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FBI Nabs Suspect In Hudson Valley La Cosa Nostra Mob Hit

John Tortora Jr., known as "Johnny T," a member of the Genovese Crime Family, was arrested by FBI agents and Yonkers Police in connection with the 1997 death of 29-year-old Richard Ortiz in Yonkers.
John Tortora Jr., known as "Johnny T," a member of the Genovese Crime Family, was arrested by FBI agents and Yonkers Police in connection with the 1997 death of 29-year-old Richard Ortiz in Yonkers. Photo Credit: File

A member of the La Cosa Nostra organized crime family is facing murder charges in the cold-case fatal stabbing of a Westchester man, prosecutors announced.

John Tortora Jr., known as "Johnny T," a member of the Genovese Crime Family, was arrested by FBI agents and Yonkers Police in connection with the 1997 death of 29-year-old Richard Ortiz in Yonkers.

“The arrest of John Tortora should remind everyone that justice delayed is not justice denied," FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said. "Whether a crime was allegedly committed decades ago or just days ago, the FBI will maintain the same tenacity and we will be relentless toward ensuring those who commit violent crimes be held accountable for their actions.

"The FBI New York Office never does these investigations alone, and we want to thank the Yonkers Police Department for their help in successfully solving a case from more than 20 years ago.”

Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said: “This arrest for the 1997 murder of Mr. Ortiz demonstrates the resolve and commitment of law enforcement to hold those accountable for their actions and serves as a warning to all members of La Cosa Nostra engaging in violent criminal activity in our communities. We will continue to work with our federal partners to aggressively target alleged criminals and criminal enterprises operating in our City."

Tortora, an associate and later a member of the Genovese Crime Family, along with other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, committed a wide range of crimes, including murder, extortion, gambling, and narcotics trafficking, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

Prosecutors say the 61-year-old Tortora hired others to kill Ortiz in order to further the goals of the Genovese Family. As a result, they said, on Nov. 11, 1997, Ortiz was brutally stabbed multiple times, causing his death.

Tortora was charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, two counts of murder in aid of racketeering and three counts of murder for hire.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein. An initial pretrial conference is scheduled for Aug. 14.

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