Racketeer Who Blinded Financier Gets 33 Years


Los Angeles racketeer Michael Anthony Rizzitello, a reputed underboss in the Milano organized crime family, was sentenced to 33 years in prison Friday for shooting and blinding an Orange County topless bar financier.

C. William Carroll, shot three times in the head while in a Costa Mesa parking garage in 1987, told Superior Court Judge John L. Flynn Jr. before the sentencing in Santa Ana, "I can't see justice done, but I can hear it. I would like to hear it today."

Prosecutors contended that Rizzitello, 62, tried to kill Carroll, 58, because he saw him as a roadblock in the racketeer's attempt to take over the now-defunct Mustang Club on Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana.

Rizzitello has a long history of racketeering-related arrests and convictions. He was one of five people convicted in Los Angeles in 1980 in a major federal organized crime case for which he received a five-year prison term. But he had also been acquitted in three major cases since then--two involving fraud charges and one involving a possible attempt to kill a government witness.

Flynn sentenced Rizzitello to 25 years to life in prison for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He then added three years for great bodily injury to Carroll, two years for use of a firearm and another three years because Rizzitello was a convicted felon with a firearm.

On Friday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher J. Evans told the court that it was "a miracle that this was not a completed execution. There's no doubt that when the Legislature set up this kind of sentence for this crime, it was with someone like (Rizzitello) in mind."

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