'Crowbar' Carozza gets five years on weapons charge nTC Crime figure already serving life sentence

May 18, 1991|By M. Dion Thompson

After hearing yesterday in U.S. District Court that he would be sentenced to five years in prison for a weapons charge and threatening a witness, Dominic J. "Crowbar" Carozza had a question for Judge J. Frederick Motz.

"Your honor, if you could hang me, would you do it?" asked Carozza, who is also serving a life-and-five-year state sentence for first-degree murder.

Judge Motz didn't answer, but that didn't stop the 59-year-old Carozza, a longtime Baltimore crime figure whose encounters with the criminal justice system date back three decades, from launching yet another tirade against prosecutors, judges and witnesses.

"You're taking my life away," said Carozza, a former superintendent with the city Department of Public Works. "You're taking my time! All for what? Because a woman took the stand and lied, and they're aware of it. She's probably out there right now selling dope." The woman in question is 36-year-old Marsha Hammons, Carozza's former girlfriend and a star witness in the state and federal cases against Carozza. Earlier this year, Carozza and Robert "Tattoo Bobby" Vizzini, 26, were convicted in Baltimore Circuit Court of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and handgun charges in the slaying of Russell Charles Baker, 42, a heroin addict who allegedly owed Carozza money.

Testimony from the murder trial revealed that Mr. Baker and Ms. Hammons borrowed $2,400 from Carozza to buy heroin in New York. They were supposed to sell the drugs but instead used it themselves and tried to tell Carozza they had been cheated in the drug deal. During the investigation of Mr. Baker's murder, federal agents became involved after police found 29 .38-caliber bullets in Carozza's home in Little Italy -- a matter for federal jurisdiction because Carozza had prior convictions.

Those bullets were eventually linked to the murder, and still later in the probe, Carozza repeatedly threatened Ms. Hammons, who had testified before a city grand jury, according to Geoff Garinther, an assistant U.S. attorney.

According to Mr. Garinther, Ms. Hammons testified in federal court that Carozza tried to choke her and told her: "I'm gonna fill you so full of holes, you'll look like f------ Swiss cheese."

Ms. Hammons also testified that Carozza had boasted about giving heroin addicts a "hot shot," which involved substituting radiator fluid for heroin. Yesterday, Carozza said such allegations were "blatant lies."

"I never threatened Mrs. Hammons in any way, shape or form," he said. "I assure you your honor, before you and God, I never threatened this lady. Never did I touch her."

Nonetheless, Mr. Garinther said there is little chance Carozza will ever be a free man. Mr. Garinther also said Carozza is having some problems in state prison because of earlier, publicized statements he made that were derogatory to black detectives, federal agents and court officers.

Born on High Street in Little Italy, Carozza soon picked up his street nickname of "Crowbar," allegedly because of a preferred strong-arm tool employed in early loan-sharking endeavors, police said.

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