Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Married A Mobster: John Sonny Franzese and John Franzese Jr.

Denyce Franzese's story airs tonight on Investigation Discovery at 10:30 PM ET.  Here is a little more background informtion on her ex-husband and father-in-law.

Denyce’s father in-law, John “Sonny” Franzese, underboss of the Colombo crime family, was ratted out by his own son, John Franzese Jr. This is the first known case of a son ratting out and testifying against his own father. John Jr. was addicted to drugs for a long time, is HIV positive, and was desperate for money, but still no one can understand how he could have turned on his dad in such an unforgivable way. 

At 93 years old, in poor health and feeble, “Sonny” was once a feared man. Even Frank Sinatra was said to have kissed the man’s ring in public. A mobster all his life, he was a top earner and financed the movie “Deep Throat.” This last trial, the one his son testifies at, concerns charges of extortion and racketeering for which he was found guilty thanks to the help of his son, John.

After his trial his daughter and grandchildren wrote to the judge asking for leniency because of his age and health. But in June 2010, at the end of his trial, Sonny was reportedly sentenced to eight years in prison and might be 100 before he can be considered for parole.

Yet, as sympathetic as we may want to be, concerning Sonny and his advanced age and poor health, the man has a very dark past.  According to Federal authorities, Sonny was allegedly involved in numerous murders. And, although never convicted of murder, he reportedly told an informant that he was involved in at least 60 murders. He has been recorded telling associates how to get rid of bodies. One of his reported comments was: "Today, you can't have a body no more. ... It's better to take that half an hour, an hour, to get rid of the body than it is just to leave the body in the street." In another incident he allegedly tells someone how to dismember a body in a kid’s pool, microwaving them, and then putting them in a garbage disposal.

When his son, John Jr., who was a former Colombo associate, turned into an FBI informant, he wore a wire to record his father’s words as evidence against him. John’s brother, Michael, said the reason his brother turned on his father was that the FBI offered him $50,000 for his testimony. When Sonny learned of John's involvement against him, it was said that he have wanted his son killed. It had to be a low blow for Sonny to hear that John helped the FBI and planned to be a witness against him in court. Meanwhile, John Jr. wrote a tell-all book about growing up as the son of an underboss, called, "The John Franzese Story: Family, Crime, Drugs, Redemption,” He did this despite the fact that he promised athorities not to write a book as a condition of entering the witness protection program.

Watch ID tonight and hear the entire story in Denyce's own words!

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