Palermo

Five life sentences confirmed for boy's Mafia killers

Son of informant dissolved in acid, damages to mother tripled

Five life sentences confirmed for boy's Mafia killers

Palermo, March 18 - A Palermo appeals court on Monday upheld five life-sentences meted out in the lower court for the kidnapping, detainment and murder of the son of a Mafia criminal turned government witness. Giuseppe Di Matteo, the 13-year-old son of mobster-turned-informant Santino Di Matteo, was kept by abductors for nearly two years before being strangled and dissolved in acid in January 1996. Italy's maximum sentence was confirmed for Brancaccio mafia boss Giuseppe Graviano, fugitive Trapani boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Francesco Giuliano, Salvatore Benigno and Luigi Giacolone. A 12-year sentence was confirmed for state witness Gaspare Spatuzza, for whom special mitigating factors for government informants were applied. The panel of appeals judges tripled damages to be paid to the mother and brother of the victim. The mother's compensation was raised from 100,000 to 300,000 euros. The brother's increased from 50,000 to 150,000 euros. Santino Di Matteo took part in the assassination of judge Giovanni Falcone in 1992, and after his June 1993 arrest became one of the first of Falcone's killers to become a government witness. In retaliation, the Sicilian Mafia abducted Di Matteo's son Giuseppe, then 11, in November 1993. (photo: archive picture of Giuseppe Di Matteo)

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