1992 Testimony of Gambino Underboss Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano Part 5: Choosing The Hit Team

This entry begins with a Gambino family meeting to plan the hit on boss Paul Castellano. In attendance were Gambino players Sammy the Bull, Frankie DeCicco, Joe Watts, John Gotti, Angelo [Ruggiero], Eddie Lino, Fat Sally, Vinnie Artuso, Johnny Carneglia, “Tony Roach,” and Iggy. 

John Gotti, Frank DeCicco
John Gotti, left, Frank DeCicco.

1992 Testimony of Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano Part 4: Plotting To Kill A Boss

The following continues with Sammy the Bull still under direct questioning by John Gleeson, the then Assistant United States Attorney.

GLEESON: Was there a meeting to plan the murder? 

GRAVANO: Yes, that was the night before we had a serious meeting. 

GLEESON: Where was the meeting? 

GRAVANO: In my office in Brooklyn. 

GLEESON: Who was present?

GRAVANO: There was myself, Frankie DeCicco, Joe Watts, John Gotti, Angelo [Ruggiero], Eddie Lino, Fat Sally, Vinnie Artuso, Johnny Carneglia, “Tony Roach,” Iggy. 

GLEESON: Anyone else? 

GRAVANO: I believe that is it. 

GLEESON: Of those people, until that time, that meeting in your office, of those, how many previously had been involved in the plan to murder Paul? 

GRAVANO: Just myself, John, Angelo, and Frankie. 

GLEESON: Were the other people who came to that meeting, the new people, were they with anybody? 

GRAVANO: Yes, they were with—some with John, Joe Watts with Frankie. Vinnie Artuso was with Frankie Lo [Botz] and a couple of people. 

GLEESON: You mentioned Eddie Lino, Fat Sally. Who were they with? 

GRAVANO: With John. 

GLEESON: John Carneglia and “Tony Roach”? 


GLEESON: Vinnie Artuso was with whom? 

GRAVANO: Frankie Lo [Botz] in the Bronx. 

GLEESON: At that point, was Frankie Lo a soldier or captain? 

GRAVANO: A soldier. 

GLEESON: Was Vinnie made? 


GLEESON: Joe Watts? 

GRAVANO: Frankie DeCicco. 

GLEESON: You mentioned Iggy. Who was he with? 


GLEESON: Who chose the new people to come to this meeting to plan the murder of Paul? 

GRAVANO: John and Angelo. 

GLEESON: You didn’t mention Di B? 

GRAVANO: No. He was excluded from all of these meetings. 

GLEESON: Was there a particular reason he was excluded? 

GRAVANO: He was more of a conduit between all of us while the talking was going on, high-level business guy, wasn’t regarded in that fashion to do work, and we excluded him from the hit. 

GLEESON: One of the people you mentioned was “Tony Roach,” that is a nickname or his real name? 

GRAVANO: Nickname. 

GLEESON: Do you know his real name? 

GRAVANO: Rampino. 

GLEESON: I am sorry? 

GRAVANO: Rampino. 

GLEESON: What is inside your office at Stillwell Avenue? You go in the door, what do you see? 

GRAVANO: Reception area, desk. 

GLEESON: What is there? What is housed in that building? 

GRAVANO: Construction office. Offices and downstairs is a big table, a place to have conferences, and a big conference room. 

GLEESON: The conference room is below street level? 


GLEESON: Where in the building was the meeting to plan the murder of Paul Castellano? 

GRAVANO: Downstairs. 

GLEESON: What happened at the meeting? 

GRAVANO: We discussed that we were going to go on a piece of work the following day and we couldn’t miss, it had to be done. We discussed who the shooters would be, what positions different people would take, and what time we would meet the following day, and that is about it. We didn’t tell them who it was. 

GLEESON: Did you tell them where it would take place? 

GRAVANO: I believe just New York. 

GLEESON: As far as you knew did they know who the subject of the hit was going to be? 

GRAVANO: I am not really sure at that particular point, no. After we left they might have.

GLEESON: Who presided over the meeting? Who did the talking? 

GRAVANO: John, Frankie. 

GLEESON: You say you discussed who the shooters would be. Was a decision made as to who the shooters would be? 


GLEESON: What was the decision? 

GRAVANO: Eddie Lino, Fat Sally, Vinnie Artuso, and John Carneglia. 

GLEESON: I am sorry. How many names did you mention— 


GLEESON: Eddie— 

GRAVANO: Fat Sally, Vinnie Artuso, John Carneglia.

GLEESON: Any people made members of the Family? 

GRAVANO: Only one, just John Carneglia. 

GLEESON: I believe you testified a moment ago you discussed what the positions would be at that meeting? 


GLEESON: What did you discuss in that regard? 

GRAVANO: Shooters would be right outside of Sparks restaurant. We didn’t tell them the exact restaurant. They would be right outside the restaurant. [We discussed] who was going to be backup and what role they were going to play and actually get into it the following day. 

GLEESON: Did you discuss specifically where the backup people would be? 

GRAVANO: Not specifically, we didn’t get into it too much. 

GLEESON: Did you do it the following day? 


GLEESON: Did you make arrangements to meet the following day? 


 [. . . .] 

GLEESON: Where did you arrange to meet the following day? 

GRAVANO: Down New York near the water, there was a little park, downtown. 

GLEESON: By the way, where is Sparks? 

GRAVANO: It is on, I believe 46th Street and Third Avenue. 

GLEESON: Had you ever been there before you went there to kill Tommy and Paul?


GLEESON: Where in relation to the park, in terms of blocks or miles, was the park that you arranged to meet at? 

GRAVANO: About a mile or little more downtown and over toward the water. 

GLEESON: Do you recall the name of the park? 


GLEESON: Did you in fact go there the next day? 


GLEESON: Who did you go there with? 

GRAVANO: I went with Joe Watts, and we met everybody over there, other than Frankie DeCicco, he wasn’t there. 

GLEESON: Why wasn’t DeCicco there? 

GRAVANO: He was going to the meeting with Paul. He went to the restaurant. 

GLEESON: Other than DeCicco did you meet all the other people you had met the night before at Stillwell? 


GLEESON: … Did you bring anything with you? 

GRAVANO: A gun and walkie-talkies. 

GLEESON: Where did you get the gun? 

GRAVANO: I had it. 

GLEESON: Did you have guns at your disposal throughout your life in crime? 


GLEESON: Joe Watts have anything? 

GRAVANO: A gun and some—a walkie-talkie. 

[.… ] 

GLEESON: You say you brought walkie-talkies to the park? 


Frank DeCicco and John Gotti

GLEESON: What was the purpose of bringing walkie-talkies? 

GRAVANO: So we could communicate with one another. 

GLEESON: Is that something you discussed the night before at Stillwell? 


GLEESON: When you got to the park, did you drive there? 


GLEESON: In whose car? 

GRAVANO: I came with Joe Watts. 

GLEESON: When you got there, who did you see? 

GRAVANO: Everybody that I saw the night before excluding Frank DeCicco.

GLEESON: Was there any discussion at the park? 

GRAVANO: I believe we told them exactly who was going and it had to be done. 

GLEESON: When you say you told them who was going, what do you mean? 

GRAVANO: We told them Paul and Tommy Bilotti was going. 

GLEESON: By that you meant they were going to be killed? 


GLEESON: Was there any other discussion at the park? 

GRAVANO: Not really. 

GLEESON: Did there come a time when you left the park? 


GLEESON: Before you left the park, was it decided where people would position themselves in the vicinity of Sparks Steak House?

 GRAVANO: We went over it real quick. 

GLEESON: What did you go over real quick? 

GRAVANO: We knew who the shooters were, they would be right outside. Because they usually parked there and pulled up, “Tony Roach” was going to be across the street, Joe Watts, Angelo, Iggy, and them up the block. 

GLEESON: Toward where? 

GRAVANO: Second Avenue. They were going to take a backup position and me and John Gotti in the car and we went on the other side of the Third Avenue side, and we were taking that position. 

GLEESON: What was your role going to be? 

GRAVANO: I was the backup shooter. 

GLEESON: What was the role of Rampino? 

GRAVANO: We were all backup shooters. 

GLEESON: Rampino was going to be directly across the street? 

GRAVANO: Yes. If they got away, ran across the street, or somebody interfered, Tony would whack them. 

GLEESON: What was the role you mentioned the three people going to be up the block, who were—

GRAVANO: Watts, Angelo, and Iggy. 

GLEESON: They were up 46th Street toward Second Avenue? 


GLEESON: What was their role? 

GRAVANO: Backup shooters and getaway drivers. 

GLEESON: Where were you and John Gotti going to be? 

GRAVANO: On 46th Street and Third Avenue. Across the avenue on the other side. And we had Sparks Steak House sandwiched in. 

GLEESON: You were going to be on 46th Street but across Third Avenue? 


[. . . .] 

GLEESON: Now, were the shooters at the park in Manhattan, were they dressed distinctively? 


GLEESON: Can you tell the jury how they were dressed? 

GRAVANO: They had white trench coats and black Russian hats. 

GLEESON: Now, did all four of them, all four of the shooters, were they dressed that way? 


GLEESON: Okay. Did you participate in any discussions regarding how they should dress? 


GLEESON: Did you know before you arrived at the park that that’s how they would be dressed? 


GLEESON: Do you recall what the other people, not the shooters, but the other people at the park involved in the plan to kill Paul and Tommy Bilotti, do you recall what they were wearing? 

GRAVANO: Not really. 

GLEESON: Were they dressed like the shooters? 


GLEESON: Approximately how long were you at this park before you left it? 

GRAVANO: Fifteen, twenty minutes. 

GLEESON: From there, where did you go? 

GRAVANO: Right to the restaurant. 

GLEESON: Okay. You testified that you went to the park with Joe Watts, correct? 


GLEESON: Did you leave the park with Joe Watts?


GLEESON: With whom did you leave, if anyone? 

GRAVANO: I left with John. 

GLEESON: John Gotti? 


GLEESON: Fair to say, when you refer to John in your testimony, unless you otherwise indicate, you are referring to John Gotti? 


GLEESON: Whose car did you leave in?

GRAVANO: John’s car. 

GLEESON: Was it his personal car? 

GRAVANO: I don’t know. I don’t think so. 

GLEESON: What kind of car was it? 

GRAVANO: It was a Lincoln. 

GLEESON: Okay. Who drove? 

GRAVANO: John drove. 

GLEESON: Where were you seated in the car? 

GRAVANO: In the passenger side. 

GLEESON: Was there anyone else in the car? 


GLEESON: Where did you go when you left the park in the car with John Gotti? 

GRAVANO: Across the street from the restaurant. On the corner of Third Avenue and 42nd Street. 

GLEESON: You said 42nd Street. Is that where— 

GRAVANO: 46th Street. I’m sorry. 

GLEESON: Did you go there directly from the park? 


GLEESON: Approximately how long did it take? 

GRAVANO: Ten minutes. 

[. . . .] 

GLEESON: Mr. Gravano, were there a lot of people in the vicinity when you first pulled up to the corner of 46th Street and Third Avenue? 


GLEESON: And was it busy? 


GLEESON: When you first pulled up, did you see—by the way, did your car have—what kind of windows did it have, the car you were in with John Gotti? 

GRAVANO: Tinted. 

GLEESON: From where you were when you first pulled up to that corner, could you see the vicinity of Sparks Steak House? 


GLEESON: Were there people in the vicinity of Sparks Steak House? 


GLEESON: Did you see any of the others who were involved in the plan to kill Paul and Tommy? 

GRAVANO: I saw some of the people with the white coats near the restaurant. Across the street, I saw “Tony Roach.” 


GRAVANO: We weren’t parked too good on the corner, so we circled around the block once. 

GLEESON: Okay. Before you circled around the block, let me ask you, you mentioned that the plan was for three other people to be down the block, correct? 


GLEESON: Could you remind the jury of who the three people who were going to be down the block were? 

GRAVANO: Angelo, Joe Watts, and Iggy. 

GLEESON: Now, when you first pulled up to the corner, could you see them? 


GLEESON: Do you know where on the block they were?


GLEESON: Their role, though, was to be where? 

GRAVANO: Up the block. Toward Second. 

GLEESON: Toward Second Avenue? 

GRAVANO: Toward Second Avenue. 

GLEESON: You mentioned that you went around the block. Correct? 



GRAVANO: Because the car was sticking out too far, so we went around the block. When we came back, the spot was a little bit better. We pulled in. I looked to the right and stopped for the light. There was a Lincoln just pulled up with Paul and Tommy. 

[. . . .] 

GLEESON: Which direction was the car facing? 

GRAVANO: Going from Third Avenue to Second Avenue. 

GLEESON: So you were facing—you looked across Third Avenue? 


GLEESON: How long after you pulled into that spot—by the way, were you right on the corner? 

GRAVANO: Right on the corner. 

Next installment, Gravano testifies about the hit on Paul Castellano and Tommy Bilotti.