|Reputed mob boss Anthony Spilotro, left, and his brother, Michael, leave the federal building in Chicago after a bond hearing in this June 17, 1986 file photo. Anthony Spilotro was known as the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas and inspired the Joe Pesci character in the movie casino. He and his brother were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in June 1986. On Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, a forensic pathologist who did autopsies on the Spilotros, testified at the trial in Chicago of five men charged with taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 murders. He said there was no evidence that the two men were buried alive. (AP Photo/File)|
Pathologist: Mobsters likely beaten
CHICAGO --Bruises on the backs of their hands suggested two brothers desperately tried to shield themselves from the blows that likely killed them, a forensic pathologist testified Wednesday at a major organized crime trial.
Dr. John Pless said Michael and Tony Spilotro, whose bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986, were likely punched and kicked to death with bare fists, knees and feet. The autopsy showed no evidence they were alive when they were buried in the shallow grave, he said.
The testimony came during the trial of Frank Calabrese, 69, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78, James Marcello, 65, Paul Schiro, 70, and Anthony Doyle, 62. They are charged with taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 killings, including the Spilotros'.
Tony Spilotro was the inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in the 1995 movie "Casino." In the film, Pesci's character was beaten with bats and buried alive.
Some jurors winced as they viewed autopsy pictures on monitors of the Spilotros' swollen, discolored corpses. Tony Spilotro's face, severely beaten and partially decomposed, was barely recognizable as human.
Michael Spilotro's Adam's apple was fractured, his nose was broken and kidney was torn, and "there was so much bleeding, almost (his) entire right lung was filled with blood," Pless said. Tony Spilotro's body was badly bruised virtually from head to foot.
Pless said he couldn't tell from the injuries how many people might have taken part in the beatings.
Earlier in the trial, star witness Nicholas Calabrese, Frank Calabrese's brother, testified that mobsters were mad at Tony Spilotro because he was "bringing too much heat" on them and romancing the wife of a Las Vegas casino executive.
He said the Spilotros were lured in June 1986 to the basement of a Bensenville home where they were told Tony would be dubbed a "capo," or mob captain, and Michael a "made guy."
Instead, Nicholas Calabrese said, they were beaten and strangled to death.
Pless testified Wednesday that the Spilotros' bodies had been in a shallow, cornfield grave in Indiana for at least a week before they were discovered.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel halted testimony briefly when Frank Calabrese's attorney said his client's hearing aid had stopped working.
Zagel said he would arrange for a new battery for the hearing aid or would try to set up a speaker close to Calabrese's seat so he could hear the proceedings. The trial resumed about half an hour later.
Associated Press writer Dan Strumpf in Chicago contributed to this report.