Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bartolomeo "Bobby Glasses" Vernace : The Gambino Capo

Bartolomeo “Bobby Glasses” Vernace struck out recently with his appeal.  The US Court of Appeals upheld his conviction for the murder in the Shamrock Bar during Western Night in 1981.

Bobby’s lawyers argued that the killings were over a personal dispute and not part of the Gambino Crime Family business.

Bobby Glasses had beat a state case for murder in the killings.  The Feds took another bite at the apple by charging him with racketeering.  It's really a catch all because they just have to prove that he is guilty of the predicated acts listed in the indictment and then he gets a big sentence.

The murders went down like this.  April 10, 1981, Gambino associate Frank Riccardi was in the Shamrock  when someone spilled a drink on the girlfriend of a friend.  He started arguing with the guy.  Bar owners  John D'Agnese and Richard Godkin approached Frank and tried to calm him down.  They exchanged words and Frank grabbed a bottle of vodka from the bar and slammed it down and said, “No, I run this place.”   Frank left and went to a Gambino social club where he asked Bobby and Ronald Barlin to help him.  They returned to the Shamrock and shot D’Agnese and Godkin.  They both died the next day.  The bar was full of people that night, but everyone was afraid.  Bobby went on the lam until years later.  He was acquitted in state court for the murders and then inducted into the Gambino family.  

The government claimed that it was part of the Gambino crime family crimes that he was charged with in the indictment.  They claim the two murders were to enhance the Gambino crime family.  They played a tape in court when one of his associates referenced the two murders to scare a loan shark debtor into paying what he owed.

Bobby had done well since the murders.  He had gone from associate to capo on the ruling panel of the family.  He ran lucrative Baccarat games at cafes and coffee shops.  He had a lot of money on the street in shylock loans.  He also ran a lot of “joker poker” machines in cafes that brought in more than 2,000 dollars a day.

They used some old convictions for heroin trafficking to show that he was committing crimes on behalf of the Gambino family.  Robbery also became another predicated act.

To pile on counts they also charged him with possession of a firearm when he went into the Shamrock bar.  The jury found him guilty of nine predicated acts of racketeering.

Another highlight of his trial was Linda Gotti, the daughter of Peter Gotti, former boss of the Gambinos and brother of John Gotti.  She testified that her father and uncle talked her into recanting her identification of Bobby, Ronald and Frank that night in the Shamrock.  Her boyfriend was John D’Agnese and she was present that night.  
It took the FBI 33 years but they served up some justice.

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