Convicted mob boss gets life in prison

February 5, 2009 6:31:53 PM PST
A Chicago mobster was sentenced Thursday in connection with his conviction at the Family Secrets trial. James Marcello was a top leader in the Chicago mob.Marcello was handed a life sentence by Judge James Zagel for his role in an outfit racketeering case that goes back 20 or 30 years in some cases and for Marcello's personal hand in a pair of outfit killings.

Marcello's life sentence follows closely the life sentence handed earlier this week to Joey "the Clown" Lombardo on Monday and last week to Frank Calabrese Sr. That means that right now the government is 3 for 3.

From the time he first walked into the Federal Building decades ago, hidden behind windshield shades, Jimmy Marcello always looked the part he played in real life: an outfit tough.

Despite his pudgy 5-foot-7 frame, and nickname "Little Jimmy," authorities say Marcello became one of the mob's biggest figures.

In 2003, when Marcello was paroled from a racketeering sentence, he arrived home to a feast at his west suburban home. Not long after, Marcello was charged in Operation Family Secrets and hasn't seen the light of day since.

They won't be breaking out the fat cigars again, because at age 67, Marcello is destined to spend his remaining days in the crossbar hotel.

Among the evidence against Marcello, sometimes known as "Jimmy the Man", were tapes of conversations he had with top lieutenants while incarcerated in a federal prison in Michigan. The FBI secretly recorded Marcello and other hoodlums who made regular road trips from Chicago.

Marcello's sentence Thursday ties a neat ribbon on one of the outfit's most notorious hits. He was found guilty of the killing mob Las Vegas boss Anthony "the Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael. A jury found that in 1986 Marcello drove the Spilotros to a home in Bensenville where they were savagely beaten and then were taken to an Indiana cornfield where they were buried. The murders were portrayed in the hit movie Casino.

Several members of the Spilotro family told the judge Thursday the impact of the brutal double murders 22 years ago.

In a dramatic courtroom moment Thursday afternoon, Dr. Pat Spilotro, the victim's brother, a North Shore dentist, said, "I challenge the FBI to make two more arrests in this case, John "No Nose" DiFronzo and Louis Marino," both mobsters still out on the street according to Spilotro, and both allegedly involved in the Spilotro murders.

The I-Team talked with DiFronzo's long-time lawyer Carl Walsh, and when informed about what Pat Spilotro said in court, Walsh said there is no evidence, no new information in this case and there is no reason for him to have said that, and certainly no reason for anyone to arrest Spilotro. The attorney challenged Spilotro to come up with anything better than what he said in court.

Attempts to reach Marino or his lawyer were unsuccessful.