Two Associates Of La Cosa Nostra Sentenced For The July 2, 2010 Robbery And Murder Of A Brooklyn Businessman
Earlier today, Louis Grasso and Richard Riccardi were sentenced before Judge John Gleeson in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, to 38 and 36 years in prison, respectively, for the robbery and murder of James Donovan on July 2, 2010. The defendants were convicted after trial in March 2014.
The sentences were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division.
“For more than 20 years, these defendants have preyed on our community by engaging in narcotics and firearms trafficking, burglary, and, most recently, robbery and murder,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “The sentences imposed appropriately reflect both the seriousness of the crimes of conviction and the long history of crimes that these recidivist offenders have committed.”
According to the government’s trial evidence, and as recounted in the government’s sentencing memorandum, the defendants, along with two other associates, robbed and murdered Donovan, who operated a check-cashing business, in front of an auto body shop in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. The plan to rob Donovan was hatched by Riccardi, who recruited Grasso and two other men into the scheme. Riccardi supplied the men with loaded firearms to use in the robbery and agreed to drive the “crash car,” used to block off or delay law enforcement pursuing the robbery crew.
During the course of the robbery, the defendant Grasso, with a co-conspirator, ambushed Donovan, pointed a gun at him, and grabbed a bag full of cash and checks from Donovan’s car. When Donovan tried to flee, the co-conspirator shot him in the leg, severing Donovan’s femoral artery. Donovan died of his wounds later that day. Grasso, Riccardi, and the co-conspirators sped off with approximately $200,000 in cash, which they later divided among themselves.
Law enforcement subsequently recovered from Riccardi’s home firearms, ammunition, a ballistic vest, and narcotics trafficking paraphernalia, among other items. A search of Grasso’s home and garage also yielded firearms, ammunition, masks, and a list of police radio codes. Riccardi has prior federal convictions for narcotics trafficking and possession of firearms. Grasso has prior federal convictions for bank larceny, burglary, and narcotics trafficking.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri and Darren LaVerne.