John Joseph Gotti, Jr. (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002), commonly known by the media as "The Dapper Don" and "The Teflon Don" after the murder of his former boss Paul Castellano, was the boss of the well known Gambino crime family, one of the Five Families in New York City. He became widely known for his outspoken personality and flamboyant style that eventually caused his downfall. In 1992, Gotti was convicted of racketeering, 13 murders, obstruction of justice, hijacking, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal gambling, extortion, tax evasion, loansharking and other crimes and was sentenced to life in prison where he died 10 years later.
In 1962, Gotti married Victoria DeGiorgio. They had five children, Angela (Angel), Victoria, John A. "Junior" Gotti, Peter and Frank. John Gotti did not think very highly of his family, being recorded on video as saying "I took garbage Gotti blood and contaminated it with DiGiorgio blood. Gotti was also recorded on video as saying to his daughter Victoria "I'm not your father or John's father or these kids's grandfather."
A brutal and short tempered family man, John Gotti used to subject his wife and son to regular beatings. This has been proven by FBI tapes, and later became media fodder for the New York papers.
In February 1968, United employees identified Gotti as the man who signed for the earlier stolen merchandise. The FBI arrested him for the United hijacking soon after. Two months later, while out on bail, Gotti was arrested a third-time for hijacking--this time stealing a load of cigarettes worth $500,000 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Later that year Gotti pled guilty to the Northwest hijacking and was sentenced to four years at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. Prosecutors dropped the charges for the cigarette hijacking. Gotti also pled guilty to the United hijacking. Gotti spent less than three years at Lewisburg.
After he was released from prison, he was placed on probation and ordered to find a legitimate job. Meanwhile he returned to his old crew at the Bergin club, still working under caporegime Carmine Fatico. Fatico was indicted on loansharking charges and made Gotti the acting capo of the Bergin Crew reporting to Carlo Gambino and Aniello Dellacroce. Gotti's crew, however, was caught selling heroin against the rules of the family with members possibly killed. Gotti and others had Paul Castellano shot six times along with his bodyguard, Thomas Bilotti, outside Sparks Steak House, and Gotti took control of the family.
Gotti was arrested several times throughout his career, and although he served time in both state and federal prison (including a manslaughter conviction in connection with the shooting death in a tavern on Staten Island in 1973 of low-level Irish-American gangster James McBratney, who had kidnapped and killed Emmanuel Gambino, Carlo Gambino's nephew). By the 1980s, he was referred to by the news media as the "Teflon Don" as he avoided conviction on racketeering and assault charges.
Police found Favara was not to blame in the accident, which was officially ruled "accidental" and no charges were ever filed against him. However, in the months after the accident, the word "Murderer" was spray-painted onto Favara's car. On May 28, Victoria DiGiorgio Gotti, Frank's mother, attacked Favara with a metal baseball bat, sending him to the hospital. Favara decided not to press charges and planned to move out of Howard Beach. According to the FBI, on July 28, 1980, Favara was kidnapped and murdered by eight members of Gotti's crew while Gotti and his wife were out of town.
Gotti was charged with 13 counts of murder (including Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti), conspiracy to commit murder, loansharking, racketeering, obstruction of justice, illegal gambling, tax evasion.
Gotti was tried in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York before Judge I. Leo Glasser. The federal prosecutor's evidence was overwhelming. Not only did they have Gotti on tape, but they also had several witnesses to testify against Gotti. Philip Leonetti, a former Underboss in the violent Philadelphia crime family, was going to testify that Gotti bragged that he had ordered Castellano's execution. Then, Gotti's own Underboss Gravano voluntarily agreed to testify against his boss and Consigliere Frank LoCascio with the promise of being entered into the Witness Protection Program. On April 2 1992, after only 13 hours of deliberation, the jury found Gotti and LoCascio guilty on all 13 charges. On June 23, 1992, Judge Glasser sentenced Gotti to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. He was sent to the United States Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, where he was kept in a cell 23 hours a day. Four days later, his father died of heart failure. Allegedly, Gotti offered $100,000 to the Aryan Brotherhood if they would kill Walter Johnson, a black man who had brutally beaten him. Gotti was told that his offer was accepted and that his attacker would be taken care of. The prison guards surmised that Johnson was in danger and began moving him to different locations and ultimately transferring him to another prison where he was paroled.