NYC MOB WARS: Anthony Zottola found GUILTY of murdering father Sylvester to acquire $45M empire
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK CITY: Anthony Zottola, who was accused of having his mafia associate father, Sylvester, murdered at a Bronx McDonald's drive-through and wanted to inherit his father's $45M real estate business, was reportedly found guilty Wednesday, October 19. The scene played out in a Brooklyn federal court where Zottola heard his sentence and his wife, Heide, went into an emotional fit as she started screaming. He was accused of working with hitman Ross and getaway driver Alfred Lopez, two other suspected accomplices, to assassinate his father, 71, for $200,000.
Zottola, 44, was convicted of trying to kill his brother Salvatore as well. The jurors found Himen Ross, 36, guilty of firing the shots that killed Sylvester. However, the accused getaway driver, Lopez, was acquitted of all charges. According to the NY Post, Breon Peace, US Attorney for the EDNY, said, "Over the course of more than a year, the elderly victim, Sylvester Zottola, was stalked, beaten, and stabbed, never knowing who orchestrated the attacks. It was his own son, who was so determined to control the family’s lucrative real estate business that he hired a gang of hit men to murder his father. For sentencing his father to a violent death, Anthony Zottola and his co-defendant will spend the rest of their lives in prison where they belong as a result of today’s verdict," as explained by the United States Department of Justice.
The month-long trial showed the prosecutors detailing the egregious murder-for-hire plot devised by Zottola against his father and noted that he achieved this task with the help of a Bloods gang leader, Bushawn Shelton. Reportedly, the motive was greed as Zottola wanted to acquire his father's $45M Bronx real estate empire that has about 90 properties located throughout the borough. More than 1,000 text messages were entered into evidence. One such thread included a text from Shelton reading, "Can we party today or tomorrow," to Zottola, to which he replied, "Tomorrow. It’s my little man’s bday. I’m taking him to his favorite place, McDonald’s. Then to a movie. LOL like I eat that stuff." Assistant US Attorney Devon Lash told jurors that "the defendant wanted that control,” at the start of Zottola's trial in Brooklyn federal court and portrayed the younger Zottola as a "cold-blooded monster who laughed with his friends" minutes after learning the hit was a success.
The prosecutors reportedly brought in a line of witnesses to testify under immunity in order to prove this conspiracy and put Zottola and his acquaintances behind bars. One such witness was the hired hitman Ron Cabey, 32. Cabey told the court that a leader of the Bloods gang, Bushawn Shelton, paid him $10,000 to take out Salvatore and Sylvester. He explained that at least six attempts were made on Sylvester and Salvatore's life. As per the outlet, Zottola's attorney Henry Mazurek tried to establish that the hit on Sylvester was carried out by Albanian gangsters who were after a piece of the illegal gambling machine racket that the patriarch piloted and blamed his ties to organized crime. FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll said, "Proven by evidence and testimony during trial, Zottola had not one, not two, but multiple chances to rethink his deadly intent to murder his own father. He and the others he recruited chose to continue with their savage plot and succeeded. Now, instead of living off his father's millions, his only payday will be federal prison."