UK & World News

  • 24 June 2014, 15:43

Century-Old Mafia Murder Mystery May Be Solved

The mystery surrounding the murder of an anti-Mafia policeman in Sicily may have been solved after a century.

Italian-American New York police officer Lieutenant Giuseppe "Joe" Petrosino was killed in 1909.

He had been dispatched to Sicily to investigate the Mafia, then known in New York as the "Black Hand", and was shot dead in a Palermo square near the port almost immediately after his arrival.

When Italian police this week arrested some 90 suspected mobsters in a series of raids, an unexpected link to Mr Petrosino's killing emerged.

Police revealed that during the investigation that led to the arrests, one of the suspects, Domenico Palazzotto, boasted his great-uncle had killed Mr Petrosino.

Palazzotto was heard saying his family had celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the policeman's death.

"We have been mobsters for 100 years," says Palazzotto, 33, according to a wiretap planted by police in his Audi A3.

"My father's uncle, whose name was Paolo Palazzotto... was the first to kill a cop in Palermo... Joe Petrosino, an American cop," he says.

Palazzotto shot Mr Petrosino on behalf of his boss, Don Vito Cascio Ferro, according to Domenico Palazzotto.

"The young Mafiosi see the criminal acts of their ancestors as a badge of honour," Palermo law enforcement official Calogero Scibetta said.

But police also noted that Paolo Palazzotto and the alleged mastermind were acquitted of Mr Petrosino's murder for lack of evidence.

Advertisement