June 25, 2020 — A little luck of the Irish wouldn’t hurt right about now for a Windy City mafia power hoping for a break and a possible re-sentencing on the horizon. Former Chicago mob boss James (Jimmy the Man) Marcello, half Irish on his mother’s side, has filed an appeal of his federal racketeering and murder conviction in the landmark Operation Family Secrets case on the grounds that his sentence was overly punitive, citing a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year. In the high court’s 2019 “Davis ruling,” sentences increased for criminal activity committed with a gun have been determined to be unconstitutionally vague.
The 76-year old Marcello was the Outfit’s street boss in the early 2000s. In 2007, he was found guilty of driving Las Vegas crew boss Tony (The Ant) Spilotro and his little brother Mickey, to a Bensenville residence on June 14, 1986 where they were beaten and strangled to death in the basement for Tony’s flagrant and subversive behavior in the desert.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced Marcello, a career criminal out of the Chicago mob’s Cicero regime, to life in prison. He’s doing his time in the Florence, Colorado Supermax facility for the nation’s most powerful and dangerous felons.
Marcello came up through the Outfit as a driver for Chicago mob boss Sam (Wings) Carlisi. Marcello’s dad was slain Cicero crew collector Sam (Sammy Eyes) Marcello, murdered in 1973 by small-time,Outfit-connected crook Sam (Sammy Paper) Rantis, who himself would pop up dead weeks later. Rantis didn’t have Marcello’s tribute one day close to Christmas and killed Marcello and his bodyguard when they came to collect.
FBI informants claim a young Jimmy Marcello, then known as “Little Jimmy” or “Jimmy Light,” made his bones on the Sammy Paper hit. Marcello was inducted into the Chicago mob in a 1983 ceremony, per court records.
He was busted with Carlisi in the 1990s in a federal racketeering case and did a decade in the can before emerging from a Milan, Michigan prison cell in 2003 and ascending directly to the throne, being named acting boss of the Outfit. His reign on top of the Chicago underworld was short lived and he was swept up as a lead defendant in the groundbreaking Family Secrets indictment that dropped in the spring of 2005.
Jimmy the Man’s not-so-little brother Michael (Big Mickey) Marcello was nailed in the Family Secrets case and did prison time as well. Big Mickey Marcello, 70, was arrested for social security fraud late last year and is currently awaiting trial.
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