Alan Nevas 1/10/13

Alan Nevas, respected Y’s Man and retired US District Court Judge, appointed by President Reagan, gave a fascinating talk about three of the more interesting cases he presided over.

The first case was the only organized crime case to be heard in Ct. A New England crime family had an organization in New Haven run by Billy Grasso who was involved in the numbers racket, extortion, prostitution, and many gang assassinations. Grasso was involved in a gang dispute and as a result he was murdered by a mob assassin named Gitano Milano who blew his head off in a rented car and dumped Grasso’s body in a marsh in Wethersfield where it was found four days later by some fishermen. The FBI sent a forensic entomologist to examine the body, and by analyzing the types of insects on and in the body, he was able to establish the exact date of the murder. They were then able to trace the car back to Milano. Milano was indicted, and was to be sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Nevas. At the trial, Milano did a complete Mea Culpa confessing to all of his crimes and helping to indict other gang members. As a result his sentence was reduced to 35 years. Six years ago, Judge Nevas received a call from Milano’s new lawyer requesting a reduction in the sentence. Milano had already served 20 years and was a model prisoner with excellent references from the warden and others. Judge Nevas reduced the sentence to 25 years.

The second case involved Waterbury Mayor Phillip Giordano who was planning to run against Joe Lieberman. Giordano was suspected of being corrupt and the FBI put a wiretap in his office. Over a period of many months the FBI learned that not only was he involved in extortion, but that we was also having sex with the two young daughters of a prostitute who lived in Stamford. One of the girls was only 10 years old and both of them were regularly brought to his office where he committed unspeakable sex acts with them. After he was indicted Giordano’s lawyer tried to avoid a trial by asking Judge Nevas if his client could plead guilty and get a reduced sentence of 18 years. Judge Nevas was interested in avoiding a trial because he didn’t want to put the girls through the ordeal of testifying. Unbelievably, Giordano refused to plead guilty claiming that the girls were lying. During the trial Alan set up a separate room with TV cameras so that the girls could testify without seeing Giordano of whom they were terrified. The jury presided for just four hours, and Giordano was pronounced guilty. He was sentenced in 2002 by Judge Nevas to 42 years in jail. As part of the deliberation Judge Nevas had to be convinced that Giordano’s crime met the interstate commerce criteria. Nevas used the fact that the cell phone Giordano used in Waterbury to call the prostitute in Stamford went there via a relay station in White Plains, N.Y.

The third case was the first federal capital murder case in Ct. history. The defendant was Luke Jones, a violent drug dealer from Bridgeport who was indicted on 2 counts of murder. The first was against a competitor and the second was a guest at a party who made a pass at Jones’s girlfriend. In order to be indicted in a federal court for murder, the murders had to be considered as part of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations or RICO act. The first murder definitely fell into that category but the second didn’t. Amazingly the jury found Jones innocent of the first murder but guilty of the second. Judge Nevas was concerned that he now had to set the capital punishment penalty aside. Normally this could have led to a mistrial but Jones’s lawyer did not object. Jones was sentenced to life in prison.

Thank you Brian for another fascinating and enlightening presentation.