The odds are unlikely that Bonanno boss Vincent Basciano will get the death penalty following his conviction last week for the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News.
However, the jury deciding his fate may wish to make a point that it's had enough of the Mafia, and the only message the Mafia understands is the death penalty. In fact, mob bosses routinely order murder as the ultimate enforcement tool in the course of running their rackets precisely because they understand the powerful message it sends on the streets.
Basciano's former lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, says the death penalty would not have deterrent effect because "people in that [Mafia] life do not fear the death penalty." Then why is Basciano fighting it? Indeed, when sentenced to fourteen years in prison following a 2001 racketeering conviction, reputed Philly mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino aptly quipped it's ''better than the death penalty'' as then reported by The New York Times.
For decades the Mafia has polluted Gotham City with its dirty rackets -- pimping children, trafficking drugs, corrupting unions -- with near impunity, and by imposing the death penalty on Vinny Gorgeous the citizens now have an opportunity to say enough in a language that mobsters can understand.