CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., a hit man who strangled victims and then slashed their throats to be sure they were dead, has died in a federal prison in North Carolina, authorities said.
Calabrese, 75, died Tuesday at the Butner Federal Medical Center, said Ed Ross, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ross had no information on the cause of death, though Calabrese claimed at his sentencing in 2009 that he suffered from a host of ailments, including an enlarged heart.
“It’s very emotional right now because there were two sides to my dad, and I miss the good side,” Calabrese’s son Frank Calabrese Jr. told the Chicago Sun-Times. He had helped put his father behind bars by secretly recording him boasting about mob killings.
Calabrese was among five men convicted in September 2007 at the Family Secrets trial, which resulted from a major, multiyear effort by the federal government to weaken the Chicago Outfit, as the city’s organized crime family calls itself.
The investigation also was aimed at clearing 18 unsolved mob murders dating back to the early 1970s. Calabrese was blamed for many of them and sentenced to life in prison.
It was Chicago’s biggest underworld trial in decades and it produced sensational testimony, including a description from his brother of how Calabrese preferred to strangle victims with a rope and then slash their throats to make sure they were dead.
None of the defendants in the Family Secrets trial was charged with murder. They were convicted of racketeering, but the jury held Calabrese and two others responsible for various killings designed to silence witnesses and mete out mob vengeance.
Calabrese laughed during some of the trial’s most grisly testimony.
Family members say Calabrese inflicted violence on them as well, with one son, Kurt, recalling during Calabrese’s sentencing that his “father was never a father _ he acted as an enforcer to me,” threatening to “bite your nose off” and make him “disappear.”
Frank Calabrese Jr. told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that that violent history made his father’s death especially emotional.
“I believe he was taken on Christmas Day for a reason,” he said. “I hope he made peace. I hope he’s up above looking down on us. … He’s not suffering anymore. The people on the street aren’t suffering anymore.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl