Carozza guilty on U.S. charges

January 11, 1991|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff

Dominic J. "Crowbar" Carozza, a suspended city public works superintendent and longtime criminal figure, has been found guilty in federal court on charges of illegally possessing ammunition and witness tampering.

Carozza, 59, is being held without bail at the City Jail on state charges that he and two other men shot and killed Russell Baker, 42, on June 22 on a Fells Point street.

A federal jury yesterday found Carozza guilty and he faces up to 10 years in prison, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Garinther.

Carozza was charged with being a felon in possession of 29 .38-caliber bullets found during a raid at his home in Little Italy and tampering with a federal grand jury witness -- his 36-year-old girlfriend -- who remains in protective custody.

The federal charges were linked to the slaying of Baker.

Police said Baker was killed after he and a woman returned to Baltimore from a trip to New York City, where they allegedly had spent several thousand dollars of Carozza's money to purchase a sizable amount of cocaine.

According to sources, Carozza -- who lost his right leg in a car-bomb explosion in 1971 -- became angry when the two failed to return his money. The alleged cocaine purchase was not made on Carozza's behalf, the sources said.

The other suspects in the killing are Robert Vizzini, 26, of the 200 block of Dorell Road in Essex, and John Long, 40, of the 1300 block of McHenry St.

Carozza's trial date on the murder charge is Feb. 25. He was suspended from his city job in October 1990.

Carozza's criminal history spans three decades and it is punctuated by the car bombing and numerous convictions and allegations linking him to shootings, stabbings and federal firearms offenses.

The car bomb exploded in the 4700 block of Shamrock Ave. and also wounded three other people.

A plumbers union figure was eventually arrested and charged with putting a dynamite charge in Carozza's red Cadillac but he was acquitted after Carozza refused to testify against the suspect. Carozza cited intimidation as his reason for not testifying.

The bombing followed a meeting between Carozza and a Philadelphia crime figure in a Perring Parkway lounge, according to a source.

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