The Wiseguy and the Nun

How Salvatore Miciotta got away with murder

At the time he provided the FBI with this account of the Peraino shooting, Miciotta knew that fellow shooter Angellino had already been whacked in a prior Colombo dispute. And Minerva, his getaway driver, was murdered in 1992 during the Colombo war. So, while Miciotta did cop to Peraino Jr.'s murder, he made sure not to take credit for Zuraw's killing. It's one thing to clip a greedy pornographer, but it is apparently bad Mafia form to murder an innocent bystander in her home. Even for the crime family that Jimmy Breslin had previously dubbed "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," this was a new low.

In the days after his wife's murder, Louis Zuraw, an accountant, urged the public to call police with any information they had about the Lake Street shooting. But as is custom with mob rubouts, the phone didn't ring off the hook. Though cops quickly located the abandoned getaway car— which contained two shotguns— it wasn't long before the Peraino-Zuraw homicide joined the cold case list.

At this point, it is probably too late to win justice for Veronica Zuraw. Of the participants named by Miciotta, two have subsequently been murdered. Persico is serving a 100-year racketeering sentence. And many of the other coconspirators are already doing serious time for other killings and assorted felonies. Sparaco, for instance, won't leave a federal lockup until 2014. The sad truth is that, with the torrent of mob turncoats, most of the crimes they tell the government about are never prosecuted and, as a result, murders sometimes fall through the cracks.

Even if prosecutors had decided to pursue his wife's killers, Louis Zuraw wouldn't have been around to see that measure of justice. He died in 1986, after a four-month hospitalization at the VA Medical Center in Bay Ridge. He was 65 years old and suffered from alcoholism, according to Surrogate's Court papers. The depth of his grief over his wife's senseless murder was said to be incalculable.

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