Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Saturday, June 23, 2012
Mafia Boss John Gotti is Convicted (1992) & William Bayly of New Zealand is Convicted of Murder (1934)
On this date in 1992, mafia boss John Gotti is sentenced
to life in prison after being found guilty on 14 accounts of conspiracy to
commit murder and racketeering.
Moments after his sentence was read in a federal
courthouse in Brooklyn, hundreds of Gotti's supporters stormed the building and
overturned and smashed cars before being forced back by police reinforcements. Gotti,
born and educated on the mean streets of New York City, became head of the
powerful Gambino family after boss Paul Castellano was murdered outside a
steakhouse in Manhattan in December 1985. The gang assassination, the first in
three decades in New York, was organized by Gotti and his colleague Sammy
"the Bull" Gravano. The Gambino family was known for its illegal
narcotics operations, gambling activities, and car theft. During the next five
years, Gotti rapidly expanded his criminal empire, and his family grew into the
nation's most powerful Mafia family. Despite wide publicity of his criminal
activities, Gotti managed to avoid conviction several times, usually through
witness intimidation. In 1990, however, he was indicted for conspiracy to
commit murder in the death of Paul Castellano, and Gravano agreed to testify
against him in a federal district court in exchange for a reduced prison
sentence. On April 2, 1992, John Gotti was found guilty on all counts and on
June 23 was sentenced to multiple life terms without the possibility of parole.
While still imprisoned, Gotti died of throat cancer on June 10, 2002.
On this date in 1934, William Bayly is convicted of
murder in New Zealand despite the fact that the body of one of his alleged
victims was never found.
Most of the evidence against Bayly consisted of trace
amounts of human hair, bone, and tissue, representing a marked advance in the
field of forensics. Sam and Christobel Lakey disappeared from their farm in
Ruawaro, New Zealand, in October 1933, along with their rifles. Christobel's
body soon turned up in a pond on the farm with terrible bruising to her face
and head, and investigators then discovered fresh bloodstains in both an old
buggy and a barn, leading them to believe that Sam had been shot and
transported somewhere else.
One of the first suspects was William Bayly, who owned a
farm adjacent to the Lakey's, and who was known to have argued with his
neighbors frequently. Years earlier, he had been suspected of killing his
cousin, but was released due to insufficient evidence. Suggesting to police
that Sam Lakey had probably fled after killing his wife, Bayly soon dropped out
of sight himself. Meanwhile, detectives found the missing rifles buried in a
swamp on Lakey's property. Following up on a report that there had been thick
smoke coming from a shed on Bayly's property on the day that the Lakeys
disappeared, investigators found pieces of hair and bones, ash, and shotgun
lead in a large oil drum inside the shed. It appeared that Bayly had cremated
Sam Lakey's body in this drum. Tests of the hair and bone fragments from the
drum in the shed proved that they were human in origin. Baley was convicted and
hanged at Mount Eden Jail in July.