FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari should be sentenced to die for a prominent businessman’s slaying because the gangland-style hit was coldly planned for weeks and the victim suffered after he was shot multiple times, a prosecutor told jurors.
The state offered only two witnesses in the penalty phase of the case, relying instead on evidence presented during a nearly month-long trial. Ferrari, 56, was convicted of first-degree murder in the February 2001 killing of Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, founder of the Miami Subs restaurant chain and former owner of the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.
Assistant State Attorney Gregg Rossman said Ferrari should be condemned to death by injection because the killing was premeditated, because Boulis suffered and knew he was dying and because Ferrari was motivated by money — a power struggle over the lucrative SunCruz ships. Each of these points is an aggravating factor that justifies the death penalty, he said.
“The facts you need to determine this you’ve already heard,” Rossman told jurors. “Is there any pretense, any imagined moral justification in the mind of the person who committed this crime? I submit there is none.”
After the 12 juror hear Dec. 17 from the defense, they will begin considering whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without parole for Ferrari. The non-binding recommendation is done by majority vote, with the final decision on the sentence resting with Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes.
Trial evidence showed that Boulis, 51, was shot to death by a mob hit man as he sat in his car on a downtown Fort Lauderdale street. Witnesses testified the killing was orchestrated by Ferrari and Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello, a reputed member of New York’s Gambino crime family. Both had well-paying contracts with SunCruz under its new owners that were threatened by Boulis, witnesses said.
A few months earlier, Boulis had sold the fleet to New York businessman Adam Kidan — who knew Moscatiello and sought him out for his purported mob ties — and then-powerhouse Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Kidan and Abramoff later pleaded guilty to fraud in the $147.5 million SunCruz deal and served federal prison time.
Moscatiello, 75, is also charged with murder and was on trial with Ferrari until his attorney became ill. Moscatiello, who has pleaded not guilty, will be retried later. The alleged hit man was later killed himself in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Testifying in his own defense, Ferrari claimed that another conspirator committed the murder and that Kidan was behind the plot. Kidan, however, testified that both Ferrari and Moscatiello had confessed the crime to him. The other conspirator, James “Pudgy” Fiorillo, admitted conducting surveillance of Boulis and getting rid of the murder weapon, but said he did not shoot Boulis.
The main state witness was Spiro Naos, one of Boulis’ nephews, who said that Boulis — a Greek immigrant who built his businesses from scratch — frequently hired new immigrants, helped them find housing and offered other assistance.
“Gus was the best living example of the American dream and he was willing to share it,” Naos said. “There will never be another Gus Boulis.”
(Curt Andeson, AP Legal Affairs Writer)