A Gambino crime family associate was convicted of murder Tuesday for shooting his mob-tied loan shark friend twice in the back of the head at his Brooklyn home.
Anthony Pandrella, 62, was found guilty in the Oct. 26, 2018 execution-style death of 77-year-old Vincent Zito following a half-week trial in Brooklyn federal court.
The jury deliberated for just an hour and a half before convicting Pandrella on all three counts, robbery, murder and unlawful use of a firearm.
Prosecutors said the cold-blooded killer had been holding $750,000 for Zito, who asked for the money back after finding out his illegal business was under investigation by law enforcement.
But Pandrella, who had warned Zito about the probe, refused to return the cash.
He allegedly met the older man at his Sheepshead Bay home, put two bullets in the back of his head at close range and swiped his loansharking assets — as well as pricey foreign watches that Zito was holding as collateral.
Prosecutors said Pandrella attempted to cover up evidence of the slay, but his DNA was found on a gun recovered at Zito’s home.
He was also captured on surveillance footage entering and leaving Zito’s. When Pandrella later returned to his own home, his neighbor’s security cameras caught him changing his shoes and clothes and taking out the driver’s side floor mat in his car to clean it, prosecutors said.
Zito’s body was found by his 11-year-old grandson when he returned home from school, prosecutors say.
“Today’s verdict has found that the defendant is a cold-blooded killer who shot his elderly friend in his home, execution-style with a bullet in the back of the head, to avoid returning a large sum of money he was holding for the victim,” Brooklyn US Attorney Peace said in a statement. “In addition to the brutal betrayal, the defendant also robbed luxury watches from the victim’s loan business.”
Pandrella faces up to life in prison at his sentencing on Sept. 16.
His lawyers didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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