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Mobster Thomas Pitera was a hitman for the Gambino and Bonanno organized crime families. Notorious for his brutal crimes, he is nicknamed “The Butcher.”
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He had an almost scientific approach to his murders, choosing to bury the remains deep in the ground to avoid detection and separating the head from the body to avoid identification. It was also revealed that one of his favorite dumping grounds was the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge on New York's Staten Island. And, like many serial killers, Pitera liked to take a keepsake from his victims.
After a seven-week trial,
the jury decided to convict Pitera on six counts of murder and on racketeering and drug charges. He was acquitted of the murder of Wilfred "Willie Boy" Johnson, an FBI informant, and of the two murder-conspiracy charges. But Pitera was convicted in the deaths of five criminal associates. Two of these killings happened in 1989 and were connected to drug trafficking, making them possible death penalty cases. The jury had to determine whether Pitera should be put to death in a separate hearing. They decided against the death penalty, and he was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Pitera is currently serving time at the United States Penitentiary in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
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