||New York| Tommy Desimone
Birth: May 24, 1950
Death: January 14, 1979
Thomas "Tommy" DeSimone was an enforcer in the Lucchese family and was the nephew of former Dragna Family boss Frank DeSimone. He was depicted in the 1990 hit movie Goodfellas by actor Joe Pesci.
Association with the Lucchese family
Thomas was born in Detroit in 1950. He was related to Rosario DeSimone, an early mob boss who ruled in Los Angeles during the 1930's, and Frank Desimone, who became the leader of the Los Angeles family from 1956 until his death in 1967. A couple of years after Thomas was born his family moved to New York where he became associated with a Lucchese crew ran by Paul Vario. Early tasks given to him were carrying money, hijacking trucks and dealing cigarets. During those years he met and befriended Henry Hill, an Irish-Sicilian youngster who had began working for the Vario brothers at the age of 12. It didn't take long until both became acquainted with Jimmy Burke, a successful Irish associate of Paul Vario who would mentor both men.
Although DeSimone was known as a womanizer he did get married in 1975 with a girl named Connie. Amongst the attendees at his wedding party was Gambino hitman Charles Carneglia. Carneglia was arrested later that night after he and other thugs harassed a waitress at a diner. This would lead to the murder of Albert Gelb, the 25 year old police officer who arrested him. Also Tommy was primarily known for his hot tempered character. It was noted that when he was playing a game of darts with his friends and was on the losing side, he started trowing his darts towards the winning team. He also wouldn't hesitate to smack a friend to the ground if they dared to make an offensive remark. On the other side he reputedly was a fun guy to hang out with as he told jokes all the time, as long as none of them where about himself.
The murder of Billy Batts
Throughout his career DeSimone had only one ambition, to become a made guy inside the Mafia. To do so he always tried to impress higher leveled members with his courage and determination. His ambition would however bring him in allot of trouble. In 1970 William "Billy Batts" Devino had just gotten out of prison and went to celebrate in a club called The Suite in Queens, New York. Batts was a made man inside the Gambino Family and was a friend of John Gotti. DeSimone also went to the club that night and reputedly began to quarrel with Batts after he was insulted by him. Batts had told other mobsters at the bar how DeSimone used to polish shoes while being a kid. DeSimone however kept his anger but was boiling inside.
Later that night, when Batts was fully loaded and everybody else had left, Desimone took his shot. Burke suddenly grabbed Batts tight while DeSimone started to smash his face with a revolver. The killing however was orchestrated and Burke had known of it all along. The main reason why he was murdered was because Burke had taken over Batts drug business during his incarceration. Batts and Burke had known each other for a couple of years and had worked together before. Now with Batts dead they had to get rid of the body as soon as possible. Therefore the three men, Desimone, Burke and Hill, loaded the body in the trunk of a car and then went to burie him. DeSimone was taken responsible for his death but the event was kept in an air of mystery.
Tommy proved his snapping anger again when in 1970, the same year of the Billy Batts murder, he killed a young bartender who was working at a social club owned by Burke. DeSimone and some others were playing cards when he started to pick on Micheal "Spider" Gianco. DeSimone mocked a bit with him and at one point ordered him to dance while pointing a gun on him. A bit carried away DeSimone suddenly shot Gianco in the food. Gianco was brought to the hospital but remained silent to the police about the unfortunate shooting. A couple of days later he was back working at the bar and DeSimone came by to play cards again. It didn't take long for DeSimone to make fun with Gianco's injuries. He eventually became so irritated with his remarks and suddenly replied "Go fuck yourself" to DeSimone. Gianco would however pay with his life for this insult. DeSimone took out his gun and shot him down without hesitation. Burke was not amused with this action and had the corpse buried in the cellar.
In December 1974 DeSimone was responsible for another murder of a Gambino member. This time the victim was associate Ronald Jerothe. DeSimone dated Jerothe's sister for a while as his mistress but after she ended the relationship he started to get violent towards her. This enraged her brother Ronald who began to threaten DeSimone. Hot tempered as he was, he couldn't deal with Ronalds tough guy attitude and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. All those years however DeSimone managed to have no retaliation from other mobster or troubles with the police.
The Lufthansa Heist
The Lufthansa heist was a large robbery operation at JFK airport in New York which occurred on December 11, 1978. The bandits seized about $6 million in cash and goods that night, it was the largest cash robbery in America at the time. The man responsible for the heist was James Burke. Together with a couple of associates, including DeSimone, they entered the airport and stole the money together with other goods such as jewelry. The aftermath however was less successful than planned. The man appointed as getaway driver that night, Stacks Edwards, had gotten high on drugs and instead of disposing the van he drove it to his girlfriend and left it there in sight of everybody. The next day the police discovered the van, which was double parked, and quickly identified it as the car used in the heist. On December 18 Stacks was murdered by Tommy DeSimone and Angelo Sepe as punishment. In months to follow many others were also murdered for their involvement in the heist, amongst them associate Martin Krugman.
Much to the proud of Burke, DeSimone was summoned to become a made man of the Lucchese Family in January 1979. This was the moment he was waiting for, it was the ultimate reward for his efforts. He went to the appointed place but once he arrived he found himself trapped. Tommy Agro took out his gun and shot him through the head. The Gambino family and Lucchese family had agreed upon his murder because of the previous killings of Billy Batts and Ronald Jerothe. According to Henry Hill's book, 'Gangsters and Goodfellas', he claims that DeSimone had tried to rape his wife Karen while he was jailed. Karen however at the time also had an affair with Hill's boss, Paul Vario. Because of DeSimone's disrespect towards Karen, Vario reputedly approached the Gambino Family and revealed that DeSimone had killed Devino and Jerothe, leading to his assassination.
One month after DeSimone's killing a woman named Theresa Ferrara disappeared after leaving her beauty salon in Long Island. She was a mistress of DeSimone and was a frequent visitor of the Roberts Lounge, the bar owned by James Burke. Farrera's death was also linked to the aftermath of the Lufthansa Heist which left about 12 people death. In 1990 DeSimone was depicted by Joe Pesci in the hit movie Goodfellas. After seeing the movie, Henry Hill responded that Pesci had portrayed DeSimone exactly like he was. In overall Tommy DeSimone was regarded as a psychopath.
(Source: "Wiseguy" by Nicholas Pileggi, "The Mafia Made Easy" by Peter J. Devico, foxnews.com, freebase.com)
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