This report concludes our four-part series on the mysteries surrounding the murder of Jefferson Downs jockey James Sibille, and this chapter begins as the first, in the 1975 racketeering trial of notorious Mafia hub Carlos Marcello.
In a surprise gesture shortly after noon on Friday January 24, 1975, government attorneys charged with the prosecution of Carlos Marcello and two others accused of extortion demanded and obtained a long weekend break for the trial so that ‘they can’ assess new evidence ‘.
Shortly before the prosecution sought a stay, Federal District Judge Herbert W. Christenberry gave government star witness in the trial, Jose Antonio Gonzalez, 32, of Puerto Rico, a four-year sentence and half jail for making false statements to the Small Business Administration in a loan application for the now defunct Crash Landing nightclub in Metairie.
Those linked to Marcello’s prosecution speculated that the prosecution would go to court on Monday and ask Federal District Judge James A. Comiskey to dismiss the case against Marcello, Samuel A. Labruzzo and Peter G. “Jerry” Brown.
The three men were tried before a jury in the court of Judge Comiskey for attempting to seize Crash Landing through extortion and use of racketeering methods.
When Gonzalez testified a week earlier, defense lawyers showed he gave false testimony and admitted to lying under oath. In April 1974, the Defense said, Gonzalez presented himself as a “good crook” in open court.
On Wednesday, January 22, Judge Christenberry ordered Gonzalez to be remanded into custody and placed in the house on $ 100,000 bail and fixed his sentence on the false statement for the following Friday.
Before Judge Christenberry for sentencing, Gonzalez said he read the transcript of his testimony for the government in Judge Comiskey’s court and called Gonzalez “a better liar than Baron von Münchhausen”.
Testifying in the Marcello case, Gonzalez had insisted that he was a lawyer himself, but Judge Christenberry told him: “I am convinced that you are not a lawyer.”
The judge said he was at the bar for 50 years and on the bench for 27 years and “during that time I haven’t seen anyone approach you like a liar.”
To this comment, Gonzalez replied, “It’s true.”
During the Marcello trial, among other testimony, Gonzalez admitted to making numerous false statements about bank loan applications and claimed he graduated from the University of Puerto Rico law school.
Justice Christenberry noted that Gonzalez had lived in preventive detention for about nine months and called the service “an unreasonable expenditure of taxpayer money by the government.”
The judge added: “What we need is something to protect the taxpayers from you. You’ve been lucky, but your good fortune has run out.
Gonzalez told the judge he repented for the things he did.
“Do you know who Baron von Münchhausen was? Judge Christenberry asked the accused. Münchhausen fought for the Russian Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 1735-1739. After retiring in 1760, the minor celebrity became known in German aristocratic circles for telling scandalous stories about his military career.
“No, sir,” Gonzalez replied, “I don’t know him.”
“Well, you’ve outdone him,” Judge Christenberry said, “And you should check out and learn who he is.”
After the hearing, Judge Christenberry insisted on declaring that the American lawyer had not brought the Marcello case on behalf of the eastern district of Louisiana. He said it “would be good if the public understood this”. The Ministry of Justice’s Organized Crime Intervention Force had initiated proceedings against Marcello.
The judge continued, “I do not see where his testimony can be of use to the government, so I do not give him any credit for his testimony. “
The maximum prison sentence Gonzalez could have received was five years. Judge Christenberry told him he was giving him six months credit for pleading guilty and not charging the government with the costs of a trial.
That Friday in the Marcello trial, the testimony of Raymond D. Young, a former Crash Landing talent agent, established that a man found dead of a drug overdose was subpoenaed to testify for the defense.
During cross-examination of Young, Sanford Krasnoff, a lawyer for Labruzzo, revealed that the court had subpoenaed a person identified as Bryan Johnson several weeks earlier, before police found him murdered.
Young has denied knowing anything about the death.
Krasnoff also questioned the witness about two other deaths, Jefferson Downs jockey James Sibille and an anonymous newspaper editor from Mobile, Alabama. Young has denied any knowledge of the deaths and denied telling Crash Landing clients that Carlos Marcello and his New Orleans Mafia were responsible.
A retired New Orleans police officer told me something that was not recorded in the court transcripts. Local law enforcement viewed both Raymond D. Young and Jose Gonzalez as professional crooks and associated them with the Dixie Mafia, a southern criminal group loosely linked to the rental.
Instead of Marcello’s associates extorting money from Young and Gonzalez, the officer said, “It was the other way around. The crooks extorted them, knowing that the government was trying to get something out of Carlos. “
A jury acquitted Carlos Marcello and his associates of all charges. Raymond D. Young was sentenced to two years for fraud. The judge gave Gonzalez five years and revoked his probation for lying in court.
Parole boards released the two men less than two years later.
However, in January 1993, another court convicted Raymond Young again. This time on charges of tax evasion. Free on bail and facing 13 years in prison, he took a scuba diving trip and disappeared, faking his death.
In 2000, after seven years on the run, a viewer of the “Unsolved Mysteries” television show spotted Young in Costa Rica, living with Jose Gonzalez. Arrested, Young returned to Florida in April 2001. A judge sentenced him to an additional seven years in prison and accused his wife Anne of helping him escape and of attempting to cash in on two police cases. life insurance.
Jose Gonzalez escaped from his home before the authorities arrived. They had extradition warrants for robbing a bank.
In 1977, he opened a cafe next to a National Savings and Loan in Pasto, Colombia. Going from his coffee to the bank safe, he is said to have left the country with 82 million pesos, or about $ 2.2 million.
“Bayou Justice” is a weekly true crime column featuring notable stories related to the crime of South Louisiana, most of which are still unsolved. If you have any information that can help resolve the case, contact Crime Stoppers or your local police department. Some publications may condense this report for publication. For the full story, visit bayoujustice.com