Lucchese crime family member Michael “Baldy Mike” Spinelli has been released from prison due to health concerns related to coronavirus. He says he is a changed man from his mobster days and wants to become a yoga instructor.
In March 1992, Lucchese bosses ordered Spinelli to kill Patricia Capozzalo, a mother of three from Brooklyn. The only reason they wanted her dead was that she was the sister of Peter “Big Pete” Chiodo, also a member of the Lucchese family who turned into a government witness aka a dirty rat.
Vittorio Amuso, Lucchese family boss at the time, found out that Chiodo was going to testify against him at an upcoming trial.
The attempted murder broke the mafia code regarding not targeting mobster’s innocent family members.
Spinelli took his time to plan the hit by stalking Capozzalo for weeks beforehand. On March 10, 1992, a masked hitman, in a car driven by Spinelli shot Capozzalo three times while she was sat in her 1985 Oldsmobile parked outside her house. She had just returned from dropping her kids off at school.
Despite being hit in the neck, behind the ear, and in the back, Capozzalo was able to run into her house and call for help. She survived the hit and six years later she testified against Spinelli who was already serving time for other crimes.
But according to Spinelli’s lawyers, this made man has been forced to take a hard look at himself over the past 28 years in the slammer, and he no longer wants any part of the mobster life.
In the application for release filed by Spinelli’s lawyer, Allegra Glashausser, she wrote ‘Today, he is ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ of who he was. He is full of remorse. Back then he was part of a culture of violence. Today, he is a calm, positive influence on those around him. He works daily to repent for his actions and tries to help other incarcerated people find peace. He dreams of building a peaceful life as an old man, and trying to help people with the few years he has left by teaching yoga and spending time with his family’
Spinelli, who is 66 has a wide range of medical problems that make him a high risk should he become infected with COVID-19. The now ex-mafioso still had nine years left on his sentence and wasn’t scheduled to be released till 2029.
The feds strongly opposed his early release. In papers filed with the court, they said “Spinelli agreed to murder an innocent civilian for his own selfish gain and advancement within the Lucchese family. He did so with the clear intent of intimidating one government witness from testifying against the mob and sending a message to other would-be cooperators: cooperators and their families will never be safe,”
Even so, a judge ordered Spinelli released on $250,000 bail pending a resentencing of the case. He was released into his sister’s custody and is under home confinement.
He is explicitly barred from seeing or communicating with anyone involved in organized crime.