CRIME History News

America’s Oldest Mobster Walks Free After 50 Years In Prison

America’s Oldest Mobster Walks Free After 50 Years In Prison

Jonny ‘Sonny’ Franzese was banged up for 50-years following a bank robbery, but left the Federal Medical Centre in Devens, Massachusetts, in a wheelchair on Friday – according to Newsday.

At the height of his activity, Sonny was supposedly second in command of the Colombos – one of New York’s five Italian crime families.

His son, Michael, says that elder Franzese is planning to live with a daughter in Brooklyn.

Franzese, who has left prison before on parole, has apparently been involved in loan sharking and extortion. Each time he has ended up being back inside; his latest attempt at freedom in 2010 saw him shaking down strip clubs and a pizzeria.

The underworld giant was dubbed ‘The Nodfather’ at this trial after falling asleep throughout.

Retired FBI agent, Robert Lewicki, described Franzese as ‘one of a kind’

“There’s never been a guy like Sonny,” he said. “There will never be another guy like Sonny, the last of a dying breed.”

The Criminal Past of Jonny ‘Sonny’ Franzese

  • 1938 – Life of crime begins when he was arrested for assault.
  • 1942 – Kicked out of the army for displaying homicidal tendencies.
  • 1947 – Accused of raping a waitress in a garage.
  • 1966 – He was accused of killing a rival by tying cement bricks to his feet and dumping the body in a bay. He beat the murder charge.
  • 1967 – Convicted of bank robbery.

Though he was never convicted of another crime, authorities say that Franzese claimed to have killed 60 people during his lifetime, and once contemplated arranging the death of his own son after he became a government co-operator.

Sonny claimed that the best way to get rid of a body, despite never being caught in the act, was to dry them out with a microwave and grind them up in the garbage disposal – it was his ability to make bodies disappear that prosecutors say is the reason he never faced charges of any other nature.

In 2006, investigators caught him on tape saying his ‘recipe’ for hiding bodies was to dismember the victim in a swimming pool, cook the body parts in a microwave, and stuff the parts in the garbage disposal.

However, following his release, it’s unlikely he’ll be going back to his days of hanging out in the Copacabana night club (where he used to mix with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy David Jr), or having stakes in porn films.

As part of the Colombos, Sonny was part of a unique type of criminal. Gangsters are notorious for their guns, guts and glory approach.

Al Capone, The Kray Twins, James Files and Pablo Escobar also are infamous gangsters, with an underworld that is unfamiliar to most of us.


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