FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) – A Broward County jury has convicted 56-year-old Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari of the 2001 mob-style murder of local businessman Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis.
The jury took a little less than two days to reach the guilty verdict. The jury convicted Ferrari of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges after deliberating about 7 hours.READ MORE: Several Injured In 7-Vehicle Crash In Tamarac
There were emotional moments outside the Broward courtroom as Boulis’s sister Marisa Koumoulidis broke down in tears.
“I’m so happy. I’m so happy,” she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “Everyone did a good job. The prosecutors did a good job.”
Boulis newphew, Spiro Maos, told D’Oench, “Right now I am full of emotions. Gus was a big person in this community. He did an amazing job and did many things for many people that the public was not aware of. This is a huge loss for our community and for South Florida.”
Maos said, “We never lost hope after 12 and a half years. We spoke to the detectives and the State Attorney’s Office and we never gave up hope. They kept at this case and we are grateful to them for that.”
Assistant State Attorney Gregg Rossman said, “It’s amazing that this jury was able to see through this case and we are grateful to them for everything they did, being away from their families.”
Assistant State Attorney Brian Cavanugh said, “Justice was done. If there could have been a way to undo this murder, we could. He was a good man. He was a good man to his family and the world. But at least his family will have some solace in knowing that justice was done.”
The jury must return to the courthouse for the penalty phase on December 16th. Ferrari faces the death penalty.
The 12-person jury, which was sequestered since testimony began Sept. 30th, began discussions Thursday afternoon. Ferrari was brought to trial for what witnesses described as a power struggle over the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.
During closing arguments, prosecutors painted a detailed picture for the jury of why they felt Ferrari was behind the crime.
“He was shot four times and drove a block west , two and a half blocks north, before he fainted from consciousness across the street and came to a final rest and his death in the vehicle across from a Miami Subs,” prosecutor told the jury. “How would he know Gus Boulis is dead when nobody else does,” said Rossman. “Well there is a simple answer for that, he was there.”
Taking the stand in his defense on Wednesday, Ferrari told the jury he never tried to hire anyone to kill Boulis and instead blamed the slaying on a business rival of Boulis.
“I never thought about killing anybody in my life. It’s just not in my DNA to even think about killing anybody,” Ferrari testified. Ferrari was the only witness for the defense. He testified over his lawyer’s objections.
Defense attorney Christopher Grillo tried to punch holes in the prosecution’s case.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Hot, Muggy Thursday, Ahead Of Rainy Weekend
“How can they ask you to participate in a legal situation that would require my client, Mr. Ferrari, to get the death penalty when they don’t know who the shooter is,” Grillo told the jury.
Ferrari has claimed that a former defendant in the case, James Fiorillo, confessed to him that he actually shot Boulis to death, not the hit man.
That discrepancy is one of many inconsistencies in the case that should have lead jurors to acquit Ferrari, his attorney Christopher Grillo said in a closing argument.
Grillo declined to comment after Friday’s verdict.
“Again I ask you, who is the shooter? Shouldn’t we at least know that? Shouldn’t they be required to prove Mr. Ferrari’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by saying who shot Mr. Boulis?” Grillo said.
Fiorillo, who did odd jobs and errands for Ferrari, pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy earlier and testified against Ferrari and Antony “Big Tony” Moscatiello. He said he did not kill Boulis but was involved in the plot, including throwing the murder weapon off a bridge and getting rid of the car the killer used.
Another convicted killer testified that Ferrari offered him money to kill Fiorillo and two others who knew about the plot, but he didn’t go through with it because Moscatiello and Ferrari “didn’t have their act together.” Gurino, the alleged hit man, was later shot to death in a dispute with a Boca Raton deli owner who is now in prison.
Yet another admitted mob killer, Peter “Bud” Zuccaro, testified that Moscatiello offered him $100,000 to kill Boulis but he refused because under his moral code, murder was only permissible for “principle” and not money.
The murder happened during a struggle for control over the lucrative SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet, which Boulis had recently sold to businessman Adam Kidan and ex-Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Kidan testified previously that Ferrari confessed to orchestrating the Boulis slaying, but Ferrari insisted it was Kidan all along.
“I never asked anybody in my life, ever, to kill any human being,” Ferrari testified, adding that he was home in Miami Beach the entire day that Boulis was murdered.
Kidan testified that a dispute with Boulis had escalated to the point that he brought in New York’s Gambino crime family as protection, but was shocked when Boulis was killed. Kidan also said Ferrari threatened to kill him and his family if he told anyone about the murder plot.
Prosecutors say Moscatiello and Ferrari decided to get rid of Boulis to guarantee their well-paying contracts with SunCruz under Kidan’s new ownership. Boulis had retained a 10-percent share of the business and was attempting to regain control, other witnesses have testified.
Kidan and Abramoff both served federal prison time for fraud in the $147.5 million purchase of SunCruz from Boulis.
Ferrari, 56, faces the death penalty if convicted. Moscatiello is also charged with murder but was granted a mistrial when his attorney fell ill. Prosecutors say they will retry Moscatiello later.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)MORE NEWS: Bicyclist Struck, Killed In Davie; Eastbound SR & Nob Hill Road Closed
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)