Carmine Galante’s Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

Image Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Fear City: New York vs the Mafia‘ is an aptly titled true-crime limited series that documents the dismantling of the Commission, a ruling body comprising of the bosses of the five mob families of New York City – Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese. Apart from exploring every aspect of how they were convicted and thrown into prison for charges ranging from conspiracy to extortion to labor racketeering, the series also highlighted how the FBI special agents solved the brutal murder of Carmine Galante, acting boss of the Bonanno crime family.

How Was Carmine Galante Killed?

Camillo Carmine Galante was born on February 21, 1910, in East Harlem, Manhattan, and very early on, he started engaging in criminal activities. At the age of 10, he was sent to a reform school, by 15, he had dropped out to become a Mafia associate, and at 16, he was incarcerated for the first time – pleading guilty to assault charges and being sentenced to at least two-and-a-half years in state prison. By the end of the decade, he was a leading enforcer in the mob, and, by 1931, the doctors had diagnosed him with having a psychopathic personality.

‘Til the time the 1940s came around Carmine Galante was so high up that he was carrying out “hits” being ordered by the underboss of the Bonano crime family (previously Luciano). He developed a reputation for being vicious quite early on, and the NYPD even suspected him to be involved in over eighty murders. After that, Galante mostly had his hands in the drug business, so, when he grabbed the position of unofficial acting boss of the family in 1976, that’s the area he focused on, that is, until his death on July 12, 1979.

On that fateful summer day, Galante was having lunch on the open patio area of Joe and Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant in Brooklyn with Leonard Coppola, a Bonanno captain, and restaurant owner/cousin Giuseppe Turano, a Bonanno soldier. He also had two bodyguards with him. At around 2:45 pm, just as he was finishing up, three masked men entered the restaurant, walked to the patio, and opened fire with shotguns and handguns. Galante, Turano, and Coppola were killed instantly, but the bodyguards, who didn’t interfere, were left unharmed. Carmine Galante passed away with a cigar in his mouth, dying from multiple gunshot wounds, 84 to be exact.

Who Killed Carmine Galante?

Mob bosses of the five crime families | Image Credit: Netflix

The gunmen had run away from the restaurant after completing their job, but a woman who was across the street saw the whole thing noted down the number place of their getaway car. It was found two days later, abandoned, but even the fingerprints on the handles and the steering wheel didn’t help much, as everyone who the authorities suspected, both inside the crime family, and out, were a negative match. Richard Kuklinski, a known hitman, alleged that he carried out the murder of Galante on behalf of Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo, but a mob expert dismissed his claims as “mostly demented ramblings.”

In 1984, one of the two bodyguards was found murdered in a New Jersey warehouse, allegedly to guarantee his silence over the Galante murder. But, the FBI was already getting close – they had figured that the Commission had ordered his kill. All the crime families in New York were furious with Carmine Galante over his brazen attempt to take over the entirety of the narcotics market. Thus, the then Genovese crime family boss, Frank Tieri began conspiring and building a consensus for his murder. In 1979, he, among others, sought the Commission for approval of the kill, which was swiftly approved.

In mid-1980, just before the Mafia Commissions Trial, the FBI was able to identify and arrest Anthony “Bruno” Indelicato as one of the shooters. His palmprint, not fingerprint, matched those on the backdoor handle of the car, and thus, he was charged. His arrest and the surveillance tapes of him being congratulated by the underboss of the Gambino family about half an hour after the murder was enough evidence for the FBI to state that the Commission was involved. While the other bosses got life sentences in the Mafia Commission Trial, on January 13, 1987, Bruno was sentenced to 40 years in prison. But, in 1998, he was released on parole.

Today, Anthony Indelicato, 72, is back in prison for his role in another Bonanno family hit, which transpired back in 2001, and Baldo Amato, 67, the other bodyguard, is serving a life sentence for an unrelated double-murder as well. (Featured Image Credit: Netflix)

Anthony “Bruno” Indelicato | Image Credit: Netflix

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