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Crime News

Mobster Convicted Of Three Contract Killings Escapes Federal Custody In Florida

Convicted contract killer Dominic Taddeo had previously evaded capture and spent two years moving across the country and assuming more than two dozen identities.

By Jax Miller
Dominic Taddeo

A New York mobster who was convicted of three murders has escaped from federal custody shortly after his transfer to a halfway house.

Dominic Taddeo, 64, was embedded in the mafia at the peak of the 1980s and later pleaded guilty to a raft of charges, including the murders of three men, according to the Associated Press. A change in Taddeo’s status on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows the inmate, who has served most of his sentence at a federal prison in Florida, has escaped.

“On Feb. 15, 2022, Dominic Taddeo transferred from the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Coleman Medium to community confinement in a residential reentry center (RRC) overseen by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Orlando Residential Management (RRM) Office,” the BOP said in a statement emailed to Oxygen.com. “He failed to return from an authorized appointment to the RRC and was placed on escape status on March 28, 2022.”

According to court documents obtained by CNN, the Rochester-based mobster was meant to remain at the halfway house until his scheduled February 2023 release.

Described as a hitman by the FBI, Taddeo sought early release in February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being overweight with a hypertension diagnosis, according to Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle. U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci denied the request the following month, stating he didn’t believe Taddeo successfully proved he was at higher risk of contracting the virus.

Taddeo’s March 18 escape wouldn’t be the first time the contract killer went on the run. According to the Rochester outlet, Taddeo was arrested on firearm charges and released in 1987 before skipping bail.

Between 1987 and 1989, Taddeo assumed more than two dozen aliases and moved around the country. At one point, while on the lam, Taddeo was arrested and released under a false name for purchasing illegal blank driver’s licenses.

Authorities at the time hadn't realized who he actually was.

Taddeo was eventually captured in 1989 when an informant alerted authorities that Taddeo planned to meet his brother in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1992, Taddeo admitted to fatally shooting alleged mobsters Nicholas Mastrodonato, Gerald Pelusio, and Dino Tortatice at the height of a violent period known as “The Mob Wars” in 1980s New York, according to the Rochester outlet. Taddeo was also accused of shooting local mobster Thomas Marotta six times in April 1983. When Marotta survived the attempted assassination, Taddeo again allegedly tried to kill him six months later, hitting his target three times.

Still, Marotta survived.

“You gotta be lucky,” Marotta later said of the incident. “You gotta be real lucky.”

In 1992, Taddeo pleaded guilty to numerous RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) offenses and was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison, according to CNN. The sentence was to be served consecutively alongside a previous sentence for drug conspiracy, bail jumping, and illegal weapons possession.

Judge Geraci outlined the violent nature of the crimes when deciding not to grant Taddeo early release in 2021.

“Defendant began a life of crime at 16 years old,” Geraci wrote in his decision, reported CNN. “His prior convictions are for crimes including assault, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and, most notably, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization conspiracy arising from his employment and associated with Rochester’s La Cosa Nostra organized crime family.”

Taddeo’s escape from the Florida halfway house could result in additional time in custody, according to The New York Times. He had less than a year before his 2023 release.

“It’s the dumbest thing he could have done,” reporter Jerry Capeci, who writes the Gang Land News mafia column, told the New York Times. “Either there’s something wrong upstairs, or something bad happened to him.”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons told Oxygen.com that they notified the U.S. Marshal’s Service of Taddeo’s escape. Requests to Marshal Services for an update on the search were not immediately returned.