Joe Waverly, Badass Colombo Wiseguy, Back In Brooklyn

Former Colombo acting boss Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, 78, who ordered a string of gangland hits and was suspected of ordering the murder of an NYPD cop back in the day, is currently residing in a Brooklyn halfway house located near where the battle-scarred veteran mobster came up, on Waverly Avenue in Fort Greene, according to Gang Land News, which today reported that he was released from a federal prison in Kentucky last month.

Joe Waverley once fought off three would-be kidnappers, one to the death.

Joe Waverly will depart the halfway house this May, according to the BOP, when he completes the 20-year prison sentence handed down to him for copping to four gangland slayings, including the 1987 mistaken identity murder of administrative law judge George Aronwald--who was the father of a former federal prosecutor who the late Colombo family kingpin Carmine (Junior) Persico condemned to death.

In 2004, the onetime consiglieri, facing a sweeping indictment and devastating turncoat testimony, copped to racketeering charges, including ordering the Aronwald murder. (Cacace had  personally scouted the Manhattan law office that the two Aronwalds shared.)

Cacace, who progressed in his crime career and moved from Brooklyn to Deer Park on Long Island (moving to Suffolk County was a trend among a small cohort of successful Colombo wiseguys), will have served about 17 years in prison, when all is said and done.

In 2013, Cacace, almost a decade into the racketeering sentence, was acquitted of the one murder charge he fought in court: the execution of NYPD officer Ralph Dols, who was shot five times and killed  in 1997 by a Colombo hit team near his Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, home.

Cacace had been elevated up the Colombo family hierarchy the year before the murder.

Law enforcement began eyeballing Cacace as a suspect from the get-go. Dols had married the mobster's ex-wife, Kim Kennaugh, who had a thing for wiseguys. (Her other ex-husbands include wiseguys Thomas Capelli and Enrico Carini, who was rubbed out in 1987; more on Enrico coming. Then Kennaugh broke the pattern by marrying a cop.)

Members of the hit team included Dino (Big Dino) Calabro and his cousin Dino (Little Dino) Saracino, who were shooters, and Joseph (Joey Caves) Competiello, who drove a crash car. Tommy Shots Gioeli played a role in relaying the hit orders from Cacace.

At Gioeli's 2012 racketeering trial, Little Dino was his co-defendant, the jury found that Gioeli's role in the Dols hit was not proved.

There was little evidence of Cacace's involvement, and no testimony to highlight the anger prosecutors alleged he had been feeling regarding Kennaugh's remarriage.

An alternative theory behind the murder involved Russian gangsters and was supposedly tied to some coincidental happenings. Three weeks before the hit, Dols was sideswiped by a van in an unsolved hit-and-run. A day prior to that, a limo driver shot at a Russian nightclub across the street from the cop’s apartment.

Echoes Of Gus Farace?
The killing of a member of the NYPD caused anger across the city, and not only among cops. Prosecutors alleged that, according to confidential informants, top figures in other New York crime families were furious over the high-profile Dols slaying -- and some of those figures were demanding that the Colombos murder whoever shot the cop.

Some in the Justice Department initially were demanding Joe Waverly's head, but the Feds dropped their death penalty effort before the trial -- substituting it with a 100-year prison sentence. Cacace mooted it when he was ultimately acquitted of the notorious 1997 execution.

Joe Waverly was a badass dude back in the day... In 1976, three men tried to force him into a car at gunpoint. But he wasn’t having any of it, and fought back and killed one of them, getting shot twice in the process... Then, with bullets lodged in both his chest and hand, a gravely wounded Joe Waverly got behind the wheel of his car and drove all the way to the 61st precinct -- with the body of the man he had killed on the backseat...

Cacace almost met fate again, on Feb. 26, 1992, during the Colombo war, when a hit team descended while he was picking up clothes at a Brooklyn dry cleaner. Joe Waverly was nearly killed. He lost a testicle.

The Hit — And Those That Followed
Justice Department Special Prosecutor William Aronwald was one of the top organized crime prosecutors in Manhattan in the 1980s. He probably raised the ire of many a wiseguy back in the day. But what he did to inflame Carmine Persico, the then-imprisoned boss of the Colombo crime family (who died in prison last year), was never truly touched on by the Feds.

As per federal allegations, Persico had more than enough power to write a death warrant. In this case, he passed it to Cacace, who gave it to the brothers Enrico and Vincent Carini, both Colombo soldiers, and Frank Smith, an associate who was close friends with Vincent Carini.

The trio tracked not the intended victim, but his father, George M. Aronwald, 78, a civil lawyer and parking violations hearing officer, and shot him dead inside Young’s Chinese Laundry in Long Island City.

Botching such a piece of work for a mob boss was an error of near-biblical proportions.

Prosecutors revealed the details in 2003 when they unveiled a sweeping indictment -- some 16 years after the murder and the string of related murders that followed.

''Murders are never forgotten,'' Roslynn R. Mauskopf, the then US Attorney in Brooklyn, said at a press conference to announce the charges against Cacace and 12 others, which included murder allegations and a host of traditional organized crime schemes such as extortion and gambling. (Two Luchese wiseguys were among the indicted.)

By 2003, Aronwald, the son (and the true intended target), had departed the Organized Crime Strikeforce and was a defense lawyer in White Plains. He told the New York Times that he had never personally prosecuted Persico and was perplexed about why Persico had apparently found him disrespectful.

There had always been suspicions, he said, that his father's killing involved people who had meant to kill him.

''It's difficult under any circumstances,'' he said after he learned about the new charges. ''But it makes it more difficult when he was basically an innocent victim of something that was intended for me. That just makes it more painful.''

While he had once prosecuted Carmine's brother, Alphonse (Allie Boy), the case had ended in an acquittal.

Back in 1987, Joe Waverly responded to the botched hit by ordering more hits, on the Carini brothers.

Then Cacace sent a shooter to kill those hit men.

Cacace ordered a hit on the hit men who killed the hit men....

As per the Feds, Luchese soldier Carmine Variale and Bonanno associate Frank Santora shot and killed the Carini brothers, who were found dead on June 12, 1987, in the backseats of separate cars parked in Sheepshead Bay.

While driving back from the double Carini funeral, Cacace was in a car with Frank Smith when they drove by Variale. Cacace pointed at him, identifying him as one of the Carini shooters. Then, Cacace and Smith went to get a gun to kill him, but they were unable to find the Luchese wiseguy again that day.

Later, as per prosecutors, on September 23, 1987, in broad daylight, Frank Smith unleashed a hail of bullets that cut down and killed both Variale and Santora outside a Bath Avenue social club.

Kim Kennaugh was married to Enrico Carini when he was killed. While a widow (she served two stints), Kennaugh married Cacace; they later divorced, and she married Dols...

Frank Smith's Fate
Based on a 2013 court proceeding: Frank Smith was arrested on May 1, 1987 for his role in the sale of narcotics. On May 4, 1989, based on a jury's verdict, Smith was sentenced to 15 years to life imprisonment.

Several years later in 1992, Frank Guerra allegedly admitted that he, not Smith, had sold the drugs, but he never provided a sworn statement.

Then in June, 1999, a motion to vacate Smith's sentence was made over Guerra's admission, deeming the information new evidence.

On June 19, 2003, Justice Leslie Crocker Snyder, who sentenced Smith in 1989, vacated the sentence and dismissed the indictment "in the interests of justice,” as she said at the time.

An August 12, 2013 letter from the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to the Assistant Attorney General, described what it called Smith’s other involvement with the criminal justice system, state and federal, including:

Smith pleaded guilty in 1992 to conspiracy to burglarize a bank and was sentenced in three years in federal court to be served consecutively with the state sentence he was serving on his 1989 narcotics case.

In 2001, the Brooklyn District Attorney in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's office indicted Smith for killing Carmine Variale and Frank Santora.

On January 16, 2003, Smith signed a formal cooperation agreement by which he pleaded guilty in federal court to a violation of RICO that alleged his participation in seven murders and a conspiracy to murder. As part of that cooperation agreement, Smith also pled guilty in Kings County Supreme Court to manslaughter in the first degree for the Variale and Santora homicides.

Smith's sentence for the Variale and Santora case was six to twelve years, which would run concurrently with his sentence in the original narcotics case.

By June 19, 2003, when the narcotics conviction was vacated, Smith had served nearly all of the 15-year sentence on that case. He was credited with three years of time in satisfaction of the bank burglary case and nearly 12 years in satisfaction of the sentence received in state court for the Variale and Santora case.

Accordingly, the sentences for the bank burglary and the Variale/Santora homicides were deemed served, and in July of 2003, Smith was granted bail on the federal case, and entered the federal witness protection program, which he eventually left voluntarily.