The man accused of gunning down reputed Gambino crime family boss Francesco "Franky Boy Cali" appeared in court Monday, flashing pro-Trump slogans he'd scrawled in pen on his hand.
Anthony Comello, 24, was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday. He’s accused of killing Cali Wednesday in front of his Staten Island home.
Comello flashed the pen marks on his hand to journalists before a brief, 15-minute court hearing Monday in New Jersey, according to the Morning Call. “MAGA Forever,” “United We Stand MAGA,” “U.S.A.” and “Patriots In Charge” were all written on his palm. In the center of his palm, a large circle.
During the hearing, the suspect smiled and signed papers waiving his right to an extradition hearing “without reference to guilt or innocence,” according to The New York Times.
Comello's lawyer, Brian Neary, has not commented on whether Comello maintains his innocence. He ignored reporters’ questions about the words on his palm. Instead, when asked what was on his client’s hand, he replied, “handcuffs,” according to the Morning Call.
Comello allegedly told investigators that he admitted to killing Cali because he feared for his life, according to The New York Times. He also allegedly admitted to being high on marijuana.
He will soon be extradited from New Jersey to New York.
“He willingly, knowingly and voluntarily returns to New York to face these charges,” Neary told reporters after the hearing.
Although the investigation into the shooting is still in its early days, law enforcement officials have reportedly said that they do not believe the shooting was mob-related.
Cali was shot to death by a gunman outside his Staten Island home while his wife and kids were inside, according to the New York Post. Police believe the gunman may have crashed his blue pick up truck into Cali’s SUV to lure him outside.
“What I believe happened was Mr. Cali was struck several times by gunfire. In trying to elude additional gunfire, [he] fled to the rear area of his private vehicle and somebody probably thought he was run over, but it was more he was trying to get underneath the truck to elude gunfire,” Chief of Detectives Dermott Shea told reporters at a news conference last week.
Cali’s death marks the first killing of an alleged crime family boss in New York City in 34 years. The last crime family boss to be killed in New York City was Paul Castellano. The Gambino crime boss was gunned down outside Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan in 1985.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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