Anthony Comello, Alleged Killer of Gambino Underboss Frank Cali, Mentally Unfit to Stand Trial

He really is bat-shit crazy -- or, at the very least, Anthony Comello, the twenty-something conspiracy theorist who allegedly shot high-ranking Gambino mobster Francesco (Franky Boy) Cali in the back and killed him in front of his Staten Island house in 2019, has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.

Frank Cali, Anthony Comello
Frank Cali, left; Anthony Comello

That was the word from prosecutors and Comello's defense attorneys during a remotely held press conference in State Supreme Court, St. George, where Justice William E. Garnett ordered that Comello be transferred to a state Office of Mental Health facility for further evaluation.

Comello is unable to aid in his defense and doesn’t understand the charges against him, the mentally unfit ruling means.

[We posted exclusive video at the bottom of this story that purportedly shows Comello -- two months prior to the Cali shooting -- on the verge of fighting with someone on the street....]

His next court hearing is scheduled for July 13. Comello's new attorney declined further comment, according to an SI-Live report by Frank Donnelly.

Prosecutors allege Comello, 25, shot Gambino family underboss Frank Cali, 53, six times outside Cali’s Hilltop Terrace home in the prestigious Todt Hill section of Staten Island on March 13, 2019. Cali was pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital.

In previously filed court papers, Robert Gottlieb, Comello’s former lawyer, argued that the defendant was deluded by conspiracy theories and was actually defending himself when he shot the victim.

Comello drove to Cali’s house to affect a citizen’s arrest on the mob boss, the defense’s court filing notes.

Comello believed Cali “held a significant status in a worldwide criminal cabal bent on the destruction of American values and the American way of life,” the filing contends, adding that Comello had planned to handcuff Cali and hand him over to the military.

The two were then seen arguing, and Comello “shot Cali in self-defense” when Cali made a “furtive action” with his hand, allege the defendant’s court filings.

Reports based on surveillance footage of the incident claimed that the  exchange between the two prior to the shooting was nonviolent, and that the two even shook hands, and Comello waited until Cali turned his back on him before pulling and firing his weapon.

We initially reported that Comello was romantically interested in a relative of the now-deceased mobster. The murder of Cali allegedly occurred because the crime boss had told Comello to stay away from his family member.

Detectives allegedly have footage from the incident which was captured by a security camera outside of Cali’s home. Comello’s fingerprints matched prints found on a license plate that Comello had handed to Cali before the shooting.

At the end of a 2019 court conference, Comello launched into a rambling monologue on human sex trafficking and drug smuggling. Then Comello referenced Australia, Russia and Ukraine, and “Operation Mockingbird,” an alleged large-scale CIA program dating to the 1950s.

Comello's initial defense posed that the suspect was influenced by far-right internet rhetoric, the QAnon conspiracy theory, and President Donald Trump.

Comello was arraigned last year on charges including murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the March 13 shooting death of Cali outside his home. Comello did not plead guilty to the crime, and lawyer Gottlieb cited “other right-wing conspiracy websites, hate words that have been spewed by citizens, including politicians, including right at the White House.”

In court, Comello displayed handwritten pro-Trump slogans on his palm, including the phrases “MAGA Forever,” “Make America Great Again,” and “Patriots in Charge.” Comello was remanded without bail.

Gottlieb told the court Comello’s “family and friends... recognize and picked up on significant changes in him over the past few months. Something dramatically happened to him that certainly seems to have been affected by that hate spewed throughout the internet.”

Francesco Cali was waked last year in Tottenville, Staten Island, at Scarpaci Funeral Home following a small service.

About a dozen mourners attended the service — and were closely scrutinized by law enforcement, reportedly both FBI and NYPD, using high-powered cameras from across the street.

Cali’s burial spot was reportedly purchased by the Gambino crime family with $45,000 in cash.

The cemetery is not far from where Cali was gunned down in Todt Hill, which has had multiple mob connections.

Former Gambino boss Paul Castellano, who ran the Gambino crime family until December 1985, when he was shot to death in midtown Manhattan to allow John Gotti’s rise, owned a home on Benedict Road. Nearby, a Longfellow Avenue house served as the filming location of the Corleone family compound in The Godfather. One of the area’s most prominent realtors once said the neighborhood’s prestige was one of its greatest assets. (The realtor's last name was Profaci.)