A son was sentenced to life in prison in federal court, plus 112 additional years, for ordering a hitman to kill his father in order to take over the family’s real estate empire.
Anthony Zottola Sr. was sentenced on Friday, April 14, for the murder of his father, 71-year-old Sylvester Zottola.
The family owned two dozen Bronx multi-family rental and commercial properties valued at $45 million.
According to a Department of Justice press release, 45-year-old Zottola hired 37-year-old hitman Himen Ross, who also received a life sentence, to kill both his father and brother in an effort to control the real estate and other commercial properties.
On Oct. 4, 2018, known New York City mobster Sylvester was gunned down in what law enforcement described as a mafia-style assassination at a Bronx McDonald’s drive-thru while ordering a cup of coffee.
A reputed associate of New York’s Bonanno crime family, Sylvester was waiting in his vehicle to pick up his order at the window when he was shot in the head — and four times in the torso.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sylvester Zottola’s youngest son, Salvatore, 42, narrowly escaped death when he was shot several times outside his Throgs Neck compound in The Bronx, three months prior to his father’s murder.
Anthony Zottola Sr. planned to seize control of some 90 properties throughout the borough.
During the trial, Salvatore testified that the real estate business drew more than $1 million per year in rental income worth tens of millions in value.
Meanwhile, Assistant US Attorney Devon Lash told jurors the murder followed a series of six previous botched hits, in which would-be assassins stabbed and beat the elder Zottola — but the mob associate, who paid dues to both the Lucchese and Bonanno families, survived each attempt.
One of the attempts included Sylvester being menaced at gunpoint by a masked person in November 2017.
A month later, three men invaded his home and he was shot in the head, stabbed several times and had his throat slashed.
In the end, Sylvester’s life was taken by his own son. Up until the murder of his father, Zottola had been managing all of the properties with his brother Salvatore.
‘Why? Anthony, my brother, why? What did you do? Dad gave you everything,’ said Salvatore during a victim impact statement in court.
‘What you did to me and dad is unimaginable.
‘Zottola had not one, not two, but multiple chances to rethink his deadly intent to murder his own father.
‘He and the others he recruited chose to continue with their savage plot and succeeded. Now, instead of living off his father’s millions, his only payday will be federal prison,’ FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said in a previous statement.