Carozza gets life term in murder plot 'Crowbar' Carozza objects to his conviction, will retain city pension.

April 26, 1991|By Raymond L. Sanchez | Raymond L. Sanchez,Evening Sun

Dominic J. "Crowbar" Carozza is proclaiming his innocence until the end. "That'll be my position the day I die," he told the judge.

Carozza, a longtime local crime figure and former city public works supervisor, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for his role in the murder of a heroin addict over a $2,400 debt.

Co-defendant Robert "Tattoo Bobby" Vizzini, 26, who drove the getaway car, also was sentenced to life by Baltimore Circuit Judge Hilary D. Caplan.

Carozza, 59, took jabs at Caplan -- "I told you you're God" -- and Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth A. Ritter -- "She sits there with a smirk on her face."

Although his legal problems resulted in the dismissal from his city job as a supervisor of conduit inspection at the Leadenhall Yard, Carozza is to continue to collect a city pension.

Carozza is to receive $3,664.89 annually for the rest of his life for the 12 1/2 years he spent as a city employee, a representative of the city employee retirement program said yesterday.

Carozza, who lost his right leg in a 1971 car bomb explosion, wanted a postponement to look for a new lawyer to handle his appeal. Phillip M. Sutley represented him at trial. Carozza also asked for a new trial. The judge denied both requests.

"The general consensus of everybody was that this was not a fair trial," Carozza told the judge. "The tricks that were pulled in this courtroom were unheard of in the annals of the law."

Caplan explained no one is happy about getting convicted.

"Your honor, please don't insult my intelligence with old cliches," Carozza said. "I was railroaded."

Carozza and Vizzini were convicted March 5 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and handgun violations in connection with the slaying of Russell Charles Baker, 42, a heroin addict who owed Carozza money. Baker was shot six times on Pier 7 in Fells Point.

Carozza testified that he had been sleeping off a hangover when Baker was killed.

"You're looking at an innocent man," Carozza said before sentencing. "The state bought this case. They played let's make a deal."

Vizzini, who did not testify at the trial, also said he is innocent and told the court that his girlfriend and 5-month-old child have been threatened.

Caplan sentenced Carozza to a life term on the murder count, a concurrent life term on the conspiracy count and a consecutive five-year term for the handgun violation. He will be eligible for parole in about 13 years, prosecutors said.

Vizzini received two concurrent life sentences on the murder and the conspiracy charges, and a concurrent five-year term on the handgun charge. He is to be eligible for parole in 11 years.

Baker and Marsha Hammons, 36, Carozza's girlfriend, borrowed $2,400 from Carozza to buy heroin in New York, according to trial testimony. They were supposed to sell the drugs but used the drugs themselves. They tried to convince an enraged Carozza that they had been cheated in the drug deal and could not repay him.

Alleged co-conspirator William Kenneth "Crazy" Brooks, 32, is scheduled to stand trial June 25.

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