Mafia boss John Gotti was born and educated in New York City. After the death of Paul Castellano in December 1985, Gotti became the leader of the powerful Gambino family. The assassination, the first in 30 years, was organized by Gotti and his sidekick Sammy “the Bull” Gravano.
The Gambino family was popular for its involvement in gambling activities, car theft, and narcotics operations. While at the helm of the infamous family, Gotti expanded his criminal empire, making his family the most powerful Mafia family. The Don managed to elude the authorities on a number of occasions despite his widely known criminal activities. In most cases, he intimidated his witnesses and ensured they would never come forth and attest to his wrong doings. After avoiding several trials during the 1980s, Gotti was nicknamed “Teflon Don.”
However, in 1990, Gotti was charged for conspiracy to commit murder following the death of Paul Castellano. Gotti was down on his luck when Gravano agreed to give his testimony against him in a federal district court. Gravano had agreed to testify after assurance that his prison sentence would be reduced. The police had promised leniency if Salvatore Gravano agreed to cooperate and testify against his former boss.
John Gotti was found guilty on all counts on April 2, 1992. The New York crime boss was convicted of racketeering and five counts of murder, including the killing of the former head of the Gambino family, Paul Castellano. Later, On June 23, 1992, Gotti was sentenced to multiple life terms without room for parole. Gotti was sentenced to life after he was found guilty on 14 accounts of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder.
Frank Locascio, Gotti’s deputy, was also sentenced to life after he was found responsible for similar charges. Both Gotti and his assistant were fined $250,000. Sammy “the Bull” narrated to the court how his boss had ordered the execution of Castellano outside a steakhouse in Manhattan. Sammy added that Gotti had then witnessed the lynching from the comfort of his limousine, which was on the other side of the street. The former Gambino godfather had little hope when the prosecution played secretly recorded conversations between him and his associates. It became apparent that the jury was going to prosecute him.
After the sentence, Gotti declined to respond while Locascio insisted he was innocent. "I am guilty, though, of being a good friend of John Gotti - and if there were more people like John Gotti on this earth, we would have a better country," he said.
Moments after his conviction, hundreds of his supporters around the federal courthouse in Brooklyn took to the streets in support of their ‘boss.’ Hundreds of Gotti supporters had gathered outside the Brooklyn courtroom, and once Judge Leo Glasser made the ruling, the angry mob tried to storm the building. The mob destroyed property and wreaked havoc on the city, but the police intervened.
Gotti, 51, had numerously escaped criminal charges, but the ruling had ended his prominence. While in prison, Gotti passed on June 10, 2002, as a result of throat cancer.