Release of Mafia Killer Angers Victims' Families

Italian officials defend freeing boss who confessed to killing of top prosecutor, 100 others
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2021 5:23 PM CDT
Italy Frees Mafia Killer Who Became an Informant
Tina Montinaro, whose husband, Antonio, was killed by a bomb set by Giovanni Brusca, looks at a display case showing the wreckage of the armored car in which he died in Rome in 2018.   (Massimo Percossi/ANSA via AP)

After serving 25 years, a Sicilian Mafia boss who confessed to his involvement in more than 100 killings has been paroled from prison. "Giovanni Brusca, the man who destroyed my family, is free," said Tina Montinaro, per the BBC. Her husband was killed when Brusca set off a road bomb in 1992 that took the life of Italy's top investigator of the Mafia, judge Giovanni Falcone. "This is not the 'justice' that Italians deserve," a politician said. Three bodyguards and Falcone's wife were killed in the explosion. Brusca later became an informant whose testimony helped authorities combat the Cosa Nostra and allowed him to avoid a life sentence, per the Washington Post. A woman whose 14-year-old brother, Giuseppe, was killed by Brusca because his father was an informant, his body dissolved in acid, questioned the practice.

Italy should reconsider "this system that rewards all government collaborators, even those responsible for massacres and hundreds of murders," Nicola Di Matteo said. Law enforcement has defended it, though some politicians have said perhaps it shouldn't be offered to someone with as many deaths on his hands as Brusca, who's known in Italy as the "people-slayer." Brusca, 64, will be on parole for four years. "He has collaborated with justice only to get the benefits," said Rosaria Costa, whose husband was a bodyguard killed with Falcone. Maria Falcone, the judge's sister, said that Brusca's release saddened her but that she understood that officials were following the law. "Regardless of what one may think of the atrocities he committed at the time, there was a collaboration" that helped the government, the lead Mafia prosecutor said, per Reuters. (Read more Sicilian mafia stories.)

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