Who Really Killed Tommy Two-Guns DeSimone?

It's one of gangland's most high-profile, enigmatic hits -- and the identity of the killer has been debated for decades.
Thomas "Tommy Two-Guns" DeSimone was killed in a classic setup. But who pulled the trigger?
Joe Pesci immortalized a vicious killer in Goodfellas.

Thomas "Tommy Two-Guns" DeSimone killed a made member of the Mafia -- and for that, among other things, he was killed in what's been described as a classic setup. The truth is, we know very little about this murder, including who pulled the trigger. (Or fired up the chainsaw, depending on who you believe). DeSimone disappeared, meaning there's zero evidence as to how he was killed; in fact, it can't be said with absolute certainty that he was killed.

Still, he was killed. Guys like him don't just disappear into thin air. They'd never leave New York because everything they want -- a certain lifestyle, basically -- is in New York and cannot be duplicated anywhere else. At the same time, there's no shortage of answers as to who and the why. Answers sell books and films, etc. There's reason to fabricate information.

It's alleged that, on the day of his murder, DeSimone was expecting Luchese mobsters Bruno Facciolo and Peter Vario to ferry him to his induction ceremony, only Tommy was killed. (The Outfit used a similar feint to finally dispatch the notorious Spilotro bothers.) An enraged but powerless James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke shoved over a telephone booth and openly cried when he learned of the death.

"They whacked him," Robert De Niro, playing Burke in Goodfellas, tells Henry Hill, as portrayed by Ray Liotta.

"They" was the "Johnny Gotti" crew, Hill claimed initially. He reaffirmed this in his book Gangsters and Goodfellas, adding that John Gotti had himself murdered DeSimone with another Gambino mobster named Thomas "Tommy" Agro. Agro, an interesting low-profile onetime Castellano loyalist, who in the 1980s admitted to an informant that he, Agro, had killed Tommy DeSimone. (Agro never mentioned Gotti, then a Queens-based capo.)

Then on May 17, 2007, on the Howard Stern Show, Hill said that Gotti had personally killed DeSimone. The death "took a long time," Hill emphasized, as Billy Batts and Gotti had been personal friends and Gotti wanted DeSimone to suffer. Gotti's role as the actual assassin was repeated a third time in the 2015 book The Lufthansa Heist, cowritten by Hill and Daniel Simone. In this version, DeSimone's death was from three gunshots to the head. (Hill is credited with providing information for another book, The Mystery of the Lufthansa Heist that doesn't involve any Gotti-related claims.) Hill says he held back the story of Gotti killing DeSimone because he feared retribution, The New York Post reported. (Somewhat ridiculously. He wrote a book exposing the whole kit and caboodle; he helped put powerful mobsters like Luchese capo Paul Vario away. It is difficult to believe that Hill would've been in more danger had he detailed the story of how Johnny Gotti killed DeSimone, as he alleged.)

Hill also claimed he got information from Sal Polisi while in the witness protection program.

Polisi was a Gambino associate until the mid-1980s. The author of The Sinatra Club: My Life Inside the New York Mafia, he spent more than a decade in the federal witness protection program after "his love for his two sons persuaded him to flip in 1984 and testify against (John) Gotti in Gotti’s 1986 federal racketeering trial," as per the Boston HeraldAs one report noted: "Polisi was born in Brooklyn into the Life. As he grew up, the Mafia was becoming a popular cultural touchstone. TV shows like The Untouchables (1959-63) and, in 1972, the first Godfather movie, made Americans hyper-aware of the mob and — although there was lots of nasty business involved — being a mobster looked like fun to many people. One of those was Sal Polisi."

Gotti was acquitted; Polisi was one of the witnesses that gave wild and crazy Gotti defense attorney Bruce Cutler agita. Cutler attacked Polisi and other turncoat witnesses in the early Gotti trial trials, vilifying them as scumbags, lowlifes and drug addicts (though Cutler never offered a reason as to why John Gotti spent so much time in the company of these "scumbags, lowlifes and drug addicts." Not that it mattered, though, as the fix was in -- Cutler's courtroom antics created enough "reasonable doubt" so that it took the Feds time to unveil the payoffs.

Polisi emerged in the 1990s to talk about mob stuff for money. (Hey, I don't blame him -- former politicians and others earn fortunes talking about the past, it's only fair. )

I tried to contact Sal Polisi earlier this year and was unable to reach him. As recently as May 2017, Polisi was talking about Whitey Bulger.

The Sinatra Club includes information about the DeSimone hit. Interestingly enough, Polisi confirms the meeting with Hill in Witness Protection. Only what Polisi wrote doesn't exactly agree with what Henry Hill wrote...

Jimmy the Gent Whacked DeSimone: New Source
Not one word of the DeSimone murder story, as told by Hill, is true, according to the Den of Geek story, you see.
The story was based on information from a reputed Gambino associate.

"The Gotti crew had nothing to do with the death of DeSimone. Tommy wasn’t buried in a closed coffin. He was never buried at all. His body was never found, " says the article, The Real Goodfellas: The Mysterious Fate of Tommy DeSimone, written by Tony Sokol for Den of Geek.

James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke...

Greg Bucceroni, the source, is a "former Gambino family associate." He claims that Tommy DeSimone was murdered by the man who you'd least likely suspect, Jimmy the Gent himself, as part of the Lufthansa cleanup. It's an intriguing theory and a believable one.

The Den of Geek story reports:

The source, one Greg Bucceroni, said "the reports of “Tommy DeSimone being murdered by John Gotti” are “wrong.” Bucceroni said Jimmy the Gent was behind it.

“DeSimone actually was murdered by Jimmy Burke at Burke's home back in 1979 while Burke was covering his tracks regarding the Lufthansa Heist in addition to John Gotti's investigating what Burke's and DeSimone's involvement was in the murder of Billy Batts,” Bucceroni said.

The book says Tommy was never seen again. The book also says, three pages later in the paperback edition on page 224, that a Lufthansa cargo worker ID’d DeSimone’s mug shot and fingered him as the gunman in the JFK heist. The shiny city shoes.

Greg Bucceroni would have you believe that DeSimone disappeared because Jimmy Burke was cleaning house. If he did get a call at a booth about a murder he ordered, he must have been as good an actor as De Niro for the show he put on for Henry Hill. Our source says Hill "exaggerated" some details. He said Two-Gun Tommy was killed in Burke's home. Bucceroni doesn't say how DeSimone was killed, but he doesn't think Tommy had a less than dignified burial at sea. Sokol writes "Den of Geek followed a lead that could shake what we know about the wise guys of Wise Guy... While the cops and the press say one thing about the disappearance of Tommy DeSimone, the street says something different."

My problem with this source is that he trots out the name

of the one mob hit man who causes people with a degree of mafia history knowledge to raise their eyebrows. The Ice Man Richard Kuklinsksi. The book to read if you want the real lowdown on the Ice Man is not the one written by Philip Carlo. Read the Anthony Bruno book titled The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer.

Bucceroni is a "victims’ advocate" who "reached out to Den of Geek for an exclusive inside take on whatever happened to Tommy DeSimone." Sokol describes him as  "a self-proclaimed “young violent street criminal from Philadelphia who associated with a variety of adult criminal types including Jimmy Burke.”

He grew up in South Philly. His uncle was former ranked heavyweight boxer Dan “Butcher Boy” Bucceroni (active from 1947 to 1954. Won 47, 31 by knockout, and lost 6. Knocked out twice), who collected debts for local gangsters.

“My uncle Dan was well known amongst the local ‘Goodfellas,’ which opened the door for special treatment by Philly mobsters Angelo Bruno, Harry Riccobene and others,” said Bucceroni.

Former Gambino capo Michael DiLeonardo never heard of this "Gambino associate" source when I asked him.

As for the Tommy DeSimone murder allegedly resulting from the hit on Gotti's best friend, as for the Goodfellas story itself, Mikie Scars said: "Zero, I know zero about that."

Most of what is known about DeSimone comes from the book Wiseguy and the film based on it, Goodfellas.Another informant, a Gambino turncoat named Joseph "Joe Dogs" Ianuzzi provides contradictory (or supplementary) information,  claiming mobster Tommy Agro  killed Tommy DeSimone. Hill himself, in his Gangsters and Goodfellas book neatly ties up the Gotti and Agro theories by claiming Gotti got Agro to do the hit on DeSimone for him. Hill contradicts this claim, however, in the recent Lufthansa book.

Then we have Polisi's book......

Did All the Goodfellas Characters Exist?
One part of the Goodfellas/Wiseguy story that is problematic (as readers on here have commented) is the memorable scene included in both the Wiseguy book and Goodfellas film regarding one Michael "Spider" Gianco (played by Michael Imperioli of later Sopranos fame.

Law enforcement officials searched for Gianco's remains where Hill had directed them to dig -- and didn't find a trace. We know from the Asaro trial that mobsters were known to rebury victims.

At the same time there are other problems with Spider. No records (not even a birth certificate) were ever located for Gianco. Furthermore, no one who lived in the neighborhood where Gianco supposedly had lived and worked (as per Hill) had ever heard of him. Officially the murder is classified as "unsolved."

Hill, who died on June 25, 2012, remains the only person to ever speak of Spider and his supposed murder. He took this mystery with him to the grave. Unless of course Nicholas Pileggi knows anything -- and chances are the FBI has questioned him (or not).

Spider's murder played a key role in the DeSimone story. Hill claimed that he told Pileggi that it was following Michael "Spider" Gianco's murder that he started suspecting that Tommy was crazy. DeSimone killed the bartender  for telling Tommy to go f--k himself.

Tommy had first shot Spider in the foot, the story goes. It was after that first shooting that Spider was killed, in a second shooting incident.

As Wiseguy tells it:

“I don’t know how many people Tommy killed. I don’t think even Jimmy knew. Tommy was out of control. He’d begun carrying two guns. One night Tommy shot a kid named Spider in the foot because the kid didn't want to dance. It looked accidental, and Vinnie Asaro, who was with the Bonanno crew, took Spider to a neighborhood doctor to get the kid fixed up. Crazy Tommy kept making the kid dance. Tommy said he was using the kid for target practice.” 

“One night we were playing cards in the cellar – Tommy, Jimmy, me, Anthony Stabile, Angelo Sepe – when the Spider walks in. It’s three o’clock in the morning and we’re all smashed out of our minds. All of a sudden Tommy wants him to dance. ‘Do a dance,’ Tommy says. For some reason Spider tells Tommy to go fuck himself. Now we started getting on Tommy. Jimmy is joking and he says to Tommy ‘You take that shit from this punk?’ We’re all egging Tommy on, joking with him. He’s getting mad but he’s still playing cards. Then before anyone has any idea what he’s going to do, he puts three shots into Spider’s chest. I didn’t even know where he had the gun, except for a second we’re all deaf. I can smell burn. Nobody says a word, but now I’m convinced Tommy is a total psychopath.”

DeSimone's (Mafia) Family Tree
Thomas Anthony DeSimone was born in Boston and was descended from Mafia royalty. His grandfather was Rosario DeSimone, the boss of the Los Angeles-based pre-Commission Cosa Nostra crime family from 1922 until 1925.

Frank DeSimone, Tommy's uncle, assumed the same position in 1956. Aside from having a much higher profile than the previous DeSimone boss in LA, Frank was arrested at Appalachin in 1957.

(Los Angeles's historical mob boss Jack Dragna was found dead on Feb. 23, 1956, in the Saharan Hotel, located on Sunset Boulevard. While Simone Scozzari (known as "DeSimone") may have briefly worn the crown, it's more likely Frank DeSimone "immediately stepped into the boss's job," as The American Mafia noted. (Rosario isn't included in AM's Who was Who.)

Tommy Two-Guns, as he came to be known as, had two sisters, Dolores and Phyllis. Phyllis was reportedly Jimmy Burke's mistress from age 16.

Tommy also had two brothers, Robert DeSimone and Anthony DeSimone, both of whom were Gambino crime family associates.

Anthony was killed by Gambino gangster Thomas Agro, who also claimed responsibility for killing Tommy Two-Guns. Agro was caught on a wiretap threatening Joseph "Joe Dogs" Ianuzzi, video below, who'd flipped after Agro nearly beat him to death. Agro claimed in 1985 to have murdered DeSimone's brother Anthony because Anthony had turned informant, according to Ianuzzi. Agro was known to mockingly say that he should kill the third brother, Robert, too, to go for the "DeSimone trifecta."

A theory -- and story Hill offered in Gangsters and Goodfellas neatly unites these two claims --  Gotti got Agro to pull off the DeSimone hit.

Robert was sentenced to life as part of a sweeping 1986 racketeering and conspiracy indictment of 16 mobsters. Among the charges the Gambinos faced was infiltrating a Federal courthouse. Among the indicted was ''the ruling hierarchy of the Gambino organized-crime family," the Feds reported.

Agro was part of that indictment too. A year later, Agro, 56 at the time, pleaded guilty to Federal racketeering charges at a special court session held in his room at Mount Sinai Hospital. By then Agro was critically ill with cancer. Agro also admitted to being a member of the Gambino crime family to Chief Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

Nailed with the mobsters was a federal courthouse clerk, Mildred Russo, who conspired from 1975 to 1983 with Gambino bosses, including the Paul Castellano, to steal information about secret grand jury testimony and other criminal proceedings. Russo was charged with her son-in-law, Augustus Sclafani,  a Gambino associate.

A Wedding, a Murder
Tommy married Angelica "Cookie" Spione in 1975.

Charles Carneglia attended. A prolific, violent killer for the Gambinos, Carneglia visited the Esquire diner in Howard Beach later that same night, where he and friends harassed a waitress. Charles was arrested on the scene by Arthur Gelb, an off duty court officer who witnessed the happenings. During the arrest Gelb also discovered that Carneglia had a pistol on him. Witnesses recalled Carneglia yelling "I will get you for this" to Gelb. 

After the arrest, Gelb then noticed Carneglia's extensive rap sheet.

"He was starting to think he shouldn't have done this," his wife, Lynn Fantauzzi, said years later in Brooklyn Federal Court during Carneglia's trial in February 2009, where he faced charges for killing Gelb and four other people. 

Feeling distinctly "uncomfortable" about the situation, Gelb walked over to Carneglia's cell. "No hard feelings," he said, according to his wife. But there were hard feelings.

"When he returned he looked very upset because the man was very angry with him, he wasn't accepting his peace offering," she said.

Carneglia told Gelb "he was going to kill him, that he was a dead man," she said.

Gelb, "the city's most decorated court officer," was murdered on March 11, 1976, shot to death four days before he was supposed to testify against Carneglia in the gun case.

Gelb was threatened in the days prior to his murder. He was told not to testify.

"The death threats were increasing with more frequency as the trial date approached," Gelb's wife testified.

After Gelb was killed, an unsolved murder for decades, Fantauzzi said she ran into the mobster at another diner, where Carneglia noticed her newly dyed brown hair. He told her that "he liked it better as a blond."

Carneglia was sentenced to life in prison.

Tommy was known for wearing high-priced clothes and cruising around in new cars. Meanwhile, the couple lived in a dump -- a two-room tenement slum.

Burke kept the Feds busy digging up alleged graves.....
Angelica's brother, Joe “The Barber” Spione, was later murdered for not helping kill DeSimone. His remains were supposedly buried in a Mafia graveyard located in Queens.... some 20 people were supposedly buried there, under a thick layer of cement. Ultimately, in the space of two decades, only three bodies were ever found however, all  victims of the same gangland hit, the "Sonny Red Trifecta," as a source described the murder of the three renegade Bonanno capos in 1982.

Mob Graveyard in Queens, N.Y.
Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato's hand had popped up out of the earth only about three weeks after the shootings, in May 1981, a ghoulish display witnessed by a group of children playing there. (Supposedly, Sonny Red's "return" terrified the superstitious Bonanno family Zips. As a faction they had participated in the plotting as well as the actual shooting. The New York Medical Examiner's Office didn't identify the remains of Philip "Phil Lucky" Giaccone and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera until more than 20 years later. (The hit is examined at length in Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire.Vito Rizzuto, who went on to rule Montreal's underworld, came down to lead the team of shooters. Supposedly his father, Nicolo (later assassinated) had wanted him in on the hit to build Vito's status with New York. Vito eventually eclipsed New York in both power and wealth and in the end, served time in prison for the three-capo hit. Canadian mob journalist Adrian Humphreys told me Rizzuto so disliked New York that whenever he flew, he'd avoid any flight that had a stop-over in New York. I note this in Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire, but I didn't name Humphreys as the source.)

The site also was supposedly the final resting place of Tommy DeSimone.

"The Hole was certainly convenient for John Gotti, who took over the Gambino family after the Castellano hit in 1985: his favoured hangout, the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens, was a 10-minute drive from the Hole." Yet, the victims were Joe Massino's (though the Gotti crew supposedly helped Massino by burying the bodies. Now we know how far Gotti was willing to go to help his former criminal cohort: 10 minutes away....)."

Read all about the Hole here.

Luchese Capo Paul Vario
DeSimone began hanging around Paul Vario’s East New York crew in 1965 at age 15.

Vario hung out in junkyards -- literally. In 1972 he was the target of Operation Gold Bug, a yearlong investigation involving Bargain Auto Parts, a junkyard in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. The operation was named for Eugene Gold, the Brooklyn district attorney at the time, and for the listening device that the authorities planted in the junkyard trailer that served as a de facto Mafia boardroom -- aka Vario's private office. The sting, which included six months of audio and video surveillance, was of a scope never before attempted. Holding court in the trailer, Vario was a powerful member of the Luchese family -- powerful enough that members of all five families were seen entering and leaving the premises.

He also operated other business ventures, including where Hill said he met DeSimone.

“Jimmy came by the cabstand one day with a skinny kid who was wearing a wiseguy suit and a pencil mustache,” Wise Guy says.

"It was Tommy DeSimone. He was one of those kids who looked younger than he was just because he was trying to look older. Jimmy had been a friend of Tommy’s family for years, and he wanted me to watch out for Tommy and to teach him the cigarette business - help him make a few bucks. With Tommy helping me, pretty soon we’re making $300, $400 a day. We sold hundreds of cartons at construction sites and garment factories. We sold them at the Sanitation Department garages and at the subway and bus depot. This was around 1965, and the city wasn’t taking it very seriously.”

According to Hill in Wiseguy, Tommy committed his first murder when he was 17 in 1968, a random stranger named Howard Goldstein, who simply walked by.

Hill said, “That was cold-blooded, Tommy!” DeSimone explained “Well, I’m a mean cat.”

From DoG:

DeSimone had a hair-trigger temper. One of his sisters claimed "Tommy's teenage years revolved around boxing, lifting weights, smoking cigarettes, and beating a punching bag he kept in a spare room. He had a short fuse, and an animalistic appetite. He would drink almost a gallon of whole milk a day. His only other childhood hobby was collecting different kinds of pocket knives he kept in an old cigar box under his bed." 

Tommy carried his gun in a brown paper bag on hijackings. He carried neighborhood talent through the ropes. “I remember how proud Tommy DeSimone was when he brought Jimmy’s kid, Frankie, on his first hit. Frankie must have been sixteen or seventeen when Tommy took him on the hit, and Tommy said the kid held up great. Jimmy walked around real proud. You’d have thought the kid had won a medal,” it says in Wise Guy, on page 127 of the paperback edition. 

Pileggi quotes Hill going through a full rap sheet on Tommy D. Hill fingered Tommy in hijackings, robberies, blackmail, explosives, insurance fraud, and murder, something Tommy did like he was wired that way. For one job,Tommy was supposed to lean on a warehouse foreman named Stanley Diamond, but DeSimone wound up killing him. Hill said DeSimone strangled Dominick "Remo" Cersani, pretty much because Jimmy Burke told him to. 

“Jimmy once killed his best friend, Remo, because he found out that Remo set up one of his cigarette loads for a pinch … Remo was dead within a week, he didn’t have a clue what was coming to him,” it says in Wise Guy. “I remember the night. We were all playing cards at Robert’s when Jimmy said to Remo, ‘Let’s take a ride.’ He motioned to Tommy and another guy to come along. Remo got in the front seat and Tommy and Jimmy got in the rear. When they got to a quiet area, Tommy used a piano wire. Remo put up some fight. He kicked and swung and shit all over himself before he died.” Remo is supposed to be buried next to the bocce court behind Robert's Lounge now.

As noted it was when Tommy shot Spider dead that Hill started thinking DeSimone was literally insane.

Billy Batts Murder
William "Billy Batts" Bentvena, a Gambino family member, reportedly was inducted in 1961 as a member of Carmine Fatico's crew. Three years later he was arrested in Bridgeport, Connecticut for a drug deal he supposedly did for Joseph "Joe The Crow" DelVecchio and Oreste "Ernie Boy" Abbamonte .

He served his time, six years, in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, returning home on June 9, 1970. (Note that DeSimone himself was not murder until years later.)

According to Wise Guy, Batts was “with Johnny Gotti from near Fulton Street and he was hooked up with the Gambinos.”

Henry Hill told Pileggi that the feud between Batts and DeSimone commenced at a welcome home party for Batts, who “had just gotten out of prison after six years. We usually give a guy a party when he got out. Food. Booze. Hookers. It was a good time. Billy was a made guy.”

Batts insulted Tommy DeSimone about shining shoes.

“Tommy was going nuts, but he couldn’t do or say anything. Billy was a made man. If Tommy so much as took a slap at Billy, Tommy was dead.”


Word on the street is Batt's didn't die on account of some insult over shiny shoes. It seems Burke muscled in on Billy Batt's loanshark business while he was in jail. Bentvena went to "Crazy" Joe Gallo to get it back, Burke didn't want to give it over, even Hill said that, just not to Pileggi in Wise Guy.

“A couple of weeks later Billy was drinking in the Suite,” reads Wise Guy. “I was praying he’d go home when Tommy walked in. It didn’t take long. Tommy immediately sent his girlfriend home and gave me and Jimmy a look. Right away Jimmy started getting real cozy with Billy Batts. … 'Keep him here, I’m going for a bag,’” Tommy told Hill. 

“He was going for a body bag – a plastic mattress cover – so Billy wouldn’t bleed all over the place after he killed him.”

Later, Tommy returned and "took the thirty-eight of out of his pocket. Billy saw it in Tommy’s hand. The second Billy saw what has happening, Jimmy tightened his arm around Billy’s neck. ‘Shine these fuckin’ shoes,’ Tommy yells and smashes the gun right into the side of Billy’s head. Billy’s eyes opened wide. Tommy smashed him again. Jimmy kept his grip. The blood began to come out of Billy’s head. It looked black."

Alex Corcione, an alleged member of the Vario crew, witnessed the murder, according to Wiseguy. Hill walked Alex quickly out of the bar. (He'd later be convicted with his brother on drug charges. Vito Pesce, A/K/A "Vic Pierce," also was convicted. (Pesce/Pesci, get it?) Corcione was released Dec. 8, 1987.

“Tommy had done the worst possible thing he could have done, and we all knew it. Billy’s body had to disappear.” What about Corcione? A member of Paul Vario's crew had witnessed the murder. This is one explanation for how the hit could've been connected to DeSimone despite their precautions.

Bentvena’s body was buried on that night, but that's not the end of his story. Like a ghost returned to haunt them, three months later they had to dig up the body and rebury it, as per Wiseguy (and Goodfellas, for that matter).
"Theresa Ferrara 2013-08-24 11-42" via Commons

Then the Lufthansa Heist happened -- which Vincent Asaro, who took "Spider" to the doctor after Tommy Two-Guns shot him the first time, in the foot, recently stood trial for and won a resounding victory against the Feds. The jury found him not guilty on all counts. A source informed me that Asaro and Jimmy the Gent were indeed very close friends. There's no doubt in my mind Asaro got away with murder, literally.

DeSimone also shot to death Parnell "Stacks" Edwards, who got stoned and/or otherwise managed to forget to ditch the truck used by the mechanics during the actual predawn raid at the Lufthansa cargo terminal.

In total,16 members of the "original Lufthansa" crew found dead or reported missing.

But the hit list was actually longer, Sokol noted, due to the mob's "preemptive response to a federal crackdown ... Teresa Ferrara, Desimone’s gumara, was found murdered. Her body had been dismembered." Ferrara, a beautiful young women, had moved from Long Island to Ozone Park, Queens, to pursue a career as a fashion model or actress.

What preemptive response compelled the events of 1979? By adding her to the cleanup, the source sets the stage for DeSimone's fate as per the DofG story.

Historically, reports say she worked with Luchese crime family associates and eventually became an FBI informant. Ferrara, a distant relative of New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, was brutally murdered.

John Gotti.
A New York Times editorial noted that on February 10, 1979, Ferrara received a phone call at her salon. She told her niece, Maria Sanacore, who was there that she was meeting someone on Long Island at a diner. She also told Sanacore to go and look for her if she wasn't back in 15 minutes. Ferrara left behind her purse, car keys, and mink coat, telling her niece that she had an opportunity to earn $10 grand. Ferrara was never seen alive again.

On May 18, 1979, a dismembered female torso was found floating in Barnegat Inlet near Toms River, New Jersey. At the Saint Barnabas Community Medical Center in Toms River it was confirmed, due to a recent breast augmentation surgery, that the body belonged to Ferrara.

No one was ever convicted of her murder.

Tommy DeSimone's Final Fate?
First, Tommy committed another murder, which Hill and Polisi say sealed DeSimone's fate. Apparently killing a made guy wasn't enough.. Ronald "Foxy" Jerothe was reportedly part of John Gotti's Bergin Hunt and Fish Club crew in Ozone Park, Queens. DeSimone dated Jerothe's sister. They broke up.

Jerothe heard Tommy assaulted her. He then made the unwise move of threatening to kill DeSimone.

So hearing that his life was threatened, DeSimone, who killed a lot of guys for much less, shot Jerothe three times in the face at point blank range with a .38 caliber.

Based on information from a source close to the Gottis, John Gotti had a very close relationship with "Foxy," to the extent that the Gotti family, meaning his wife, sons and daughters, considered him to be a member of their family.

DeSimone was summoned to get his button, as Hill tells it. In Gangsters and Goodfellas, he noted that in late December 1978 (or early January 1979), DeSimone was told that he was finally going to get his button. Peter Vario (Paul Vario's son) and Bruno Facciolo took him to an unknown location, where he was murdered.

"They were supposed to pick him up and drive him to where they were having the little ceremony, but when Jimmy called and asked if he had seen his godmother yet, Tommy’s mother said it was snowing so much it had been called off,” Wiseguy.

You know the rest -- if you didn't it's this story's "opening scene" in which Burke shoves over a telephone booth and says "they whacked him" and cries.

While it's generally accepted that Tommy DeSimone was probably whacked for killing "Billy Batts" Bentvena, the Geek source (a fitting description, I'd say) said otherwise.


"According to street stories that I heard, Tommy DeSimone was cut in half with a chainsaw and dumped into the Atlantic Ocean after the Lufthansa heist. But a new source casts further shadows on the hearsay evidence. 
"A former Gambino family associate, now a victims’ advocate, reached out to Den of Geek for an exclusive inside take on whatever happened to Tommy DeSimone. 
"Greg Bucceroni was a self-proclaimed “young violent street criminal from Philadelphia who associated with a variety of adult criminal types including Jimmy Burke.” 
He grew up in South Philly. His uncle was former ranked heavyweight boxer Dan “Butcher Boy” Bucceroni (active from 1947 to 1954. Won 47, 31 by knockout, and lost 6. Knocked out twice), who collected debts for local gangsters. 
“My uncle Dan was well known amongst the local ‘Goodfellas,’ which opened the door for special treatment by Philly mobsters Angelo Bruno, Harry Riccobene and others,” said Bucceroni.
By 1975, Bucceroni was running errands for Riccobene's “loan sharking and bookmaking operations in South Philly.” His association grew into “a variety of criminal acts” associated with “human trafficking, loan sharking, book making, grand theft auto, burglary, petty thefts and vandalism,” Bucceroni said. 
Bucceroni’s association with the Gambino family started when Riccobene introduced him to Gambino mob associate "Fat" Chucky Smith in the late '70s. 
Smith “operated mob front pornography establishments throughout Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City along with fellow Gambino mobsters Tony Trombetta, Richie Basciano and Robert ‘DB’ DiBernardo and others... along with Lucchese mob associates Jimmy Burke, Tommy DeSimone, and Henry Hill who collaborated in trafficking stolen property, illegal drugs, and guns throughout the Delaware Valley area,” said Bucceroni. 
“By the 1980s, I slowly developed into a young violent mob associate with the Gambino crime family's illegal pornography establishments headed by Robert ‘DB’ DiBernardo,” Bucceroni said. 
Bucceroni met Jimmy Burke “back in 1978” though Harry Riccobene. 

Following the murder, the source continued:

“Burke requested Richard Kuklinski associate Richie Bildstein to take DeSimone's dead body to a Philadelphia scrap metal yard to be disposed of in a pile of scrap metal that was soon afterwards sent to U.S. Steel Co in Pennsylvania to be melted down as scrap metal. Tommy DeSimone's body has never been found,” Buceroni said. 
....Where was DeSimone's body buried, if not in a cemetery? Bucceroni believes he saw it during a 1979 meeting in a mob front scrap metal yard in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. 
“I witnessed Gambino mob associate Richard Bildstein dispose of a dead body in a crushed automobile and place the crushed vehicle into a large scrap metal pile awaiting shipment to U.S. Steel Co. to be sold as scrap metal after Bildstein returned from Queens, New York after meeting with mob associates Richard Kuklinski and Jimmy Burke,” Bucceroni said. 
“Although I never saw the face of the dead body, Bildstein alleged that it was DeSimone after Burke requested Bildstein to dispose of DeSimone's body due to DeSimone's often drunkard-drug induced bragging after the Lufthansa airport heist,” Bucceroni explained...
“I remember Bildstein saying ‘bye bye Tommy’ as he dumped the crushed car into a pile of scrap metal due to be shipped out the following day. The Kensington based scrap metal yards often served as a disposal location for criminal types that wanted a murdered body to disappear,” Bucceroni said...
Bucceroni said he’s not afraid of any repercussions because the players are deceased and nobody cares anymore about what he had to say. 
"How is it I can walk around South Philadelphia mob neighborhoods and attend Philly mob trials sitting next to Philly mobsters in the court room audience if I'm a 'fake' mobster?" Bucceroni asked. "We both know that I would have been taken out a long time ago if that was true. Today I talk about mobsters of past not involving any current Philly mobsters. I'm no threat to the Philly mob for which many know of my troubling past and associations. But hey, the past is the past. They’re not worried nor am I."

I think we can safely dismiss the Geek source's words.

Tommy Two-Guns....

As for Hill's Gotti theory, he said he'd heard what happened from Sal Polisi.... Now this is what Polisi wrote in his book. I quote this with all spelling in tact, as printed in Polisi's book:

January, a month after Johnny [MEANING JOHN GOTTI] paid me that visit and offered me a chance to avenge Fox’s death and get in on a hit that would have earned me my button, Tommy “Two Guns” DeSimone disappeared. For a long time I didn’t know how it went down for Tommy.

There were a lot of conflicting stories at the time, and the GoodFellas movie fudged thdetails and didn’t make clear what exactly happened or who did it. The full story comes from Henry Hill, who was good friends with Tommy, and he made it a point to find out what happened as best he could.

The way Henry tells the story: Tommy was whacked by Gotti’s crew for killing Billy Batts, a made Gambino guy, back in 1970, and for Fox, who wasn’t made but was with John and the crew at the Bergin. Henry says that it was Paul Vario—who always hated Tommy himself but protected him because he was with Jimmy Burke, and Jimmy was his biggest earner— who gave Tommy to the Gambinos. Henry’s explanation of why Paulie gave Tommy up has to be believed.

He says Paulie was having an affair with Henry’s wife Karen while Henry was in prison. At the same time, Tommy got wasted on coke and put the moves on Karen too. She told him to fuck off and he beat the shit out of her. That enraged Paulie, who not only gave Tommy up to Gotti, he also drove Tommy to the fake induction ceremony himself. The part in the movie where Jimmy bangs down the phone and cries when he finds out what happened was true, Henry says. Only he and Burke were in Florida when they made the call, not outside a diner in New York. When Tommy got to the house where he thought he was going to be made, there really was a ceremony planned— only it wasn’t the one he. hoped for.

John was there. And instead of me, so was Tommy Argo, the Gambino guy who owned Sebastian’s. Argo also whacked one of Tommy’s brothers , the one who was the rat and who was the reason Gotti always hated Tommy. One thing Henry says makes me glad I turned down John’s offer to lend a hand avenging Fox’s death: Gotti and Argo didn’t just whack Tommy. They tortured him and they killed him slowly. Henry says that John made sure Tommy’s death “took a long time.” That was just one of the sickening things that happened back then. And there was more yet to come. Fox’s death in 1974 hit me hard.

So who killed Tommy DeSimone?
In my opinion Tommy AGRO whacked DeSimone. Thomas Agro (1931–1987), also known as "Tommy A", "T.A.", "Tipp", and "Thomas Ambrosiano." Why else would he speak of the DeSimone trifecta? (Then again this admission wasn't recorded. Ianuzzi was not wired for sound -- and Agro was never charged for the DeSimone homicides..)

Hill and Polisi are trying to sell books by using the Gotti name -- and that is my opinion. Hill, who seems to have made up Spider (or based him on an unidentified other person), and he seemed to continue to embellish, to add details about Gotti playing a larger role. The fact that Hill and Polisi contradict each other also is in my opinion indicative....

Ignore the one minute of music -- this version is complete and unedited...

Is this the voice of the man who killed Tommy DeSimone?

I think Hill wrote the truth in the first book -- Wiseguy, when he attributed the murder to the Johnny Gotti crew. The book was written before Gotti became a boss -- and a household name. It's likely that Hill had heard "on the street" something about Johnny Gotti. Hill probably never even met John Gotti.

Also linking Agro and Gotti is simply bizarre. Agro worked under Joseph "Joe Piney" Armone, who was a Castellano trusted associate. (This is the 1970s we're talking about, remember....)  Agro himself reportedly had a privileged relationship with family boss Paul Castellano. During this period, Agro was sent to prison for bookmaking. By 1976 Agro was dividing his time between New York and Palm Beach County, Florida.

Also to consider: Goodfellas was released in 1990; in they heyday of "Mikie Scars," who never heard a single word mentioned in his lifetime with the Gambinos that linked Gotti to the DeSimone hit.... That's enough reason for me to believe it was Tommy Agro.

One final question that must  remain unanswered:

What was Agro's motive for killing DeSimone?

Tommy Agro.....


  1. I know where Tommy DeSimone is buried. The persons basement where the body is was an associate of the Gambino family. This associate is now dead from natural causes. He sold the property 2 years before his death but the body is still in the basement. I know this because I was friends with the associates brother and the brother showed me the burial area in his basement.


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