Well, well, guess who’s back? Former Colombo crime family underboss John “Sonny” Franzese is back on the streets after being released from prison on Friday. The longtime wiseguy was welcomed home with open arms by his family at his daughter’s place in Brooklyn, New York. At 100 years old, Franzese was the oldest inmate in the federal prison system in the United States. He now will be looking to enjoy his last days in freedom surrounded by his loving family.
At least, that’s what we think and hope he will do. With a man like “Sonny” Franzese one never knows for sure. Remember, in 2010 this man was convicted of shaking down the Penthouse and Hustler strip clubs in Manhattan when he was already in his early nineties!
Franzese couldn’t be stopped. When he was asked about doing time in prison at his age, he answered: “I die outside, I die in jail. It don't matter to me. I gotta die someplace.” He could not be broken. “[He] served 38 years,” his son and former Colombo family capo Michael Franzese wrote on Twitter. Adding, “Amazing!”
In 1967, Franzese was hit with a shocking 50-year prison sentence after being convicted of planning several bank robberies. He was paroled several times in the decades to come, but always got back in the thick of the mob life, breaking the conditions of his parole and ending up back in a cell.
Among his fellow mobsters, Franzese had a ferocious reputation as a stone-cold killer. In one anecdote, Franzese was in the back corner of a bar talking to a slim young man. It was around 2 a.m. and the bar was filled with patrons enjoying a night out. Then, suddenly, a loud bang. The slim man slumped to the floor holding a gun. Standing next to the dead man was Franzese holding his own gun. The dead man was dragged out of the bar and Franzese continued his night out without a care in the world.
That’s the true definition of a stone-cold gangster. Something Franzese never hid. “I killed a lot of guys,” he once told an associate during a conversation caught on tape by authorities. “You're not talking about four, five, six, ten.”
Still, prosecutors were never able to pin any murders on Franzese.
Now, the 100-year-old great grandfather is back with his large family, his blood family, not his crime one. Michael Franzese told the New York Daily News that his father plans to “just sit home and enjoy himself with the family. It’s all he wants to do.”
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