A wise Gambino was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering a Lucchese family associate in a feud over more than $750,000 in usurious cash.
A jury in Federal Court in Brooklyn took 90 minutes to deliberate on its guilty verdict in the case of Anthony Pandrella, 62, accused of killing loan shark Vincent Zito, 78, at Zito’s home.
Pandrella had agreed to keep $750,000 in illicit cash from Zito’s loan sharking activity because Zito feared being investigated by law enforcement.
But when Zito demanded the money back, Pandrella said he mysteriously disappeared from his basement.
Zito was murderously insane and threatened to kill Pandrella at a dinner party the two men attended a few weeks before the murder at Battista, a restaurant in Brooklyn, prosecutors said.
But Pandrell got to Zito first.
On the day Zito was murdered, Pandrella said he was going to pay the $750,000 debt.
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He went to Zito’s home in Sheepshead Bay on the morning of October 26, 2018 – but instead of returning the money, which he had claimed had gone missing earlier, Pandrella killed his longtime friend by shooting him bullet in the neck.
Pandrella then stole expensive watches that Zito owned and fled the scene.
Pandrella “is a cold-blooded killer who shot his old friend in his home, execution style (…) to avoid returning a large sum of money he was holding to the victim”, said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
Zito’s lifeless body was discovered by his 11-year-old grandson.
Pandrella boldly returned home after the murder and spent time with Zito’s grieving family and friends, and asked questions about the police investigation into the homicide.
The Gambino associate was convicted of robbery, murder and unlawful use of a firearm.
He faces life in prison when convicted.