Mob Wife Ex-Husband Hector Pagan In Brooklyn Halfway House With April 2021 Release Date

Back in 2014, despite the heartfelt pleas of a murdered man's daughter, Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson sentenced Hector (Junior) Pagan to 11 years in prison —and offered a thoughtful comment.

James Donovan
James Donovan was killed during a botched robbery in 2010.

He said, “We can only hope” that by time Pagan is released “we have prepared him for re-entry into society to mitigate the risk” of what would happen if Pagan returned to a life of crime.

How far Judge Gleeson's hope gets us is something we will discover very soon. The former Bonanno associate/Mob Wives bit player is getting out of the can in a few months..... He is currently residing at the Brooklyn RRM (a halfway house where he and other Federal offenders receive "community-based services that will assist with their reentry needs.")

Pagan's official reentry date is April 18, 2021.

Renee Graziano's ex-husband got a reduced sentence in 2014 because he flipped and testified against two cohorts who were involved with him in a heist that resulted in the fatal shooting of Luchese associate James Donovan. Luigi Grasso and Richard Riccardi were hit with prison sentences of 38 years and 36 years, respectively, for their convictions for robbery, possessing a firearm, and causing death through use of a firearm.

"For more than 20 years, these defendants have preyed on our community by engaging in narcotics and firearms trafficking, burglary, and, most recently, robbery and murder," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced in a statement.

The rich irony in this case is that Pagan himself, the cooperator, was the triggerman during the July 2, 2010, heist. Pagan shot Donovan, severing his femoral artery. Donovan—a self-employed check casher with ties to the Luchese family—had left the cash behind in a daring gambit to extricate himself from the situation. There was no rational reason to fire a gun at him. Donovan wasn't going to go to the police and sign a complaint against the guys who had robbed him.

TG Graziano, left, Joe Massino
TG Graziano, left, and Joe Massino

Another irony was that, on the witness stand, Pagan revealed a complicated history that involved a previous turncoat operation that included him tape recording his father-in-law, who also was his boss in the Bonanno family. 

Anthony (TG) Graziano -- a longtime member of the Bonanno crime family who was both consigliere and capo -- died in May 2019 at age 78 of unreported causes, though he suffered from health ailments including diabetes and bladder cancer. Renee Graziano, the former Mob Wives star, posted word of her father's  death on her Instagram.

A member of former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino's inner circle, Graziano was among the trusted aids whom the surveillance-paranoid Massino would travel with on "vacations" to places like Italy and Mexico. Massino held Graziano in such strong regard, he gave TG an early heads up regarding the 1981 triple murders of three "renegade" Bonanno capos--Anthony (Sonny Red) Indelicato, Dominick ( Big Trin) Trinchera, and Phil Giaccone --by early, we mean before a single shot was fired

Under Massino, TG had been given near total control of Staten Island for the Bonannos.

Graziano served time in prison for various charges, most recently in 2012 when he was indicted for racketeering after Pagan flipped and wore a wire on him. For those charges, TG copped out and  was sentenced to 19 months in prison. He was released in 2013 for health reasons. 

Graziano's fall from Mafia grace included being shelved by the Bonanno family over the hit VH1 reality show Mob Wives, which Graziano's daughters created and played a major role in.

As for the Donovan heist/murder, there initially was a quartet of guys in on the job: Pagan, Grasso, Riccardi, and Nunzio (Nicky) DeCarlo, a made member of the Gambino family who suffered a critical heroin overdose three months after the robbery, thereby evading prison and life as we know it. (Nunzio must've injected his entire share of the loot into his arm.)

The crew targeted Donovan because they were privy to the Luchese associate's check-cashing route and knew roughly when he'd show up outside an auto body shop in Gravesend, Brooklyn with a bag filled with cash. The foursome met on Staten Island several times to plan the robbery before D-day. 

Riccardi was the weapons guy, providing the guns, and was himself a distance from the primary action, as he was the designated driver of the crash car. The crash car is there to crash into any vehicles that seek to interfere with the getaway route of the A team. Driving the crash car is probably one of the worst jobs in the Mafia, if you think about it. (We recently watched that Brad Pitt flick Killing Them Softly, which we liked but had problems with—such as, what kind of mob hit man goes out on hits without support? In that film, there was no crash car.)

Hector Pagan and Renee Graziano
Hector Pagan and Renee Graziano

On the day of the job, DeCarlo, the Gambino soldier, drove Grasso and Pagan in his car to a supermarket parking lot that was in proximity to the auto body shop. The guys waited hours there, smoking cigarettes and pulling on a bottle "to take the edge off," as Pagan later noted in testimony.

Grasso's wife even dropped by while the crew was surveilling the scene. She needed his keys, having locked herself out of the house after going on a massive shop that included the purchase of steaks, etc. (Grasso's brother-in-law, who followed Pagan onto the witness stand during the trial, testified about this, saying that on the day of the robbery, Grasso's wife locked herself out of their Staten Island home after returning from a Friday afternoon shopping trip in which she'd bought steaks and other perishables for a big July 4 holiday barbecue they had planned.)

When Donovan finally showed up, the team quickly moved to separate him from his check-cashing monies  (the haul would be about $90,000). While Grasso searched Donovan's car for the bag with the cash, Donovan twisted away from Pagan and tried to run for it. Pagan shot him in the leg, prosecutors said. Donovan bled out, dying of blood loss.

The team divvied up their cash. Grasso took the guns, saying he would melt them down at a friend's auto body shop, according to prosecutors.

Before Pagan's sentencing, the Donovan family played a slideshow set to the tune of My Way that featured pictures of Donovan. Janine Donovan, the victim’s daughter, stood, faced Judge Gleeson and pleaded that he not give Pagan the freedom to “take and ruin the lives of others.”

“I can still hear his voice coaching me. I am no longer the same. I will never again know happiness without pain.”

Donovan said previous deals that Pagan had swung with the federal government in exchange for leniency “is not justice.”

“How many deals can one man get?” she asked. “It should stop here.”

TG Graziano and daughter Renee
TG Graziano and daughter Renee.

“What you said today would rip out any judge’s heart,” Gleeson said. “I would say the exact same things.”

Gleeson added that if it were his daughter, he’d “melt the key to the jailhouse.”

Pagan “hasn’t changed his spots,” Gleeson conceded, and law enforcement is “a pretty callous system,” but he said the government needs cooperation of that nature.

Gleeson said he had no choice but to honor Pagan’s agreement with the government to put away mobsters.

Pagan made the deal out of “purely selfish interests, of getting himself out of jail,” Gleeson said, adding that Janine Donovan’s words will “ring in my ears for years.”

Donovan’s daughter rushed out of the courtroom crying when Gleeson issued the 11-year sentence and Pagan was escorted out of the room, without handcuffs.