‘A pretty good lesson on political correctness’: Mafia hitman’s parole yanked over social media posts

This July, he sent his former correctional officer a social media message that was taken as an ominous threat. He was arrested and returned to prison

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A former Mafia hit man in Canada who killed three people on the orders of underworld bosses has had his parole revoked for making threatening comments on social media.

“I got a pretty good lesson on political correctness,” Kenneth Murdock said when apologizing for his angry, booze-fuelled social media posts, one of which was aimed at a prison worker.

Murdock, 54, is serving a life sentence for three second-degree murders, extortion and conspiring to commit an indictable offense. In July he was returned to prison after two untoward posts on social media that he says were taken the wrong way.

He appeared before the parole board last week via a video link from prison to plead for release.

I got a pretty good lesson on political correctness

(Murdock legally changed his name in 2012 when he reintegrated from prison in Western Canada. Because he is a co-operating witness who testified against reputed Mafia bosses and is apparently progressing towards rehabilitation, the National Post is not publishing his new name.)

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The board also heard from a victim, through a letter, and read a letter of support from his employer.

Kenneth Murdock
Kenneth Murdock Photo by Adrian Humphreys Archive

Murdock was raised as a street tough in Hamilton, Ont., fast to fight and quick to win. His brawling talents and fearless nature were spotted and cultivated by the Musitano crime family, one of the city’s traditional Mafia clans. He served as a loyal and dedicated henchman who was willing to do anything for the family.

Once asked if he would kill someone for $1,000, Murdock replied: “If it was for the family, I would have done it for nothing.”

In 1985 he did his first mob hit, clattering a submachine gun into the garage where a 53-year-old factory janitor was working, targeted because he owed the family money and showed no sign of paying.

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In 1997, Murdock took on a more challenging target. He boldly knocked on the Hamilton headquarters of John “Johnny Pops” Papalia, the long-reigning Mafia boss of Ontario who was a Musitano family rival. As they talked in the parking lot, Murdock pressed a .38-calibre revolver to the back of Papalia’s head and shot him dead.

Two months later, he was asked to kill Carmen Barillaro, a loyal lieutenant of Papalia’s in Niagara Falls who was looking to avenge his boss. Murdock knocked on Barillaro’s front door and shot him dead when he opened it.

Loyalty, however, has its limits.

When the mobsters Murdock says he was working for threatened to kill him — to “make me part of the compost,” he once told the Post — he became a co-operating witness. He testified that Pasquale (Pat) Musitano and his younger brother, Angelo Musitano, were behind his two most recent killings.

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After serving 13 years of his life sentence, he was released on full parole.

Pat Musitano
Pat Musitano Photo by File

In 2010 his parole was revoked for drug use. He admitted he fell back into using cocaine and a year later he was released again.

He did well — maintaining a job, behaving appropriately, making friends and attending counseling — and was granted full parole in 2015. His motivation level and reintegration potential were rated high.

Then he got involved on social media.

In September 2016, he made a threatening statement in a social media post, but quickly retracted it, the parole board said.

Then, this July, he sent his former correctional officer a social media message that was taken as an ominous threat. He was arrested and returned to prison, resuming his life sentence until getting another shot at release.

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I took a good swipe at his dignity

Murdock did not intend the remark to be taken seriously as a threat, he said. He meant it to be a teasing comment and expected the officer to reply with a sarcastic retort, he told the parole board.

He said he thought he had a connection with the corrections officer and trusted him; he felt under pressure and wanted to chat to him and, while drinking, sent the message as a sort of icebreaker.

He now recognizes the message was inappropriate. “I took a good swipe at his dignity,” he told the parole board.

His apology was accepted. The board agreed there was no “malice or criminal intent” in his posts.

Given another chance, Murdock was ordered to stay off the booze and to reside at a specific place approved by the Correctional Service of Canada for six months.

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  1. Hamilton Police Service

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He is still under previous parole conditions to not have any contact with any of his victims’ family members, not to associate with anyone involved in criminal activity including organized crime associates, and not to consume, purchase or possess drugs other than what is prescribed for him.

His parole revocation had serious ramifications: while in prison he lost his home and his job and his belongings were scattered among his friends.

• Email: ahumphreys@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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