Cosa Nostra's top hitman captured

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The Independent Online
Leoluca Bagarella, the Sicilian responsible for some of the Mafia's most vicious killings, was in jail last night after being captured by police while driving calmly through the streets of Palermo on Saturday night.The ruthless Bagarella probably did not think he needed protection. As the brother-in-law of the jailed head of Cosa Nostra, Toto Riina, he enjoyed enormous power in the underworld.

Although he did not follow the Mafia's code of conduct when killing - he shoots people in the back - he did during his arrest. He went quietly, after a short chase: the code says Mafia members must act with dignity when caught. Believed to be the mastermind behind the 1992 car bomb murder of anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, Bagarella was trailed by anti-Mafia police officers for months. The arrest is the biggest blow against the Mafia for two years. Two of Bagarella's deputies were also arrested yesterday.

Palermo magistrates feared a new Mafia attack was in the offing, with Bagarella playing a leading role. As it is, he may be in the dock at the Falcone murder trial in the central Sicilian town of Caltanissetta. He already has one life sentence to his name - passed in absentia - for the 1979 murder of the head of Palermo's special branch police force, Boris Giuliano.

Bagarella's career, page 8

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