Three Charged with April 2008 Murder of Staten Island Jeweler Louis Antonelli
Murder Orchestrated by Genovese Organized Crime Family
An indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging ANTHONY PICA, CHRISTOPHER PRINCE, and CHARLES SANTIAGO with the April 29, 2008, armed robbery and murder of Louis Antonelli, a Staten Island jeweler.1 PICA, PRINCE, and SANTIAGO were arrested earlier today in New York and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States District Judge Carol B. Amon, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.2
The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., Richmond County District Attorney, Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
As alleged in the indictment and described in a detention letter filed today, on April 29, 2008, PICA, PRINCE, SANTIAGO, and others planned an armed robbery of Louis Antonelli, and ambushed him as he exited a basement storage area near the intersection of Broadway and Castleton Avenue in the West New Brighton section of Staten Island. The defendants believed Antonelli would have hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry with him, and had been informed that Antonelli would be alone and unarmed. SANTIAGO was recruited to be the gunman. The day of the robbery, PICA and PRINCE surveilled the location from PRINCE’s Range Rover, while SANTIAGO and another individual waited in a car parked nearby. After PRINCE signaled that Antonelli would be exiting the basement and entering his car, SANTIAGO and another individual approached Antonelli. SANTIAGO then pointed a handgun at Antonelli and shot him repeatedly. Antonelli was hospitalized, but died from the gunshot wounds on May 12, 2008.
The detention letter identifies PICA and PRINCE as associates of the Genovese crime family of La Cosa Nostra, and part of a ring of La Cosa Nostra associates who have plotted armed robberies, burglaries, extortions, thefts, and other crimes in Staten Island and elsewhere under the mafia’s protection. The government’s investigation of other participants in the murder, including other Genovese crime family members and associates, is on-going.
“Mr. Antonelli’s death reminds us that the mafia continues to murder in order to make money,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “We will not tolerate this violence. Together with our many law enforcement partners, we will promptly and thoroughly investigate these tragedies and hold the perpetrators accountable.” Mr. Campbell noted the outstanding contributions made by New York City Police Department detectives investigating the case.
Richmond County District Attorney Donovan stated, “Today’s indictment is yet another reminder that there is no glamour or prestige to a life in organized crime. The allegations against these defendants describe a cycle of brutality that will inevitably end in a long prison sentence. With the continued aggressive actions of federal and local law enforcement, there will be no safe havens for these criminals to operate in our communities.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “Yet again we are reminded of how often death is a part of mob life. The mob is about making money, and murder and mayhem are as much a means to that end as ever.”
Police Commissioner Kelly stated, “This was a cold-blooded murder that was swiftly solved. I want to commend the case detective for his quick arrest of the suspects in the killings, as well as the detectives from the Staten Island District Attorney’s Squad who supported him, and our federal partners as the case moves forward.”
If convicted, the defendants each face a sentence of up to life imprisonment, or the death penalty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Buretta and Nicole Argentieri.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.