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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Chicago Outfit Gangster Paul Shiro Sentenced

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A federal judge in Chicago today sentenced 71-year-old jewel thief Paul "the Indian" Schiro to twenty years in prison following his September 2007 racketeering conviction in the so-called Operation Family Secrets trial, and in imposing the sentence the judge concluded that Schiro was responsible for the 1986 murder of his friend Emil Vaci:A jury had found Schiro guilty of racketeering but couldn't reach a verdict on Vaci's killing. But U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel found that the prosecution had proven by a preponderance of evidence that Schiro had helped kill Vaci. And the judge took that into account in sentencing Schiro, as the law allows. * * * Schiro, a career criminal and close friend to infamous Chicago mobster Tony Spilotro, was essentially on call to do the mob's bidding, Zagel noted. When the Outfit asked him to help kill his friend, Zagel noted, there was "no evidence of hesitation." Vaci was killed in Phoenix outside the restaurant where he worked because the Chicago mob feared he was cooperating with a federal criminal investigation into the disappearance of a man who had helped the Outfit skim millions of dollars but then ripped off the mob. Schiro did not pull the trigger on his friend but was in a nearby car, acting as a lookout and listening to a police scanner, according to court testimony. Mob killer-turned-government witness Nick Calabrese testified at trial that Schiro took part in the planning of Vaci's killing. Calabrese said he and an accomplice pulled Vaci into a van, then Calabrese shot Vaci several times in the head and dumped his body in a canal.Schiro is the first defendant from the Operation Family Secrets trial to face sentencing: "Prolific mob killer Frank Calabrese Sr. is to be sentenced Wednesday, while mob bosses James Marcello and Joseph 'Joey the Clown' Lombardo are to be sentenced next week."This marks the second major mob conviction against Schiro: "He was convicted in 2001 for his role in the mob-connected jewelry theft ring headed by William Hanhardt, a former Chicago police chief of detectives, and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison."

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