A South Florida appeals court Wednesday ordered a new trial for a man convicted in the high-profile murder of the founder of the Miami Subs restaurant chain.
A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello, who was alleged to be part of a plot to kill businessman Gus Boulis in 2001 in Fort Lauderdale.
The ruling centered on testimony by witness Joseph Marley, who recounted a conversation with another suspect, Joseph Gurino. Marley testified that Gurino told him he “got the work from Moscatiello,” who was alleged to be a member of the Gambino crime family.
Marley and Gurino were dead at the time of Moscatiello’s trial, where the testimony from the bond hearing was improperly used, the appeals court ruled.
“The trial court allowed into evidence, over the objection of the defense, the testimony of a witness at a bond hearing for appellant [Moscatiello], where the witness had died subsequent to the bond hearing,” said the ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Martha Warner and joined by judges Robert Gross and Carole Taylor.
“In his testimony, the witness related statements by John Gurino which amounted to an admission that Gurino was the shooter in the murder and that he ‘got the work from Moscatiello.’ We conclude that this statement — that Gurino ‘got the work from Moscatiello,’ which featured prominently in both the opening and closing arguments of the state, was inadmissible hearsay. Because the state has not shown that it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we must reverse.”
Boulis’ murder came amid a dispute about SunCruz Casinos, which he had owned.