Alleged killer of Gambino crime family boss pleads not guilty as lawyer frets about his client’s safety
A relaxed-looking Anthony Comello, 24, was jailed without bail as his attorney expressed fears about the accused killer’s continued safety behind bars and announced plans for a pre-trial release application which would include an ankle bracelet.
“He’s very hopeful, he’s very optimistic,” defense attorney Robert Gottlieb said of Comello. “He remains in protective custody. He’s been receiving medical attention, but he is very upbeat. He knows what happened here, why it happened.”
Comello was arrested March 16 for the brutal execution three days earlier of Mafia boss Frank (Franky Boy) Cali outside his Staten Island home. Comello arrived at the home inside his truck, crashed the vehicle into the mobster’s parked SUV and opened fire on the unsuspecting Cali when the boss came out to investigate, cops said.
Sources indicated the suspect’s fingerprint was recovered from a license plate on the victim’s damaged Cadillac Escalade. Comello was officially indicted for second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.
Comello — reportedly angered by the boss’ interference in his romantic pursuit of a Cali relative — pumped 10 bullets into the doomed boss.
“This type of senseless violence will not be tolerated in our Staten Island neighborhoods,” said borough District Attorney Michael McMahon.
Gottlieb said the defense was waiting for access to evidence collected from a number of his client’s computers and cell phones. He’s also requested video from the scene of the fatal shooting.
Asked what he expects to find on Comello’s hard driver, Gottlieb replied, “I have an open mind. I will find what I find.”
Since Comello’s arrest, organized crime experts and members have said Comello was likely to face a mob-ordered hit for killing the head of a family.