Four given life for Falcone hit. Fifth defendant acquitted
A court in the Sicilian city of Caltanissetta has sentenced four defendants to life in the second trial into the 1992 assassination of crusading anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo, also a judge, and police officers Rocco Dicillo, Antonio Montinaro and Vito Schifani.
Salvatore Salvo Madonia, Cosimo Lo Nigro, Giorgio Pizzo and Lorenzo Tinnirello on Tuesday night were given life terms for their role in organizing the hit and acquiring the half-ton of explosives used to blow up Falcone and the other victims.
A fifth defendant, Vittorio Tutino, for whom prosecutors had also sought a life term, was acquitted.
Judges said Salvo Madonia, a leading member of the Mafia in Palermo, was one of the bosses who ordered the hit while the other three co-defendants placed the explosives.
The court is scheduled to release its explanation of the sentence within the next 90 days.
The explosives were placed in a culvert under the motorway between Palermo International Airport and the city of Palermo, at the exit to the town of Capaci. They were detonated by remote control on May 23, 1992, causing a blast so powerful it registered on local earthquake monitors. Mafia ‘boss of bosses’ Toto Riina was arrested in 1993 and convicted of ordering the hit. He is currently serving 12 life sentences for the Falcone assassination and a number of other crimes.
The trial in Caltanissetta followed a new investigation opened after former Mafia hitman Gaspare Spatuzza, a member of the Brancaccio clan, started cooperating with judicial authorities in 2008, revealing new details and the role played by the Brancaccio clan in preparing the deadly hit.