By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
Why didnt you just bring the body right in front of the house? she said DeVecchio laughed to Scarpa.
Schiro said in our interviews that, as far as she knew, DeVecchio had nothing to do with the 1987 murder of a longtime Scarpa pal, a Colombo soldier named Joe DeDomenico, who went by the nickname of Joe Brewster.
Scarpa, she said, was so close to DeDomenico that he had been the best man at DeDomenicos wedding and had stood as godfather to his friends son. But by 1987, Schiro told us, Joe Brewster had started getting a little stupid. She recalled a visit by DeDomenico to the couples home. He was kind of drooling, she said. He was starting to use coke. Schiro told us that Scarpa was also disturbed because he had asked his friend to do somethingan unspecified crimeand been refused by DeDomenico, who said he was becoming a born-again Christian, an awkward creed for a mobster.
Yeah, Greg had him killed, Schiro said, naming Scarpas son Gregory Jr. and two of Scarpas crew members as the assassins. They told him he had to go someplace, and they got all dressed up and they killed him.
That interview took place on March 1, 1997, the day after agent DeVecchio had himself been forced to take the witness stand in Brooklyn federal court, where he was grilled by attorneys for a pair of Colombo crime family members seeking to have their convictions overturned. Their claim was that they were the victims of the FBIs misbehavior with Scarpa, its prized informant.
Brewsters name had been raised by one of the defense attorneys, who asked DeVecchio if hed ever given Scarpa information about him. DeVecchio angrily denied it.
Having heard that exchange, we asked Schiro whether Lin DeVecchio had had anything to do with the death of Joe Brewster. She seemed briefly confused by the question. No, she said. He never met Joe Brewster.
Schiro said then that she had been puzzled, along with members of Scarpas crew, at Scarpas insistence that his old friend had to go. I liked Joe Brewster too. I couldnt understand. Bobby and Carmine couldnt understand, she said, referring to a pair of Scarpas cronies, one of whom, Carmine Sessa, testified last week in DeVecchios trial.
Most of our conversations with Schiro were tape-recorded. Some tapes have long since gone missing. Audibility is a problem in others. But the conversation about the murder of Joe Brewster has survived. So has Schiros story about another killing, that of Lorenzo Lampasi, a Colombo soldier gunned down by Scarpa and his gang during the crime familys bloody civil war in the early 1990s.
Lampasi was murdered at 4 a.m. on May 22, 1992, just as he was leaving his Brooklyn home to go to work at the school bus company he operated with another Colombo wiseguy. The D.A. has charged DeVecchio with tipping Scarpa to Lampasis schedule and whereabouts.
On the witness stand Monday, Schiro said that was exactly what had happened. She said that Scarpa had been furious about a note Lampasi had sent him, one that said there was talk on the street that Scarpa was an informant. This fucking Larry Lampasi, she quoted Scarpa as telling DeVecchio, he started rumors I am an informer, that Im a rat.
She said Scarpa asked DeVecchio to find out exactly where Lampasi lives and what time he leaves in the morning. A few days later, she testified, the agent returned with the information. I was in the kitchen, and Lin gave him the address and told him he leaves the house at 4 a.m. The agent had also filled in the gangster, she testified, about a balky gate that Lampasi had to open and close.
After Lampasis murder, she testified, DeVecchio had returned to the house, that same smirk on his face. That was good information, she said Scarpa told his FBI handler.
In 1997, however, Schiro repeatedly insisted to us that DeVecchio had nothing at all to do with the Lampasi homicide.
Schiro raised the subject herself back then. Theres another thing too, with Larry Lampasi, she told us. See, when Lin is right, I give him right. He didnt tell Greg about Larry Lampasi.
What had happened, she explained, was that she and Scarpa had been at a family dinner in New Jersey in late 1991. I think it was around Thanksgiving, she said. Whenever the date, the dinner was hosted by Scarpas sister. At the table, Scarpas niece Rosemarie, a school bus driver, had complained to her powerful uncle that Lampasi was treating her badly.
And I remember we were there, and she was crying to Greg they are giving her these crazy routes in bad neighborhoods, Schiro told us. Lampasi wouldnt let the niece, who lived on Staten Island, take her bus home with her, she said. And she told Greg the times he gets in, the times he leaves. And Greg said, Ill take care of it for you.