Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tommy Trantino

There's a second youtube video about Tommy Trantino
Tommy Trantino, prison writer, poet and painter, talks about his younger days as a heroin addict and gangster in and around Time Square. Tommy would later serve 38 consecutive years (including 7 years on death row) for the murders of two New Jersey police officers, before being released on parole in 2002. While in prison he wrote the book "LOCK THE LOCK". Trantino counted Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon, Henry Miller, Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut and Howard Zinn among his supporters and fans of his art.

from wikipedia
Thomas Trantino (born c. 1939) is an American convicted murderer who was sentenced to life in prison for the execution style shooting deaths in 1963 of two police officers in Lodi, New Jersey. Trantino grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was expelled from school for playing hooky, became a drug addict in his early teens and served the remainder of his teen age years in jail. Responding to reports of a disturbance at the Angel Lounge on U.S. Route 46 in Lodi on August 26, 1963, Sgt. Peter Voto and P.O. Gary Tedesco were dispatched to follow up on the call. Voto entered the bar — leaving behind Tedesco, a probationary officer who could not carry a weapon — and was immediately ambushed by Frank Falco and Thomas Trantino, who were there to celebrate a successful robbery. When Voto did not return, Tedesco went into the bar and was also ambushed. Both were tortured and killed execution style. Falco was shot while resisting arrest and killed in Manhattan by officers of the New York City Police Department. On August 29, a funeral for the 21-year-old Tedesco was held at Our Lady of Mount Virgin Roman Catholic Church in Garfield, New Jersey and a separate service for 40-year-old Sgt. Voto was held at St. Joseph's Church in Lodi, with more than 1,000 officers representing 40 different departments in attendance, a memorial described as the largest such funeral in New Jersey police history. Governor of New Jersey Richard J. Hughes flew in from Trenton, New Jersey to offer his condolences to the respective families. Trantino was placed under arrest after turning himself in at the East 22nd Street Station in Manhattan on August 28 after 66 hours in hiding; he was arraigned and the case was adjourned until September 17 with Trantino held in jail without bail. Trantino's attorney described both of the accused killers as "gentlemen", saying that Trantino had never killed anyone and that the half-Jewish, half-Italian Trantino was called "Rabbi Tom" because he was so kind to others.In his summation at the trial, held at the Bergen County Court House, prosecutor Guy W. Calissi said that Trantino had pistol whipped Sgt. Voto, forced him to undress and shot both Voto and Tedesco after the second officer entered the bar. Trantino's attorney argued that both officers had been shot and killed by Falco and that Trantino -- who had been previously jailed on a robbery charge and had a history of addiction to narcotics -- had been too drunk to have committed the crime. On February 19, 1964, the jury of seven men and women took 7 hours and 20 minutes to find Trantino, and their failure to recommend mercy meant that the death sentence would be ordered. Trantino's attorney Albert S. Gross recommended a life sentence, saying "isn't a lifetime in prison enough?"On February 28, Bergen County Judge Joseph W. Marini sentenced Trantino to death in the electric chair to take place in the week of April 5. At the sentencing, Trantino's attorney argued against the death penalty, stating that "legalized murder was no better than criminal murder". Trantino was originally sent to Trenton State Prison where he sat on Death row. After New Jersey abolished the death penalty in the state in 1971, Trantino was sent to Rahway State Prison. While in prison at Rahway, Trantino pursued an interest in poetry and art. His paintings were described by The New York Times in a 1973 article as being reminiscent of Pablo Picasso. The firm of Alfred A. Knopf agreed to publish two books of his works. In 1974, Trantino was one of five prison inmates found to have organized an illegal mass meeting attended by 200 inmates in which the subject was believed to be criticism of the prison's administration. The group of 200 had started meeting and refused to disperse for 30 minutes after guards ordered them to end the meeting, citing the explosive security risk arising from such a gathering. The five leaders, including Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, were transferred to other prisons around the state. Trantino's sentence had been commuted on January 17, 1972, to a single life sentence, which would make him eligible for parole in 1977, after serving 15 years in jail. Under the Parole Act of 1979, the parole board could require the sentencing judge to set restitution as a condition of parole, With Trantino being the first case under the law after two previous parole applications had failed. The New Jersey State Parole Board was willing to release him once arrangements were made for making restitution to the survivors and Judge Theodore Trautwein took responsibility for setting the amounts as the original sentencing judge had retired ten years earlier. In September 1980, 500 police officers protested at the steps of the Court House in Hackensack, joining the families of the slain officers in arguing that Trantino should remain in jail and that compensation would not be accepted in exchange for the deaths of the two police officers.
Judge Trautwein refused to set a restitution amount, saying, "It would be a gruesome, illogical, self-evident act of futility to order the restoration of the victims' lives." Without the restitution arrangements, Trantino's parole had been rejected and he remained in jail beyond the judge's death. Trantino was finally released in 2002, after spending 38 years in jail.


edward c. stengel said...

Isn't it just like these worthless governmnet
bureaucrats to ignore the law whenever they feel
like it, and bow down to the police, as if they
were Gods. The law is the law, and it has to be
applied fairly and consistently to all persons,
not when the police think it's O.K.

Cassandra said...

Tommy Tarantino is the lowest form of slime on the planet.

joe said...

I for one am glad to see the rabbi set free,it was long overdue. I understand from reading "lock The lock"how people like us become what we are as a result of the experiences we had as boys.and then to become people who can see the shortsighteness of this system and how much they're responsible for cause and effect Joe "red"clark

carmen said...

I agree Cassandra. And I should know coming from someone he tried to kill. My name's Carmen...I'm the woman he beat and tried to kill in Camden in 2003. He will have to answer to the Man in Heaven someday. That will be his just recompense.

Anonymous said...

Oh Carmen - what the Hell did you do to Tommy? I am sure you are no angel either. Why did you bother messing with him if you knew his history - 38 years in prison does not help anyone.