Ex-Colombo Capo Big Dino To Serve Only Two More Years; Wiseguy Faced Life

A vicious capo in the Colombo crime family who was one of two hit men responsible for killing an off-duty cop got something he probably never gave: mercy.

Dino Calabro

Dino (Big Dino) Calabro, 59, was sentenced to 11 years on Friday when he appeared in Brooklyn's Federal district court "shrunken and remorseful... begging a judge for mercy," as The New York Times reported. His pleas were answered when the judge, noting the importance of Calabro's assistance as a witness, sentenced him to 11 years rather than life.

Not everyone would agree with the judge's proclamation about Big Dino, whose testimony never brought to justice the Colombo mobsters allegedly responsible for the cold-blooded slaying of an off-duty NYPD officer.

Calabro was arrested in 2008 so he still has two more years to serve before disappearing into the witness protection program. (And if it's less than two years due to "good behavior," does it really matter?)

After Calabro flipped, he eventually testified at the trials of Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace and Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli, the Colombo family’s former street boss," who ran a crew of Colombo crime family shooters.

Calabro rose from a teenage wannabe to a capo in the Colombos. On his own testimony, he killed eight people (probably more) and was a participant in the murder of NYPD officer Ralph C. Dols, who married the ex-wife of Cacace.

The Feds long suspected that Dols was slain for marrying Joe Waverly's ex-wife, but although they won convictions against scores of Colombo mobsters, many of them beat the Dols' murder charge, including Cacace and Gioeli.

Another Colombo mobster named Dino -- (Little Dino) Saracino -- who committed the Dols murder with Big Dino, won an acquittal for the 1997 murder of the off-duty police officer in a split verdict but was sentenced to 50 years for racketeering.

Saracino allegedly won his button by carrying out the Dols hit for then-acting boss Cacace.

Gioeli was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to 18 years in prison for racketeering and murder conspiracy. Gioeli and Saracino were acquitted in 2012 of several murders that could have sent them away for life. In addition to Dols, the two were also cleared of the 1999 slaying of Colombo underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo, and the 1995 execution of Colombo associate Richard Greaves.

Outside courthouse following the trial, defense attorney Adam Perlmutter said the verdict was a repudiation of the government’s star witness, Big Dino Calabro.

“It’s clear (jurors) rejected the vast majority of what Dino Calabro had to say,” the lawyer said.

During the trial, Calabro described his days as a Colombo associate, including an invitation from Gioeli to do a “piece of work” for boss Cacace.

Calabro contended that Gioeli had misled him by telling him the target worked at a Queens social club and was in trouble with the family. The witness described how he and Saracino donned baseball caps and gloves before confronting Dols who was getting out of his car after parking it.

“What’s up?” Dols asked before both men opened fire and left him in fatal condition on the street, Calabro said. The killers tossed their guns in the sewer as they fled, he said.

Calabro said he only learned the victim was a police officer by reading newspaper headlines the next day.

“I was amazed,” he said. “We don’t typically kill police officers. That’s just the rule — you don’t hurt kids and you don’t kill cops.”

Calabro last appeared in court in 2012, "swaggering and ruddy-faced," the newbie government informant testified about the brutal murders he had once committed on behalf of his mob employers.