The real-life mobster who ordered a hit on a gay mob boss, and whose story inspired an entire season of suspense surrounding gay mobster Vito Spatafore (Joe Gannascoli) in TV series’ The Sopranos, has been sentenced to life in prison.
Stefano Vitabile, 71, was sentenced to life in prison for ordering the 1992 slaying of acting DeCavalcante crime boss John (Johnny Boy) D’Amato, who was killed when he was outed by his fellow mobsters, according to New York’s Daily News.
D’Amato’s family served as the inspiration for HBO’s The Sopranos, television’s critically praised drama that follows the daily life of a family of mobsters.
It was after Sopranos writers read about Vitabile’s 2003 trial in federal court that Gannascoli urged them to make his Vito Spatafore character gay.
On this season’s Sopranos, Spatafore left his wife and kids when two mobsters spotted him in a gay bar. He was killed in a motel room as his brother in law, who ordered the hit, looked on.
Gannascoli did the gay press circuit leading up to this season’s killing, and told the press he felt the writers of the show treated his character with the respect he deserved. The killing, he said, was a case of art imitating life.
Though the trial showed Vitabile wasn’t in Mill Basin, Brooklyn the night D’Amato was fatally shot, feds argued it was he who signed off on the hit.
“Nobody’s going to respect us if we have a gay homosexual boss sitting down discussing business with other families,” DeCavalcante turncoat Anthony Capo told jurors in 2003, according to the Associated Press.
Capo admitted to shooting D’Amato four times as D’Amato sat in the backseat of a car. Capo said they had told D’Amato they were going for something to eat.
Vitabile was convicted of conspiring in two other mob-related murders and conspiring to commit extortion. A video played during the trail showed him to be close friends with late mob boss John Gotti.
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