The crime had all the ingredients of a messy mob hit, and the trial, which continues this week, has all the trappings of New York’s mafia underworld: money, power and betrayal.
Only one thing was missing: sex. That changed this past week, when the identity of a mysterious woman surfaced in the murder trial of Miami Subs magnate Gus Boulis. Her name is Pina Diminno, and she was the mistress of Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari, one of two mobsters accused of arranging Boulis’ Feb. 6, 2001, slaying.
Diminno, a hairdresser who now lives in Canada, may have witnessed — and possibly even participated in — the plot to kill Boulis, according to witness testimony.
She has not been charged in the case and has refused to talk to prosecutors. But it was clear that she played a role, based on statements made in open court this past week.
James “Pudgy” Fiorillo, the prosecution’s star witness, testified last week that he saw Diminno’s Mazda and Ferrari’s red Volkswagen Jetta right before Boulis was shot.
Fiorillo, who was the lookout that night, said in court that he did not see the shooting and did not know who was in the Mazda.
A motorist who witnessed the shooting, however, said he saw the Mazda stop in front of Boulis’ BMW right before a black Mustang pulled up beside him and a gunman opened fire. The witness said the red Jetta sped past after the shooting.
Chief homicide prosecutor Brian Cavanagh declined to elaborate on the testimony, citing a court-imposed gag order prohibiting lawyers from discussing the case.
But Diminno, whom Ferrari had set up in a hairdressing business, fled to Canada with Fiorillo after the murder, Fiorillo said.
Later, Broward Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes said that Diminno is now a Canadian citizen and the country was not willing to produce her as a witness in a death penalty case.
Ferrari’s wife Jessie also figured into court testimony, with defense attorneys trying to suggest that she may have had a romantic relationship with Fiorillo. Fiorillo admitted that he spoke to her almost every day — and sometimes twice a day — during the six years he was in prison awaiting trial.
CLAD IN SUITS
Ferrari is one of two New York gangsters facing possible death sentences on charges they orchestrated Boulis’ murder. Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello, the onetime reputed bookkeeper for late crime boss John Gotti, and Ferrari come to court each day clad in crisp suits, accompanied by David Bogenschutz and Christopher Grillo, two of the toughest criminal defense lawyers in South Florida.
A small group of Boulis’ loved ones are in the courtroom most every day as well, patiently waiting for justice.
The trial has presented all sorts of challenges more than 12 years after the murder.
There are witnesses who have been killed, others who have disappeared and some who are too terrified to testify. A few who have taken the stand have been tripped up by failing memories — or, as defense attorneys would like the jury to believe — caught in lies concocted to save their own skins.
For the first time in Broward County in 30 years, a jury has been sequestered for the duration of the trial. The last time Big Tony was on trial he and a slew of other Gambino crime family members were cut loose after the case ended in a mistrial because of jury tampering.