PRISON RE­LEASE TO­DAY More than the Hamil­ton Po­lice will be watch­ing

National Post (Latest Edition) - - N EW S - BY ADRIAN HUMPHREYS in Hamil­ton, Ont.

Pasquale and An­gelo Musi­tano, the sons of a Hamil­ton Mafia boss who con­tin­ued in the fam­ily busi­ness, are set to be re­leased from prison to­day and re­turn to an un­cer­tain fu­ture with a no­to­ri­ous name.

The pair was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison in 2000 for the slay­ing of a ri­val mob­ster. They had an un­even time in prison — the older brother, Pasquale, known as Pat, won a griev­ance against a guard who re­peat­edly called him “Tony So­prano,” the lead char­ac­ter in a TV se­ries about a Mafia fam­ily. Ac­cused of run­ning a gam­bling ring while be­hind bars, how­ever, the pair was held in higher se­cu­rity longer than most pris­on­ers.

But their re­lease — re­quired un­der law af­ter serv­ing twothirds of their sen­tence — places them back on the street at an un­cer­tain time in gang­land, when “or­ga­nized” crime is in dis­ar­ray.

Hamil­ton Po­lice are well aware of theMusi­tano brothers’ re­lease. Or­ga­nized crime spe­cial­ists on the force re­cited the date by heart and the Com­bined Forces Spe­cial En­force­ment Unit, a joint po­lice unit prob­ing or­ga­nized crime, had ear­lier op­posed Pat’s re­lease.

“The Musi­tanos are ob­vi­ously known to us,” said Brian Mul­lan, Hamil­ton’s Chief of Po­lice.

“Any­time that we’re un­der the im­pres­sion that some­body is con­nected in any way to, in this case, tra­di­tional or­ga­nized crime, that is part of the con­sid­er­a­tions. It does raise a red flag for us.

“We will be mon­i­tor­ing very closely,” he said. “We are look­ing at all of the dy­nam­ics, how they would fit back into the com­mu­nity at large.” (Sev­eral lawyers who have rep­re­sented the brothers at their tri­als and pa­role hear­ings did not re­turn calls yes­ter­day.)

Con­cern over what the fu­ture holds for Pat, 39, and An­gelo, 29, is pal­pa­ble in cer­tain parts of the city.

Nei­ther has been seen in pub­lic since Feb. 4, 2000, when they stood in a Hamil­ton court­room and ad­mit­ted they or­dered the­mur­der of Car­men Bar­il­laro, who him­self was a mafioso of note, run­ning crim­i­nal af­fairs in Ni­a­gara Falls.

Their plea ended the mys­tery sur­round­ing a se­ries of mur­ders that up­set the bal­ance of power in On­tario’s un­der­world in the 1990s.

The Musi­tano name has for gen­er­a­tions been at­tached to the Mafia. Their out­law tra­di­tion was brought to Canada in 1937 by a great-un­cle who fled Delianova, Italy — hav­ing gar­nered the so­bri­quet “The Beast of Delianova” by pub­licly killing his sis­ter who had dis­hon­oured the fam­ily through ro­man­tic in­dis­cre­tion.

The Musi­tano clan was later the small­est of three cen­tral­ized Mafia or­ga­ni­za­tions in Hamil­ton un­der the lead­er­ship of Do­minic Musi­tano, nephew of “The Beast” and the fa­ther of Pat and An­gelo.

Do­minic gave Pat more than just his ro­tund fig­ure; he in­stilled in him the old code of the ‘Ndrangheta, the Mafia of Cal­abria, a re­gion in south­ern Italy.

Af­ter Do­minic’s sud­den death of heart fail­ure in 1995, Pat as- sumed lead­er­ship of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, po­lice say. His am­bi­tion dif­fered from his fa­ther’s, and he started mov­ing in wider cir­cles, in­clud­ing a foray into Toronto’s tony For­est Hill, where he min­gled with Mafia heavy-hit­ters based in and around Toronto.

The Musi­tano clan seemed to be eye­ing a pro­mo­tion in the peck­ing or­der of Hamil­ton’s un­der­world that gen­er­ally placed them un­der­neath the Pa­palia fam­ily and the Lup­pino fam­ily.

On the last day of May, 1997, Johnny “Pops” Pa­palia, the 73year-old Hamil­ton na­tive called “The En­forcer” for his harsh grip on or­ga­nized crime in On­tario over decades, was shot in the head out­side his fam­ily busi­ness.

Two months later, Mr. Bar­il­laro, Mr. Pa­palia’s right-hand man, was sim­i­larly killed.

The hit man for both was re­vealed to be Ken Mur­dock, a close friend of Pat and An­gelo.

Just months af­ter the mur­ders, Pat met with Vito Riz­zuto, at the time con­sid­ered the most pow­er­ful Mafia fig­ure in Canada, who was ex­pand­ing his in­flu­ence from Que­bec into On­tario, ac­cord­ing toMon­treal po­lice.

It sug­gested an un­der­world re­align­ment was un­der­way.

Mur­dock went on to ad­mit his role in the slay­ings and named Pat and An­gelo as or­ches­trat­ing them. In a plea deal, both pleaded guilty to hav­ing Mr. Bar­il­laro killed; in re­turn charges in the Pa­palia killing were dropped.

In 2004, both brothers were de­nied pa­role. They said the no­to­ri­ety of their name was un­fairly in­ter­fer­ing with their lives.

“The po­lice were al­ways against us — me and my dad,” Pat said. “We were brought up that the po­lice was al­ways against us.”

While po­lice in­ter­est in them re­mains high, other things have changed con­sid­er­ably.

Mr. Riz­zuto, who had moved to fill the void in On­tario left by Mr. Pa­palia’s demise, has since been ar­rested. Charged in the United States for a se­ries of gang­land mur­ders, he was ex­tra­dited to New York this sum­mer.

No one has come for­ward to se­cure things on his be­half.

Some in Hamil­ton’s crowded un­der­world said the Musi­tanos’ re­turn will be closely watched by more than just po­lice.

One mob-linked crim­i­nal said plenty of hurt feel­ings and un­cer­tainty re­main and that ev­ery­one will be feel­ing un­easy un­til things are sorted out.

How that might hap­pen is some­thing on which he de­clined to spec­u­late. “It’s Hamil­ton,” he said. “Any­thing can hap­pen.”

Pat Musi­tano, right, and brother An­gelo, be­low, served six years for or­der­ing the mur­der of a ri­val­mob­ster.

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