News and Press Releases

Bonanno Organized Crime Family Associate Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for 2005 Racketeering Murder

March 13, 2009

Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that Joseph Young was sentenced today to a mandatory term of life imprisonment for his conviction of the March 29, 2005 murder of Robert McKelvey. The sentence was imposed by the Honorable Allyne R. Ross, United States District Court Judge, in Brooklyn, New York

As established during a two-week trial in late 2008, Young was an associate of the Bonanno Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, and was assigned to a Staten Island-based crew led by Bonanno soldier, Gino Galestro. Galestro ordered the murder of another associate in the crew, Robert McKelvey, in order to punish McKelvey for openly boasting of the crew’s criminal activities. Young agreed to murder McKelvey in exchange for $10,000.

On March 29, 2005, another associate of the crew lured McKelvey to a meeting at the historic Kreischer mansion in Staten Island, where Young lived and worked as the mansion’s caretaker. When McKelvey entered the foyer of the mansion, Young stabbed him. McKelvey escaped through the front door, but was tackled by Young, who dragged McKelvey to a garden pool in front of the mansion and drowned him. Following the murder, Young and three associates of the crew dismembered McKelvey’s body with hacksaws, burned the remains in the mansion’s furnace, and discarded the ashes and bone fragments in the mansion’s septic tank system. During searches of the septic tank and wooded area around the mansion, the FBI and personnel from the Medical Examiner’s Office of the City of New York found bone fragments and personal effects of McKelvey, and McKelvey’s blood was recovered from the stairs leading to the mansion’s basement.

Galestro previously pled guilty to racketeering charges that included the McKelvey murder.

In addition to the McKelvey murder, Young was sentenced for his convictions of the following additional crimes of violence or racketeering predicates:

• the summer of 2005 attempted arson of a vehicle whose owner had crossed Galestro;

• the September 2005 gunpoint robbery of the Pine Tree Holistic Center, an illegal massage parlor in Springfield, New Jersey, where Young’s girlfriend worked;

• the October 20, 2005 gunpoint extortion of an individual who owed tribute money to the crew;

• the January 27, 2006 arson of a home in Staten Island while the residents were asleep inside, one of whom suffered a near-fatal heart attack attempting to fight the fire;

• the autumn 2005 conspiracy to rob a pizza parlor in Coram, New York, at gunpoint;

• the May 12, 2005 assault in aid of racketeering of a mechanic who was a business rival of other mechanics connected to the crew – Young and another member of the crew assaulted the mechanic at his place of business with a police-issue baton and crowbar, breaking the victim’s knee cap and causing other serious injuries;

• the July 1, 2005 gunpoint carjacking of a BMW at the Menlo Mall in Woodbridge, New Jersey; and

• the summer 2005 illegal purchases of two firearms, the obliteration of the guns’ serial numbers, and the illegal transportation of the guns from Pennsylvania to New York.

“Young’s gruesome criminal conduct reminds us that organized crime is alive and well. We will continue to prosecute the members and associates of organized crime who engage in such wanton acts of violence in our communities,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. Mr. Campbell commended the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigated the case.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Winston Y. Chan, Jack Dennehy, and William Schaeffer.

The Defendant:

Age: 30

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