NEW YORK -- John Gotti made sure the job got done right when Mafia boss "Big Paul" Castellano was assassinated, driving slowly past the bullet-riddled body to make sure he was dead, Gotti's former right-hand man testified.
Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano described the 1985 hit during his second day on the stand Tuesday at Gotti's murder-racketeering trial.
Prosecutors allege Gotti orchestrated the slaying of Castellano and his bodyguard, Thomas Bilotti, outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan to seize control of the Gambino family, the nation's most powerful crime organization.
Gravano testified that he and Gotti watched through the tinted windows of Gotti's black Lincoln parked a block away as Gotti's henchmen gunned down Castellano and Bilotti. Then Gotti drove past the murder scene, Gravano said.
"I told Johnny they were gone," the mob turncoat said.
Gravano said Castellano, still in his car, was shot as Bilotti was getting out. "Tommy squatted down to look through the window ... and then somebody came up behind him and shot him. He was actually watching Paul get shot."
Then, Gravano said, he and Gotti crossed Third Avenue, slowly at first. "We pulled up. I looked at at Tommy on the floor. I told John he was gone."
Gotti was driving, and after passing the scene, he sped toward Second Avenue, turned south and drove to Gravano's construction office in Brooklyn.
Gravano was scheduled to return to the witness stand today.
Gotti, 51, the reputed boss of the Gambino family, has been acquitted three times in six years on various charges.
This time, however, prosecutors have Gravano on their side. Gotti's alleged underboss is the highest-ranking Mafia member ever to testify against him. He violated a blood-sealed oath of loyalty to the Mafia in becoming an informant.
Gotti and co-defendant Frank "Frankie Locs" Locascio, 59, could get life in prison if convicted. They are accused of murders, loansharking, labor corruption and other crimes.
A lifetime hoodlum who dropped out of school at 16, Gravano had been charged along with Gotti but cut a deal with the government under which he now faces a maximum of 20 years in jail.
His testimony in federal court in Brooklyn was interrupted briefly Tuesday when a woman screaming Gotti's name tried to enter the courtroom. The woman, Anna Carini, believes Gravano killed her two sons, who were found slain in cars parked on a Brooklyn street five years ago, said her niece, Georgette Carini.
Gravano on Tuesday described taking part in other mob killings. He admits to being in on 19 murders.
In a flat voice, Gravano said that in 1990 he was so angry with Louis DiBono, a Gambino member and a business partner, he was willing to murder him in Gotti's hangout, even though he knew FBI agents were watching the place.
"I told John, 'Get me a gun and a silencer and I'll kill Louie right here in the club,'" Gravano testified.
Gravano and DiBono, partners in the construction business, had argued for years over money and Gravano wanted him killed, he said. Several months later, Gotti approved the hit.
Gravano also described Gotti's subsequent "election" as the new Gambino crime family boss, five other killings Gotti allegedly OK'd and the plot to bribe a juror in Gotti's previous federal trial.