Gambino Soldier Huck Carbonaro, Given 70 Years Inside, Leaps Onto Compassionate Release Bandwagon

Thomas (Huck) Carbonaro, 73, saying he is a changed man who deserves a break, is filing for compassionate release in an attempt to delete the balance of the 70-year sentence he got for several mob murders, including for plotting to kill Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano in Arizona.

Thomas (Huck) Carbonaro
Huck Carbonaro

In addition to being convicted for his role in the infamous Gambino family conspiracy to find and kill Sammy the Bull out West around the turn of the 20th century, Huck was found guilty of participating in the 1998 slaying of Gambino associate Frank Hydell and the 1990 killing of construction official and reputed Gambino mobster Edward Garofalo.

The Staten Island Advance recently reported on Huck's CR, noting that the Gambino soldier wants to spend what time he has left with his family. His projected release date is in March of 2063. 

“Mr. Carbonaro is no longer the man who committed his offenses of conviction,” attorney Harlan Protass wrote, according to the Advance.

 “Rather, today, he is a simple convict doing his time, trying to improve himself and attempting to maintain relationships with his large, loving and ever-growing family.”

Manhattan federal prosecutors are opposing the effort.

Huck Carbonaro
Huck Carbonaro in 2003 "biker" photo during his Arizona trip. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Robles noted, “These offenses ... could not have been more harmful to the public and our justice system. Given the multiple lives taken at the hands of the defendant and his co-conspirators, as well as the defendant’s involvement in loan-sharking and extortions on behalf of the Gambino crime family, the 70-year sentence imposed by the court was fair and should remain undisturbed.” 

Manhattan federal court Judge Colleen McMahon is to rule on Carbonaro’s motion, but no date as yet been set, according to the Advance.

Sammy the Bull

In appeals related to Carbonaro's case, the Feds say that the Gravano plot was born after Peter Gotti, while Gambino family acting boss, visited brother John in prison in September 1996. 

During the visit, John Gotti ranted about Gravano and urged Peter to reach out and get to his former underboss, saying "that's a bill that's gotta be paid."

Gravano flipped and testified against Gotti at his 1992 racketeering trial, helping federal prosecutors put Gotti away for life. Gravano copped to 19 murders and other crimes and served only five years in prison on racketeering charges as part of his deal with prosecutors in Brooklyn. He entered the witness protection program but left and moved to Arizona where he lived openly

The FBI's Gambino squad investigated the plot and revealed that Gambino soldier Carbonaro was one of the leading wiseguys inside the plot. About $75,000 in mob money financed the plot which included paying for a bomb prototype, false identification papers for the would-be killers and sophisticated surveillance equipment.

The ultimate tipping point for the plot was an interview Gravano gave the Arizona Republic in July 1999, according to FBI investigators. The story detailed how Gravano was living an open and conspicuous life in Tempe, near Phoenix, after having left the federal witness protection program. 

''That was interpreted by people in the Gambino family as kind of the last straw,'' one investigator said, adding, ''They interpreted that as he was rubbing their faces in it.''

Before the killers could move in on him, in February 2000, Gravano, his wife, son, and daughter were all pinched and charged with running a multimillion-dollar ecstasy ring in Phoenix.

Huck and others allegedly continued to plot his murder, even after his arrest. One option they considered was sending a letter bomb to Gravano in the jail where he was being held.

Frank Hydell

In early 1998, various members and associates of the Gambino family suspected Hydell was cooperating with the Government.

Carbonaro told Gambino captain Michael (Mikie Scars) DiLeonardo that Hydell was "a rat" and had to be killed.

Carbonaro and his nephews Letterio DeCarlo and Thomas Dono, along with John Matera (all three were associates) and others plotted to murder Hydell to prevent him from providing information to the Government concerning the 1997 murder of Frank Parasole.

Scarlet's strip club on Staten Island
Scarlet's strip club, scene of 1998 killing of Frank Hydell.

On the night of April 27/early morning of April 28, Matera, a close Hydell friend lured Hydell to the Staten Island strip club Scarlet’s. Hours later, when Hydell was leaving the club, he was shot dead in front of his car. (Matera was reportedly suffering from a bad case of COVID-19 at FCI Danbury in Connecticut in April of 2020.)

Carbonaro later told DiLeonardo all about the hit, saying that he, Huck, was the getaway driver, associate Edmund Boyle was the shooter, Matera the ruse, and Carbonaro's nephews had made it a point to be present when the hit went down. 

Other members of the Gambino family, including soldier Frank Fappiano, also were allegedly part of the conspiracy to kill Hydell. 

Edward Garofalo

Carbonaro was accused of driving the "decoy car" to distract the cops from the August 8, 1990, killing of Gambino mobster Edward (Eddie the Chink) Garofalo, who shouldn't be confused with his cousin Edward (Cousin Eddie) Garafola, a made Gambino member who was sentenced to 30 years in prison--in part for allegedly participating in the hit on Eddie the Chink. Eddie the Chink also is the father of Edward (The Tall Guy) Garofalo Jr., who is with the Colombo family.

In 1990, Gravano set in motion the hit on Garofalo for, among other things, supposedly cooperating with a law enforcement investigation. This reportedly is the last hit ordered by Gambino boss John Gotti.

A hail of bullets struck Garofalo, 49, in the head, chest, and back as he and a woman he lived with were walking to his car in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn at about 10:30 pm at night.

Scene of hit on Edward (Eddie the Chink) Garofalo
Scene of shooting of Eddie the Chink, pictured inset right, Gotti's "last hit."

Prosecutors said Carbonaro distracted police from the Garofalo slaying by deliberately running a red light. Police pulled him over-- and were unable to apprehend the killers.

"Huck did his job that night," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincent Ho. "He distracted the police and the killers were able to speed away."

At the time of the hit, law enforcement sources said that Garofalo may have been involved in the slaying of Irwin (Fat Man) Schiff, a 400-pound millionaire with ties to the Gambino and Genovese families who was killed in 1987 in a restaurant on the East Side of Manhattan.

Michael DeBatt
Though never formally charged for it, Huck was the alleged shooter in the Michael DeBatt murder, as Sammy the Bull repeatedly alleged.

DeBatt, a member of Sammy the Bull's Gambino crew, was supposedly killed because of a drug addiction.

The murder took place in 1987 after DeBatt's wife approached Sammy for help with her husband's problems with crack cocaine, according to Gravano (who discussed the murder in court testimony, FBI 302s, and the book Underboss).

On the night of November 2, 1987, DeBatt was working behind the bar at Tali's Restaurant and Lounge, Sammy the Bull's Brooklyn headquarters during his heyday, which was located at 6205 18th Avenue in Brooklyn. 

Huck pulled out a gun and shot him several times in the head.

DeBatt’s body was left face-up on the floor with his pockets emptied, his jewelry removed, and the cash register cleaned out.

“We tried to make it look like a robbery,” as Gravano later said.

Mickey DeBatt taken out of Tali's
Huck allegedly shot DeBatt at Tali's in Brooklyn over alleged drug use.

The murder of DeBatt "just tore my fucking insides out," Gravano noted.

In 1992, while on the stand at John Gotti's racketeering trial,  Gravano told the jury that he had been involved in "more than one" killing with DeBatt, who he said was "a guy in my crew in Brooklyn." 

DeBatt became a problem because he "started taking drugs."

"What did you do?" the prosecutor asked.

"We killed him," Gravano answered in his usual terse tone.