Fri, Oct 26, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Mother and daughter held over Mafia killing of son

THE GUARDIAN , ROME

A 57-year-old woman was in jail in Sicily on Wednesday night, accused of handing over her son to the Mafia to be murdered. Her daughter was also in custody, accused of the same offense. Police said the mother and sister attended the mobsters' "summit" at which his fate was planned.

Sebastiano Mazzeo, the 20-year-old son of a Cosa Nostra godfather, disappeared in 1989 after it became known he was cooperating with the authorities. His body has never been found, and according to testimony from mafiosi who turned state's evidence, it was chopped into bits with a machete.

A supergrass had pointed a finger at Mazzeo's mother, Gaetana Conti, in 1991. But the case against her was shelved for lack of corroboration. In March, however, a second witness came forward with a version of events that coincided with the first.

Sebastiano had decided to testify to investigators after being arrested as a teenager for robbery and attempted murder.

His father, Francesco, was paralyzed in a settling of scores before his son's arrest. Subsequently, the Cosa Nostra boss was murdered at his villa by hitmen dressed as Carabinieri.

After offering to cooperate, Sebastiano was freed under police protection. But he vanished on Oct. 7, 1989. It is known he traveled to Rome. While he was missing from Catania he wrote a letter to the newspapers denying that he was a turncoat.

But, according to the men who have accused his mother, Sebastiano's protestation of "innocence" was disbelieved by the Mafia clan his family led. They told prosecutors that, at a meeting in a villa near Catania attended by his mother and sister it was agreed he should be killed.

The "contract" was handed to another clan. The two mafiosi who have since accused two Conti women were chosen as the hitmen.

They allege the two women told the intended victim they were going to smuggle him to safety in Milan.

They say they were then led to Mazzeo's hideout by his mother and sister.

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