Cooperation pays off for mob trial witness

July 26, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The mob witness sentenced Tuesday helped to bring down the crime group of Michael Sarno, a long-time outfit boss. Sarno was convicted in December of overseeing lucrative suburban rackets for the mob, including armed robberies and the bombing of a rival video gaming company.

The government witness, 47-year-old Kyle Knight of Merrillville, Indiana, is a career criminal. According to a plea deal Knight cut with U.S. prosecutors, he admitted his role in a series of outfit jewel heists and in the 2003 bombing of a Berwyn video game maker.

C and S Coin Operated Amusements was blown up by the Sarno crew because the company had been edging in on video gambling machines controlled by the mob. After the bombing, authorities raided Knight's apartment and found a storeroom of explosives and criminal tools.

Tuesday, Judge Robert Gettleman went along with the sentence prescribed by prosecutors, in consideration of Knight's cooperation and testimony: 15 years in federal prison.

Under the law, Knight could have received more than 30 years.

The former crystal meth addict has been moved to the metro Correctional Center in the Loop before a permanent prison assignment, somewhere near Chicago, another perk of the plea deal.

Judge Gettleman suggested to Knight, once he gets out of prison, he should choose "activities that don't hurt people."

Sarno, known in mob circles as "the Large Guy," was to be sentenced Wednesday. His sentencing date has been moved to September 19.

Sarno is looking at the likelihood of 25 years in prison, according to some experts, and several of his crew members are due to receive very lengthy sentences as well.

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