- 46 defendants were rounded up for alleged racketeering in 2016
- One of the defendants, Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino has beaten murder raps on three different occasions
- Phone conversations between Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio and Merlino discuss are violent in nature
- ”It’s easy to kill someone,” Merlino is overheard in one conversation
A co-defendant in a case that netted 46 alleged wiseguys from South Florida to Springfield, Massachusetts in August 2016, is hoping to be tried separately from the rest of the crew, especially the alleged ring leader, Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Merlino.
Known as “Skinny Joey”, Merlino has beaten three murder counts and two attempted murder counts in previous cases.
Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio fears Merlino’s alleged misconduct could prejudice the jury against him at trial, according to court papers.
Onofrio is an alleged Genovese capo who runs crews on Little Italy’s Mulberry St. and in Springfield, Mass. He and his fellow defendants each face racketeering charges.
Distancing himself from Merlino won’t be easy though as prosecutors have recorded conversations between the two men.
From the New York Daily News:
“For example, during a recorded conversation between Merlino, Onofrio and (a confidential witness), Merlino said, ‘It’s easy to kill somebody,’” prosecutors claimed.
Onofrio allegedly replied, “It’s simple.”
Merlino further explained, “You’re my friend, you trust me, I tell you, ‘Listen drive me home right now,’ get you in the car, I shoot you in the f----n’ head, and it’s over with,” prosecutors also said of the recording.
The men also told Genovese capos “We’re brothers” during a meeting, the feds said.
Merlino does not face a murder rap in his current case. While he has twice been convicted on federal charges, he has beat three murder counts and two attempted murder counts in previous cases.
Alleged mob boss, his co-defendant barred from contact at wedding
Onofrio’s lawyer declined to comment, as did a Merlino lawyer.
Merlino and Onofrio are among six people charged in the recent indictment who have pleaded not guilty. The other 40 have already copped to counts relating to the alleged scheme, court papers state.
- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com