N.Y. killing may have been burglary revenge

Indictment says man stole from crime boss' daughter

October 17, 1999|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

NEW YORK -- On a September afternoon more than eight years ago, Vincent Bickelman was found dead, shot six times while on the lawn in front of his Bath Beach home, in what police described at the time as a mysterious killing.

But law enforcement officials said yesterday they believe that Bickelman made a fatal mistake a month earlier when he burglarized the Brooklyn home of Jill Spero, the daughter of a man the authorities say later became the leader of the Bonanno crime family.

On Friday, her father, Anthony Spero, 70, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the killing of Bickelman, who the police believe had taken jewelry and other valuables from Jill Spero's home.

The federal indictment of Anthony Spero, two other alleged members of the Bonanno crime family and 12 other people accused of being associates of the organization, was announced on Friday by Loretta E. Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn.

The indictment and another filed in May charged that members and associates of the crime family, which operated primarily in the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst sections of Brooklyn, had orchestrated dozens of robberies, arsons, murders and other crimes.

Last week's indictment also charged two men, James Calandra and Thomas Reynolds, in the 1993 killing of Judith Shemtov, 46, of Staten Island.

At the time, detectives said they had no suspects and knew of no motive in the slaying of Shemtov. Calandra, 29, and Reynolds, 69, were charged in the federal indictment last week with shooting Shemtov in a foiled robbery attempt.

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