How DiB Vanished: Testimony Of Gambino Underboss Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano Part 10

During the 1992 trial that featured Sammy the Bull's testimony it was alleged that John Gotti expected his captains to pay him $3,000 on his birthday and on Christmas.*

While awaiting trial in jail, Gambino boss John Gotti ordered a hit on Gambino porn czar/soldier Robert (DiB) DiBernardo using Angelo (Quack Quack) Ruggiero as the go-between with Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, who was serving as acting boss while Gotti was away.

Ernie Boy Abbamonte,  Nicodemo "Nicky Slick" DiPietro, John Carneglia.
 From left: Ernie Boy Abbamonte, Nicky Slick DiPietro, John Carneglia.

While the motive for killing DiB supposedly was "subversive" comments he made behind Gotti’s back, in a later discussion in the apartment above the Ravenite in Manhattan, Gotti told Frank (Frankie Loc) Locascio something else. 

Gotti blamed his underboss, Gravano (who was not in the apartment above the Ravenite at the time), for pressing him to order the murder of DiB (as well as of Gambino wiseguys Liborio Milito and Louis DiBono.)

“Did he ever talk subversive to you?” he asked consigliere Frankie Loc, who replied, “Never.”

“Never talked it to Angelo, and he never talked it to [Joseph Armone] either. I took Sammy’s word that he talked about me behind my back … I was in jail when I whacked him. I knew why it was being done. I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done anyway.”

Gotti asserted that he had killed those members because a green-eyed (jealous) Sammy had asked permission to get rid of business partners.

After Gotti and Gravano (and Locascio and Gambino capo Thomas Gambino) were all arrested in the big one, the case that finally took the Dapper Don permanently off the street, Gravano would hear the recordings of Gotti talking about him. Gravano said hearing Gotti slam him was a key part of his reason for flipping. 

(Gotti definitely seemed to be laying the groundwork to pre-rationalize a subsequent order to hit Gravano.)

On the stand, Gravano addresses directly both Gotti's claims and the DiB situation. 

"I never asked permission to kill Di B. I never said he talked behind (Gotti's) back. I said that whatever Angelo told him, wherever he got this from, wasn’t true. What I did was an order. I was ordered to kill Di B. An order came out of prison and I killed him."

Prosecutor John Gleeson let it be known that, whatever the case with DiB, Gravano didn't really care that much either way once he got the order to proceed with the hit.

The following includes an objection from attorney John Mitchell—who along with Anthony Cardinale—represented Gotti co·defendant Locascio. Albert Krieger represented Gotti (and cross-examined Gravano).

Read previous installment:

GRAVANO: He told Di B that we were downstairs. Di B came in. He came downstairs. He said hello. He sat down. Then old man Paruta got up and I told him to get Di B a cup of coffee. He got up. In the cabinet there was a .380 with a silencer. He took the gun out, walked over to Di B, and shot him twice in the back of the head. Me and Eddie picked him up and put him in the back room, locked it up. We left the office. We locked the office up and I went and met with Angelo and I told him it was done.

GLEESON: Where did you meet with Angelo?

GRAVANO: In the Burger King in Coney Island.

GLEESON: You mentioned your brother-in-law Eddie, the old man Paruta and Huck. Had you committed murders with them in the past?


GLEESON: When you met with Angelo, were you alone? Did you go there alone?

GRAVANO: I believe my brother-in-law drove me.

GLEESON: When you got there, was Angelo alone?

GRAVANO: I don’t know.

GLEESON: Did you have a conversation with him?


GLEESON: What did you tell him?

GRAVANO: I told him it was done, that he came down with a brand-new Mercedes with a sophisticated alarm system.

John Carneglia, Gene Gotti
John Carneglia, left, gives someone offstage the stink eye while
Gene Gotti strolls along beside him seemingly without a care in the world.

GLEESON: Who had?

GRAVANO: Di B. I told him I had the keys. He told me don’t worry about it, he’ll see me tonight, meaning that night, eight-thirty, nine o’clock, at Tali’s, and he would get rid of the body and the car.

GLEESON: At that point, did he tell you how he was gonna get rid of the body and the car?


GLEESON: Where was the car, by the way?

GRAVANO: Half a block away from my office.

GLEESON: Did you go to Tali’s later that evening?

GRAVANO: Yes, I did.

GLEESON: Did you meet people there?


GLEESON: Who did you meet?

GRAVANO: It was Angelo, Johnny Carneglia. Johnny Carneglia was with a bunch of young kids. I don’t know who they are, Bobby Borriello and it was my brother-in-law Eddie, Huck, and there might have been some other people there.

GLEESON: There were some other people there, as well?


GLEESON: Did there come a point when you left Tali’s?


GLEESON: What is Tali’s?

GRAVANO: It’s a bar that’s more like a club.

GLEESON: Was it your club?


GLEESON: Did you hang out there regularly?


GLEESON: Was there a particular night of the week where people who were close to you would go to Tali’s?

GRAVANO: Every Tuesday night we would get together at Tali’s.

GLEESON: When you got to Tali’s that night, did you learn what arrangements had been made to dispose of the body?

GRAVANO: Frankie was there. He was supposedly gonna receive the body and John—

MITCHELL: I object, Your Honor.


MITCHELL: May I have a continuing objection to this line?


GLEESON: Which Frankie?

GRAVANO: Frank Locascio.

GLEESON: He was at Tali’s in addition to the people you mentioned before?


GLEESON: When you left Tali’s, where did you go?

GRAVANO: I went to my office.


GLEESON: At that point, was Di B’s body still down in the basement of your office?


GLEESON: Did you take steps to remove the body?


GLEESON: What happened in that regard?

GRAVANO: We went downstairs, we went back into the office. We went downstairs; me, my brother-in-law Eddie, Johnny Carneglia, and Bobby Borriello and took the body upstairs. Frankie pulled up on the sidewalk, opened up the trunk. And we put the body in the trunk. Frankie left, John Carneg went over with a bunch of kids and took the car and left. We went back to Tali’s and closed up the office.

GLEESON: Johnny Carneg took what car and left?

GRAVANO: Di B’s car.

GLEESON: You say Frankie pulled up the car to the office?


GLEESON: Was he in the car alone or with others?


GLEESON: Did he get out of car?


GLEESON: Who opened the trunk?

GRAVANO: I don’t really know if it opens from the inside.

GLEESON: Did you have help bringing the body up from the basement?


GLEESON: Where was the body placed?

GRAVANO: In the trunk.

GLEESON: After that, what happened?

GRAVANO: The car left, Johnny Carneg left with these kids taking the other car, we locked up, and left.

GLEESON: Did you see either Johnny Carneg, or the kids who took Di B’s car, later that night again?

GRAVANO: I don’t believe so.

GLEESON: Did you see Frankie Loc later that night again?


GLEESON: When he left in the car, was there anyone else in the car with him?


GLEESON: Just Di B’s body in the trunk?


GLEESON: Did he tell you where the body was taken?


GLEESON: Did you ever ask him?


GLEESON: Was there a reason why you didn’t ask him?

GRAVANO: It was none of my business.

[. . . .]

GLEESON: Did you ask for permission to kill Di B?


GLEESON: Was he a friend of yours?


GLEESON: You testified at the beginning of your testimony that evidence was presented at a hearing where the government sought to detain you pending trial. Do you recall that?


GLEESON: What did the evidence consist of?

GRAVANO: Part of it was the taped conversation about killing Di B.

GLEESON: Did you hear that? Did you hear part of that conversation played right here in open court?


GLEESON: That was back in December of 1990?


GLEESON: Did they reveal anything about the murder of Di B? What is your recollection of what—

 JUDGE GLASSER: By “they,” you are referring to the tapes? 

GLEESON: The tapes that we heard at the detention hearing. 

GRAVANO: Said that I talked—I told John that he was talking behind his back and I asked permission basically to kill him. 

GLEESON: After that hearing, did you have an opportunity to speak to John Gotti about that conversation? 


GLEESON: Were you alone when you spoke about it? 

GRAVANO: I was alone with John. 

GLEESON: What did you say to him? 

GRAVANO: I told him it wasn’t true. 

GLEESON: That what wasn’t true? 

GRAVANO: What was said on—in the tape when he was explaining to Frankie on tape wasn’t true. 

GLEESON: What part? 

GRAVANO: I never asked permission to kill Di B. I never said he talked behind his back. I said that whatever Angelo told him, wherever he got this from, wasn’t true. What I did was an order. I was ordered to kill Di B. An order came out of prison and I killed him. 

GLEESON: What did he say to you?

 GRAVANO: He says he heard it from “Joe Piney” as well. 

GLEESON: Heard what?

 GRAVANO: That Di B was talking behind his back and that I agreed with it.

 GLEESON: Di B was your friend?


GLEESON: You didn’t ask permission to kill him? 


GLEESON: But is it fair to say, Mr. Gravano, that you didn’t have any qualms in killing your friend once you were ordered to do so? 


[. . . .]


* We just learned about the amount of tribute Gotti expected from his capos while doing research about the trial. In our many years of wanderings, we never came across that little factoid.