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Category Archives: Criminal Sentencing and Punishment

Joseph Watts, a longtime associate of the Gambino crime family, was convicted of putting together a hit squad to take out a mob-connected trash hauler in 1989.
A trusted pal of the late mob boss John Gotti was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison for his role in a 21-year-old Mafia murder.Joseph (The  German) Watts  a longtime associate of the Gambino crime family, is 69 and will be 82 if he lives long enough to get out.”The statistical probability of surviving this sentence is not great,” said Watts’ attorney Gerald Shargel to Manhattan Federal Judge Colleen McMahon.”Mortality tables are mortality tables,” McMahon said to Watts. “I’m betting you may walk out of jail.”

In 1989, Watts put together a hit team to kill Fred Weiss, a mobbed-up trash hauler and former Staten Island Advance city editor that Gotti suspected was an informant.

The team dug a grave for Weiss and Watts waited with gun in hand inside the garage of a Staten Island home where Weiss was supposed to show up.

Weiss failed to show and was killed the next day by another mob family acting at Gotti’s behest. One of the  shooters  was  Vincent “Vinny Ocean” Palermo of the New Jersey  Decavalcante crime family who later became a Mob rat

In January, Watts pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the Weiss killing.

He also pleaded guilty to slapping around a stock whiz he’d met while in prison in 2001 serving a sentence for money laundering.

Watts gave the man $450,000 to invest. The investment went sour and Watts eventually got some of his money back.

Several mob informants have identified Watts as a back-up gunman in the legendary 1985 rubout of Gambino crime boss Paul Castellano in front of Sparks steakhouse. Gotti orchestrated the hit to seize control of the family.

After handing down her sentence, McMahon asked Watts if he had anything to say. When he replied no, the judge said, “I thought so.”

As marshals escorted him from the courtroom, Watts winked at his daughter who was seated with a friend.