Gangster Who Inspired Martin Scorsese’s ‘Goodfellas’ Released Early From Prison Over COVID-19
Bonanno family crime boss Vinny Asaro was granted COVID-19 compassionate release from prison in Springfield, Missouri, where he is serving eight years for arson related to a 2012 road rage incident. A Brooklyn judge granted the gangster’s release on the grounds that the 85-year-old was vulnerable to COVID-19 because of a stroke he had last year. Asaro was found not guilty in the 2015 trial over a 1978 heist at the Lufthansa cargo terminal at JFK Airport in New York. His infamy inspired Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas scene depicting the alleged crime in which $6 million in cash and jewels was stolen. Federal Judge Allyn Ross ruled that Asaro could die from coronavirus if he contracted it in prison. “If Asaro were to contract COVID-19, given his age and current state, it is not unlikely that the consequences would be dire,” Ross wrote in a 16-page ruling. Ross was also the presiding judge in the 2015 Lufthansa heist trial, in which Asaro escaped conviction. His current sentence stemmed from an incident in which he ordered two men, including the grandson of John Gotti, to torch the car of a person who cut him off at a traffic light.