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Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera (December 20, 1936 Rockland, New York - May 5, 1981 Dyker Heights, Brooklyn) was a Bonanno crime family capo who was murdered with Alphonse Indelicato and Phillip Giaccone for planning the overthrow of aspiring Bonanno boss Phillip Rastelli.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Born in Rockland, New York, Trinchera was the son of an immigrant from Rome, Italy and an American woman from Naples, Italy. He weighed 350 pounds, Trinchera eventually was married to a woman named Donna and fathered several children, including a daughter Laura. It is unknown when Trinchera actually became a made man except that he was made a capo in 1979 following the murder of boss Carmine Galante. He never learned fully how to speak the English language, and only spoke broken English-Italian his entire life. Trinchera controlled businesses in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens. He also owned a legitimate transport truck shipping firm which he sold in 1981, several weeks before his death, for $2.5 million.
On July 12, 1979 Trinchera, Giaccone, and Indelicato murdered Bonanno acting boss Carmine Galante at an Italian-American restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn along with his bodyguard and restaurant owner. It is suspected that the heads of the other New York families arranged Galante's death; they supposedly viewed Galante's greed and ambition as a threat to all their interests. After the Galante murder, a fight for control of the family started. On one side was mobster Rastelli, on the other side were capos Trinchera, Giaconne, and Indelicato. In May 1981, Dominick Napolitano ordered mobster Donnie Brasco, who was actually undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone, to murder Anthony (Bruno) Indelicato in Miami, Florida. However, the contract was called off. Rastelli loyalist Dominick Napolitano wanted to kill Trinchera, Giaccone, and Indelicato at the same time so as to destroy the opposition to Rastelli.
The three capos murder[edit | edit source]
On May 5, 1981 Trinchera, Indelicato, Giaccone, and Bonanno mobster Frank Lino went to a peace meeting with the Rastelli faction at the 20/20 Night Club in Brooklyn. Bonanno mobster Gerlando Sciascia met the men at the club and escorted them to a store room where Joseph Massino and other Bonanno gunmen were waiting to ambush them. As the men entered the room, Sciasca brushed his hand through his hair, giving Massino the prearranged signal. The gunmen rushed out and told the mobsters that it was a "stickup".
As the guns were drawn, Sciascia, who had been walking arm and arm with Trinchera (a sign of mob civility), punched the massive capo. Trinchera then charged at the gunmen screaming, but took a shotgun blast to the torso and crumpled dead to the floor. Lino leapt over Trinchera' body, ran past Salvatore Vitale at the front door and fled the nightclub. The three capos were unarmed, as was the rule when attending a peace meeting.
Mobster Benjamin Ruggiero later described the disposal of Trinchera's body;
"I couldn't move him. But Boobie could, referring to Bonanno street soldier John Cersani. According to Ruggiero, there ...were little pieces of him lying around from the shotgun (blast). Boobie got blood all over him trying to pick him up.... They cut him up and put him in green plastic garbage bags. I never saw anything like that in my life Donnie. Big Trin, was so huge. When that shotgun blast hit him, about fifty pounds of his stomach just went flying."
Trinchera's body was moved out the club front door into a Ford Econoline van and driven to a lot in Lindenwood, Queens, where Gambino crime family mobsters John Gotti and Gene Gotti arranged the burial. In December 2004, after some children discovered a body in the Lindenwood lot, FBI agents excavated the property and discovered the bodies of the three capos.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
In June 2005, Massino pleaded guilty in the Trinchera murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Before pronouncing the sentence, Judge Garaufis made these remarks:
"The activities, rituals and personalities of the world of organized crime have been deeply romanticized in the popular media over the past 30 years. However, this trial, like so many trials before it, has portrayed the true nature of organized crime."
The judge also read a letter by Laura Trinchera: "As for Mr. Massino, he had the opportunity to see his family grow. He took that away from us." When the verdicts were read, some Trinchera family members clapped. "I'm happy I was here to support his mandatory life sentence," said Donna Trinchera. "I think he's a disgrace."
Popular culture[edit | edit source]
In the film Donnie Brasco, the Three Capos murder was changed a little. Sonny Red, Lucky Philly and Big Trin pass by the latter's house to pick up some weapons. They go down to the basement where Big Trin switches on the light to see Sonny Black, Lefty Guns, Boobie and another henchman armed with shotguns. Sonny Black fires a shot that hits Big Trin in the side of his stomach, Lefty Guns shoots Sonny Red in the arm, then Sonny Black, Lefty Guns and Boobie gun down Lucky Philly who dies instantly.
An injured Sonny Red is shot in the leg by the fourth henchman while Big Trin gets up and charges screaming for Sonny Black. He takes another blast but topples onto Sonny Black, crushing him under his 300 pound body. He is still alive and squirming until Lefty hews his spine with an axe while Sonny Red is ultimately shot in the head by the fourth henchman. Trinchera was portrayed in the movie by George Angelica.
References[edit | edit source]
- Defendant Linked To Mob Murder Plot, The New York Times, April 30, 1987
- Human Remains Linked To Mob, The New York Times, December 21, 2004
- Last of the old-style mafia dons sentenced to life, Newsday, June 24, 2005
- Bonanno Crime Boss Is Sentenced to 2 Life Terms, The New York Times, June 24, 2005
- DeStefano, Anthony. The Last Godfather: Joey Massino & the Fall of the Bonanno Crime Family. California: Citadel, 2006.
- Pistone, Joseph, Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia. Random House Value Publishing (February 1990) ISBN 5-552-53129-9