Who Is Anthony Zottola Sr.? New Details On The Son Of Mobster Who Hired A Hit Man To Take Out His Father

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Who Is Anthony Zottola Sr.? New Details On The Son Of Mobster Who Hired A Hit Man To Take Out His Father

Everyone has experienced tension between family members but few people have gone as far as Anthony Zottola Sr. to get the last word: the son a reputed Mafia member hired assassins to kill his father and brother.

Federal prosecutors announced multiple indictments against Zottola and a team of co-conspirators in federal court in Brooklyn this week. He and multiple others were charged in the murder of Sylvester Zottola and the attempted murder of Salvator Zottola. The plot had been in motion since at least 2017 and resulted in multiple attacks on the two men, the last one fatal in the case of Sylvester Zottola.

What happened with this mob murder in the actual family? Who is Anthony Zottola Sr.? Read on for the details.

1. Mafia ties

According to the New York Times, the Zottola patriarch was a Mafia-connected businessman who provided electronic poker machines to mob-controlled hubs in New Jersey. He was tied to the Luchese and Bonanno crime families. He was close to mobster Vincent Basciano, a.k.a. “Vinny Gorgeous,” who briefly led the Bonanno family, according to the Washington Post. Basciano’s leadership came to an abrupt end in 2011 when he was sentenced to life in federal prison for two murders. Salvator Zottola allegedly joined the family gambling machine business and enjoyed the same connections as his father, though, in more recent years, the business had been all but defunct, as Russian and Albanian crime syndicates edged out the older Mafia structures.

Salvator and Sylvester were Mob-connected.

2. Attacks

Starting in 2017, the two mob-connected Zottolas found themselves being stalked and attacked. The father was threatened in November 2017, according to the Washington Post, and a month later, he was the subject of a home invasion where he was stabbed and had his throat slashed. He survived the attack. In July 2018, Salvator was ambushed in the streets and shot multiple times. He also survived the attempt on his life. Finally, in October 2018, Sylvester was shot to death in his car while he was at a fast food drive-through in the Bronx. The autopsy report showed that there were five gunshots wounds, including on to the head which killed him.

There were multiple attacks on the two men.

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3. Investigation

Police initially believed that the attacks on the two men were related to the well-documented Mafia history, the Washington Post reports. They were looking for links to organized crime when a cooperating witness came forward with startling information: a member of the Bloods gang offered him money to help with the murder plot. Bushawn Shelton, a 34-year-old leader in the Bloods known as “Shelz,” was allegedly a ring leader in a murder for hire scheme. When police raided his apartment as part of the investigation, they discovered $45,000 in cash and guns. He was arrested and charged with the murder but the indictment was sealed and no more information about why a Bloods leader was after an aging Mafia member was released.

The plot invovled members of the Bloods.

4. Murder for hire

On June 18, prosecutors unsealed the indictment and added charges against Anthony Zottola, revealing for the first time that he was behind the murder of his father and attempted murder of his brother. In a statement, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said: “There is apparently no love lost between Mr. Zottola and his family members, so much so he allegedly hired members of the Bloods gang to kill his brother and father. After several botched attempts on both mens’ lives, sadly his father did not survive the last attack. The FBI and our law enforcement partners have evidence of astounding violence in this case, and now Zottola and all his alleged hitmen will face justice.”

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The indictment was unsealed this week.

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5. Coded plot

The Department of Justice revealed a convoluted plot between Zottola and the hitmen, wherein they spoke of the planned murder using coded language. The statement reads “According to court filings, Anthony Zottola, Sr. allegedly hired co-defendant Bushawn Shelton, a member of the Bloods street gang, to carry out the murders of his father and his brother. Shelton, in turn, recruited others to commit the murders.  In text messages with Shelton, Zotolla, Sr. referred to the planned murder as 'the filming' and the ‘final scene’ — with his father as ‘the actor’ and the hitman as ‘the director.’”

After the Sylvester was killed in the final attack, they exchanged a series of texts saying “Done."  Minutes later, Shelton texted Zottola, Sr." "Can we party today or tomorrow?"  After agreeing to meet the following day, Zottola, Sr. assured Shelton that he would have his payment ready soon: "I have the cases of water in a day or so."  A photograph recovered from one of Shelton’s cellular telephones depicts a cardboard box of bottled water, as well as over $200,000 in banded currency.  On October 7, 2019, Zottola, Sr. texted Shelton: "All good.  Did you drink the water.  Was it the right one," to which Shelton responded, "Definitely was the right one thanks I was able to water the plants and get some of them squared away."

Anthony Zottola faces life in prison or the death penalty. 

Now under incident for murder and and conspiracy to commit murder for hire, all the defendants face possible penalties of life in federal prison or the death penalty. As United States Attorney Donoghue said,  “Zottola. Sr. and Shelton referred to the planned murders as ‘filming’ a movie, but thanks to the outstanding work of law enforcement, the ending of their plot will take place in a federal courthouse.”

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.