CHICAGO -- A judge refused Wednesday to dismiss murder charges against Anthony Spilotro, the alleged kingpin of Chicago mob activities in Las Vegas charged in the 1962 killings of two mob underlings.
Cook County Criminal Judge Thomas J. Maloney denied a defense request for a directed verdict, requiring the defense to present its case. The trial resumes Thursday.
The defense motion for a directed verdict attacked the credibility of key government witness Frank Cullotta, a self-proclaimed mob associate who turned government informer last year.
Defense attorneys Herbert Barsy and Oscar Goodman claimed the case against Spilotro, 45, was so weak it should be dismissed out of hand. Barsy argued that prosecutors presented no evidence to support Cullotta's testimony.
Cullotta, a boyhood friend of Spilotro who claims Spilotro was his boss in Las Vegas, has admitted involvement in more than 300 crimes, including four murders, perjury, robberies and burglaries.
He testified Spilotro ordered him to make a telephone call that lured one of the victims, William McCarthy, to a fast food restaurant. The bodies of McCarthy and James Miraglia, both 25, were found in the trunk of a car May 14, 1962. McCarthy's head had been placed in a vice and his throat slashed. Miraglia had been strangled.
Cullotta testified the two were killed because mob bosses suspected them of a triple slaying committed without permission.
Later Tuesday, Cullotta tt estified Spilotro ordered the 1979 fatal shooting of mob informant Jerry Lisner in Las Vegas.
'He told me that we got to clean our dirty laundry, we got to kill him,' Cullotta said.
Cullotta said Spilotro got him started on a lucrative robbery career, teaching him how to dismantle guns and how to tell how much money bank messengers were carrying based on the color of their money bags.
Cullotta said he and Spilotro held up some messengers together.
Under Spilotro's orders, Cullotta said he lied under oath in 1979 to a federal grand jury. He said he had Spilotro's permission to sell drugs in Las Vegas.
Barsy heckled Cullotta for having trouble remembering details of conversations from less than five years ago when his testimony included clear recollections of conversations with Spilotro in 1962.