|Published:||Oct 21, 2013 6:44 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 21, 2013 6:44 PM EDT|
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A self-professed hit man testified Monday that he was hired to commit several killings to help cover up the 2001 gangland-style slaying of SunCruz Casinos owner Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.
Paul Brandreth said he was asked to kill three people allegedly involved in the slaying of Boulis for $30,000, but that he never followed through. Prosecutors say Boulis was killed in a power struggle over the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet that he had recently sold. Boulis also founded the Miami Subs restaurant chain.
Brandreth testified that he was initially asked by Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari to kill a man who'd disposed of the weapon used to kill Boulis.
"He said, 'Listen, somebody's got to disappear,' and I said, 'What for,' and he said, 'It's somebody who's at the wrong place at the wrong time and they're running their mouth and they got to go," said Brandreth, who is serving two roughly 20-year sentences in unrelated cases.
Ferrari is on trial on a murder charge accusing him of helping to orchestrate Boulis' slaying. Boulis, who had recently sold the SunCruz gambling fleet but was trying to regain control, was shot at close range by a man who pulled alongside his car on a Fort Lauderdale street.
Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, is also accused in the killing but will be tried later because of his attorney's illness. Boulis' purported hit man is now dead.
Brandreth testified that as he and Ferrari discussed a $10,000 payment for a single killing, Ferrari abruptly said, "all three for 30," indicating he also wanted Brandreth to kill another man and a woman allegedly involved in Boulis' slaying for a total of $30,000.
Among the targets was James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, Brandreth said. Fiorillo, who pleaded guilty and is testifying against his former cohorts for the prosecution, previously told jurors he got rid of the gun and car used in Boulis' killing.
The plan was for Brandreth to meet Fiorillo and pretend he was hired to bring Fiorillo cash and help him get out of town, "but I was really coming up to kill him," he testified. At the time, authorities were keeping a close watch on Fiorillo because of his involvement in Boulis' death.
Brandreth and his girlfriend flew to New York with Ferrari to meet Fiorillo at a hotel and lay the groundwork for their plan. Brandreth testified he later flew back to New York to carry out the hit and Moscatiello picked him up at the airport.
"He came up to me and shook my hand and gave me a hug and a kiss and said, 'So you're the one, kid, you're the one. Nothing but a hat trick for you, nothing but a trifecta'," Brandreth testified, again referring to an ultimate plan for three slayings.
He told Moscatiello he needed a paint brush, meaning a gun, and Moscatiello said he didn't have a handgun, but would loan him a shotgun. But that's when the plan went south.
"I didn't have a gun. They didn't pay me. I didn't have a car. It was a mess. It was a nightmare," Brandreth said.
Brandreth flew home and made arrangements to drive to New York and use his own gun. Ferrari met with Brandreth before he left and gave him $50 or $60, Brandreth said, but he complained it wasn't enough money and quit.
The defense painted Brandreth as a criminal with a lengthy rap sheet including eight felony convictions who couldn't be trusted, and was only there because the state had helped shave a few years off his sentence. Brandreth also admitted he was a frequent drug user during the time he was approached about the killings
Both Moscatiello and Ferrari have denied any involvement in Boulis' slaying.
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