or not they want to gain or avoid "the notoriety associated with the show," prosecutors noted in court papers.

Judge Gleeson ruled that the jury be granted partial anonymity. Their names would be known to the prosecution and to the defense, but not to the media—including reality TV shows.

Then there was more buzz when a former New York Med member took the stand. Dr. Tara Margarella testified about Donovan's last moments.

The doctor, who appeared on the 2012 ABC show New York Med and on the Dr. Oz show in 2013 — described treating the “shredded” body of Luchese associate James Donovan on July 2, 2010... “He was bleeding profusely,” Margarella recalled as Donovan’s relatives burst out into sobs in the crowded courtroom gallery.

After his vital signs began to fade, she said the situation was hopeless. “I wasn’t able to bring him back,” she said."
James Donovan, the murdered
man, with his daughter on
her graduation day.

As The Daily Beast noted in a report about the doctor's testimony, which included graphic crime scene photos flashed onto the courtroom screen, "the reality of the mob was personified by the murdered man’s sobbing daughter. She had a small box of tissues when she returned on Tuesday and she sat in the front row holding it along with a holy card bearing her father’s picture."

Pagan lied to investigators, and not only once. His initial claim was that Riccardi was the murdering gunman -- however, a  Key Food parking lot surveillance camera proved Riccardi had never left his car; it also proved the veracity of the government's star witness, "Junior" Pagan, was total crap.

All of Pagan's actions are expected to be taken into account when he is sentenced this month.

Another force Pagan will have to reckon with on judgement day is Janine Donovan, 30, the daughter of the murdered man and his only child. Jerry Capeci noted in a recent column, titled "Daughter Of Slain Check Casher Wants Life Behind Bars For Turncoat Triggerman":

The judge meted out the prison terms [to Grasso and Riccardi] after viewing a moving video tribute of Donovan's life and after reading an emotional letter from Janine, an only child. Janine Donovan, 30, wrote about the father she lived with "up until the day of July 2, 2010, when I kissed him goodbye and he never came home."
...In her five-page letter, Donovan stated she had no interaction with Pagan during the trial but implored Gleeson to impose "the maximum sentence permitted in his agreement" (which is life behind bars) and "save someone like me lifelong, indescribable heartache."

"This man coldly recounted senselessly shooting my father as he struggled to get away. My father was running for his life, for me, for his family. I just know in his mind, as he lay there bleeding, his only thought was that he needed to get home to his family," she wrote.

Because Pagan has gotten breaks "time and time again" since he began cooperating with the feds in 2006, he was free to "fire the fatal shot to my father," Donovan wrote, and take "everything from me the second he pulled the trigger. Unfailingly, he continues to wreak havoc on society and leave a wake of broken lives in his path. I cannot help but contend with the fact that had he been placed in jail back then, perhaps my father would still be here today."

If anyone is squirming in gangland today, it is Junior Pagan.

Janine Donovan's YouTube video tribute to her dad:


  1. I'd like to think they played Pagan -- used him to get the other two, in order to also get him in the end, as well. Still, seems fundamentally unfair that Grasso and Riccardi get sentenced for a murder Pagan himself decided to commit for no reason. Unless the plan had been to kill him all along. Don't know.

  2. So true Ed, very unfair that those 2 guys got decades and Pagan was gonna walk before the daughter caught the ear of the judge. Of course all 3 are guilty and should get time but Pagan should be the one with a ?-life sentence not the other way around


  4. Hopefully junior gets life. His son seems like a good kid, I just feel sorry for him and renee. In fact I wish the govt would give him the death penalty. He deserves it.

  5. Gov. Mario Cuomo lost office over the death penalty issue when everyone in this country was in Charlie Bronson mode; Cuomo was against it and refused to change his stance; that empty suit Pataki rode into Albany on the death penalty. Cuomo's integrity lost him his office. And the true irony is, all these years later and it's never been used, so what was the whole point??

  6. hi ed did u get email .philly

  7. Not yet, check when I get home..... Thnx

  8. very sad ,nothing left too say.

  9. I feel for this young lady that video had me in tears. Philly

  10. As for pagan i hope he rots in jail

  11. This guy Jr Pagan is the biggest piece of shit lowlife on the face of the earth. When I watched the video his daughter tributes to her father, you can see and feel the love she had for her Dad. I knew james Donavan , he was a legit guy helping other legit guys cashing there checks and helping hard working family man and woman making it easier to get your check cashed. Jr Pagan always was a lowlife loser. My heart goes out to James Donovans daughter. I can only imagine the heartache and pain you must carry everyday . I know your Dad was your Hero. God Bless you and always remember your father is a piece of you and he will always be right there beside you and in your heart forever . Amen

  12. Honestly, I get a little teary-eyed, too. It's the Elvis playing in the background -- and some of those photos really get to me....I keep getting emails about how tough this hot shot HP was... anyone can be tough with a pistol in his hand....

  13. They dont put this guy away for life the feds better make sure he has a mysterious accident because he will kill again you can count on it he.s no good. Philly


Post a Comment