Colombo crime family hitman Tommy McLaughlin disappeared into the Witness Protection Program last Friday. Gangsters Inc. bids him farewell with a profile.
Thomas McLaughlin (photo above) began his criminal career as a member of a street gang called the Bay Parkway Boys. An innocent enough sounding name, but these boys quickly moved on to more serious acts than throwing eggs at houses. McLaughlin, especially, when he hooked up with wiseguys from the notorious Colombo crime family.
The Colombo mob had a violent history dating back to the days when Colombo soldier “Crazy Joe” Gallo took on Colombo family boss Joseph Profaci. The war was paused when Gallo went to prison and Profaci passed away, only to be set ablaze once more when Gallo was released and butted heads with then-boss Joseph Colombo.
On the streets, McLaughlin had earned a reputation as a tough kid with a quick temper. He’d fit right in with the crazy Colombo bunch. He had his chance to prove it in the early 1990s, when the third Colombo family war broke out between the Persicos - father and sons - and their loyalists and Victor Orena and his renegades, McLaughlin found himself in an orgy of violence that left ten mobsters and two innocent bystanders dead in the streets.
McLaughlin himself participated in two murders during the war as a member of Gregory Scarpa’s crew. Scarpa was known as The Grim Reaper and was one of the deadliest mob soldiers ever to walk the streets of New York. McLaughlin would come over to his house on a regular basis and began dating Scarpa’s daughter Linda.
With a father-in-law like Scarpa, McLaughlin had all the connections he needed. But he had one more, his cousin, Thomas Gioeli was a fast-rising Colombo wiseguy as well.
Unfortunately for him though, authorities had him in their sights. In 1996, they busted his drug operation and sent him to prison for the next 14 years. While behind bars he married Linda Scarpa, but the marriage did not last.
Upon his release from prison in 2008, after having proven himself as a standup guy and a man capable of murdering for the organization, McLaughlin expected to be welcomed back by his mob colleagues with open arms and a cushy job or payday.
He was wrong.
Though his cousin Thomas Gioeli was now boss of the family, their bond wasn’t tight. What made life in the new millennium even worse for McLaughlin: Many Colombo mobsters had flipped and turned government witness.
Including capo Dino “Big Dino” Calabro, who implicated him in the murder of Frank “Chestnut” Marasa, who was shot to death in front of his Bensonhurst home on June 12, 1991, a victim of the mob war.
Disappointed with the Mafia and confronted with the outlook of spending the rest of his life in prison, McLaughlin took matters into his own hands and contacted the FBI: He wanted to join Team America.
Starting in 2009, he wore a wire and taped scores of gangsters saying incriminating things. Because of his cooperation it was not him, but his cousin Thomas Gioeli who went to prison for the killing of Marasa.
McLaughlin’s work and testimony earned him a new life in the witness protection program with his new wife and their family.
The judge presiding over his case called McLaughlin’s cooperation “historic” and felt confident that McLaughlin had “gone straight and is going to stay straight.”
46-year-old McLaughlin was short about his exploits, stating in court last Friday, “I just want to apologize for my past and look forward to the future.”
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