By Mitchel Maddux, David K. Li and Dan Mangan
In a shocking split verdict, Brooklyn federal jurors yesterday acquitted former Colombo crime- family boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli of direct involvement in six murders, and Colombo soldier Dino “Little Dino” Saracino of three gangland slayings.
Gioeli and Saracino, who were spared life sentences, rejoiced after both were found not guilty of the 1997 slaying of NYPD cop Ralph Dols. He was rubbed out because he married the ex-wife of Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace, a former Colombo consigliere.
The wiseguys’ acquittals came despite the fact that Saracino’s own cousin Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, a Colombo capo-turned-government witness, had testified in damning detail how he killed Dols with Saracino at Gioeli’s direction.
Gioeli, 59, and Saracino, 39, were also cleared of the 1999 slaying of Colombo underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo in Saracino’s basement, and the 1995 execution of Colombo associate Richard Greaves.
However, jurors convicted Gioeli of lesser murder-conspiracy charges for three mob hits, and Saracino of a slew of racketeering and murder-conspiracy counts.
Despite those convictions, both defendants and their families were joyful over the outcome — while prosecutors were downcast as they marched out of the courtroom without speaking to reporters.
“I’m gonna go home” someday, Saracino crowed while bear-hugging his lawyer Sam Braverman.
Gioeli’s wife, Maureen, and their children and other family members smiled broadly and hugged outside the courthouse.
“It shows that my brother was innocent all the time,” said Jack Gioeli.
Gioeli and Saracino likely face sentences of up to 20 years behind bars.
The bald, obese Gioeli, who has complained of a slew of maladies while behind bars, “was very moved” by the verdicts, said his lawyer, Adam Perlmutter. “He was heartened by the fact that he could — one day — return to his family and grandchildren.”
“We’re obviously very grateful to the jury for analyzing the evidence, and not the emotion of the case.”
In stark contrast to the gangsters’ glee, Dols’ relatives were ashen-faced as they left the courthouse, stepped into an NYPD van with a uniformed escort, and sped off without making any comment.
Jurors did find that Gioeli had participated in the conspiracies that led to the 1991 murder of Frank Marasa over Marasa’s suspected involvement in killing a Colombo associate, and the 1992 murder of John Minerva as part of the intra-family Colombo war at that time.
Gioeli also was convicted with Saracino of conspiring to kill members of a rival Colombo faction between 1991 and 1993, while Saracino was additionally found guilty of conspiring to kill Michael Burnside, whom he believed had murdered his brother.