A once powerful associate of the New England Mafia turned rat John “Sonny” Castagna passed away at the age of 72. He was once described as one of the most treacherous men in Hartford but after being indicted along with a Patriarca crime family crew for running gambling parlors in 1991 he decided to flip. Along with his son John “Jackie” Johns who also flipped became key witnesses in a federal racketeering case that annihilated the New England mafia known as the Patriarca Family. Over the past six years Castagna had been living in a retirement complex in Florida under the name John Serreno in the witness protection program. The Florida complex stated it was dedicated to expressing christian compassion, love, and concern for aging adults providing them with an atmosphere to enjoy independent well being seemed to be a nice and quiet place for the former mobster to spend his final days.
Although even into his finals days many believe that Castagna had not completely confessed all of his sins to the feds. The former mobster was again under investigation this time his suspected role in the murder of a local boxer named Eric Miller back in 1988. The young boxer had gotten into a confrontation with then Patriarca family underboss William “The Wild Guy” Grasso slugging him in the head knocking him out cold in front of a crowd in South End. A former Grasso associate said that anyone associated with the mafia knew the unwritten rule that anyone that hit a made member of La Cosa Nostra with out permission signed their own death warrant. Billy Grasso was all about the rules and La Cosa Nostra and we all knew as soon as we heard that the Miller kid was gone he said.
Authorities had recently reopened the case and believed that Grasso had given the order to kill Miller to Castagna and Johns and they carried it out. According to Millers girlfriend he took a call from Johns at his apartment the night he was shot. Both Castagna and Johns were friendly with Miller before the altercation with Grasso had taken place. Johns and Castagna were questioned by defense lawyers during the racketeering trial against the Patriarca family offering less then certain testimony but were never charged for any part in the mob hit. Hartford Police decided to take another look at the case and possibly compel testimony along with a Grand Jury although they have now lost one of their key leads with the passing of Castagna.