Bonanno-capo-turned-government-witness Richard "Shellack Head" Cantarella pleaded guilty to three murders but received no prison time when sentenced by Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis due to his earlier testimony which resulted in convictions against bosses Joseph Massino and Vincent Basciano as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News. Shellackhead's wife Lauretta Castelli and his son Paul Cantarella also escaped prison time for their mob crimes. At the sentencing hearing Cantarella said good riddance to the life and the hold it once had over his family:
"The best thing I did was get my son out of this life," Cantarella told the judge, "and the possibility of my male grandchildren getting into this life. It's a very treacherous and cunning life and who knows how they would have turned out."
Earlier this year Philadelphia mobster Anthony "Ant" Staino Jr. renounced the Mafia at his sentencing hearing when he received 97 months in a federal prison for his role in the gambling and loansharking rackets in Philadelphia, PA as reported by John P. Martin for the Inquirer. Staino is the father of a 5-year-old daughter, and apparently he wisely recognizes that only a good-for-nothing-bum would raise a family while in the life:
Staino told the judge his mob activities came at "a low point" in his life, when he was alone and had a drinking problem. Staino said he turned a corner after marrying his current wife and they had a daughter, now 5. "I wanted to be the kind of father a daughter could be proud of," Staino said, reading a single-spaced statement. He recited from Jefferson - "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal" - and pledged that he had left the mob behind. "Even though my life of crime was short-lived, I will never go back to that life or any criminal involvement," Staino said.
The mob life is inconsistent with family values, and an increasing number of mobsters' children publicly are acknowledging the dark impact that the life had on the family.
For example, Rita Gigante, the daughter of deceased Genovese boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, recounts being "tormented by experiences that included witnessing at age 5 her dad beat a rival senseless as she hid under the dining-room table" as reported by Hamilton for the New York Post. Today Rita is a massage therapist who has created a new life with her lesbian partner, and she writes in her newly-published memoir The Godfather's Daughter that "I grew up in the dark and escaped the dungeon to find my way to the light."
Frank Calabrese Jr., the mob scion who turned against his own father to become a wired cooperator for the feds which resulted in the Family Secrets trial against the Chicago Outfit in 2007, is bringing his life story to the silver screen as reported by Dane Placko for My Fox Chicago:
"What I was concerned with is not just somebody that wants to make the next shoot 'em up gangster movie. This is about family. This is about the dark side of crime," he said.
Junior Gotti hopes that movie audiences will better appreciate the mob's downside after viewing a biopic in the works about his deceased father and one-time Gambino boss John Gotti as reported by Steve Fishman for New York magazine:
"It's a fascinating story," Gotti says, as if pitching the picture to me. "It's an opportunity to say, 'Look at the street life.'" He pierced the air with a thick finger. "People don't see the pain. They don't see my mother, 23 years without my father. They don't see my wife without me. They don't see houses and buildings that were taken from me. Businesses that were taken from me. They don't see the price that we had to pay, the tolls that were taken on my children. They don't see any of it."
Apologists from Hollywood may portray the mob as glamorous but the children of mobsters tell a different story.
Indeed, when Staino's co-defendant Damion Canalichio recently was sentenced to eleven years, federal prosecutor John S. Han said the mob soldier's "greatest level of allegiance is not to his family, not to his kids, not to his wife - but to La Cosa Nostra" as reported by John P. Martin for the Inquirer.