A New York man was sentenced to life without parole in a Brooklyn federal court Friday after his conviction on charges of hiring a hit man to kill his mobster father.
Anthony Zottola, 45, wasn’t motivated by any kind of altruism, however. His hired guns’ six attempts on his father’s life also included attempts on his older brother’s life, because, prosecutors said, he wanted 71-year-old Sylvester “Sally Daz” Zottola’s $45 million real estate empire, the New York Post reported.
Sally Daz Zottola, an associated of the Bonnano family, was gunned down in a McDonald’s drive-thru line on October 24, 201,8 by hired hitman Himen Ross, 36, who pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire and conspiracy and was also sentenced to the same two life sentences as the younger Zottola.
“Why? Anthony, my brother, why? What did you do? Dad gave you everything,” Zottola’s brother, Salvatore, said during a victim impact statement in court. “What you did to me and dad is unimaginable.”
Salvatore Zottola survived a shooting in July 2018.
Anthony Zottola, who pleaded not guilty, was convicted in October after a jury heard about the multiple attempts on his father’s life as well as the attempt on his brother’s, all over the course of a year. Prosecutors said it was all about taking control of his father’s dozens of properties..
“He subjected them to what can only be called to a reign of terror,” said United States District Judge Hector Gonzalez in handing down the sentence, according to the New York Daily News. “I’ve heard almost nothing that demonstrates any remorse. I saw greed as one of the core reasons why this crime was committed.”
Speaking at the sentencing hearing, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace noted that Sally Daz never knew who was responsible for the multiple attempts on his life.
“It was his own son, who was so determined to control the family’s lucrative real estate business, he hired a gang of hit men to murder his father,” said Peace. “For sentencing his father to a violent death, Anthony Zottola and his co-defendant will spend the rest of their lives in jail.”
Ross was also sentenced at the hearing. Sally Daz’s daughter addressed him directly.
“You were the man that shot my father, my lifeline, and murdered him in cold blood in his car,” Debbie Zottola said. “You killed me, you killed his grandchildren, especially my two sons who were old enough to understand every single thing that was happening.”
She said “the last year of his life was pure torture” as her father “had to live in fear.”
Gonzalez added 71 years — Sally Daz’s age at his death — and 41 years — Salvatore’s age when he survived a shooting — to both men’s sentences. Anthony Zottola also got an addition 112 years for gun charges.
He burst into tears during the hearing.
Zottola’s attorney, Ilana Haramati, said he was a family man in poor health and asked for leniency.
“A life sentence bears a really awful finality,” Haramati said. “He just wants to continue to be a source of support to his children as much as he can.”
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[Featured image: Anthony Zottola/handout]