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Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ANTOINE BURROUGHS and LEON WHITFIELD were sentenced today in connection with the home invasion robbery and murder of Gerardo Antoniello on September 9, 2009. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD were each sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison. Both defendants were also required to pay more than half a million dollars in restitution to Antoniello’s mother. Antoniello was killed during the home invasion robbery of his father, Bartolomeo Antoniello, who was targeted for the cash proceeds of the pizza shop he owned in Queens, New York. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods, who imposed today’s sentence.
Manhattan United States Attorney Preet Bharara said: “No amount of prison time or restitution will return Gerardo Antoniello to his family. But this significant prison sentence ensures that Antoine Burroughs and Leon Whitfield can’t harm another innocent family.”
In imposing sentence, United States District Judge Woods told the defendants that the crime they committed was “an atrocity” and “an attack on two innocents for the sake of money.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment and statements made at various proceedings in this case, including the guilty pleas:
BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD were hired by Frank LaCorte, an associate of the Gambino Crime Family, to commit a home invasion robbery. On September 9, 2009, BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD attempted to rob Bartolomeo Antoniello at his home in Queens, New York. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD were targeting the cash proceeds of Antoniello’s pizza shop. Antoniello’s son, Gerardo Antoniello, was home at the time, and attempted to protect his father. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD brutally beat and pistol whipped the father and son. During the struggle, Gerardo Antoniello was shot in the head and later died of his injuries. He was 29 years old.
Frank LaCorte was convicted in Queens County Court for his role in organizing this and other home invasion robberies and in June 2012 was sentenced to a term of 50 years to life in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, the Queens District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Maimin is in charge of the prosecution.