Sometimes it doesn't pay to be the neighbor of a crime family godfather. Such was the case for John Favara, the backyard neighbor of Gambino godfather John Gotti, who lived in Howard Beach, New York. Favara was killed for accidently hitting and killing Gotti's youngest son with his car.
Favara was born on 4 March 1929 and was killed on 28 July 1980 by members of the Gambino Family. The reason for his murder was the accidental death of 12-year-old Frank Gotti, John Gotti's youngest son. Frank was on a motorized mini-bike on 18 March 1980 when he darted out into the street from behind a dumpster. Favara struck and killed him with his car on his way home from work as a service department manager for Castro Convertibles, a furniture store located in Staten Island, New York.
Police found Favara was not to blame in the incident, which officially was ruled "accidental" and no charges were ever filed against him. However, in the months after the accident, Favara fell victim himself to threats and vandalism. The word, "Murderer" was spray-painted on Favara's car - which had never been repaired - and the 106th Precinct house claims that death threats were delived by phone to the precinct and to Favara's house.
Victoria DiGiorgio Gotti, Frank's mother, was distraught by the accident and she attacked Favara with a metal baseball bat, sending him to the hospital. On May 28, Victoria Gotti attacked Favara with a metal baseball bat, sending him to the hospital. Favara did not press charges.
Favara had been a childhood friend of Anthony Zappi, whose father, Ettore, had been a capo in the Gambino Family.Favara's adopted son, Scott, was a friend to the Gotti children and spent nights at the Gotti house. Despite this closeness, Favara went to Anthony Zappi for advice on how to handle the threats. Zappi told Favara to move out of the neighborhood and get rid of his automobile, because Victoria became enraged every time she saw it. So, although Favara could not believe the Gotti family could not accept that Frank's death was accidental, he took Zappi's advice and put his home up for sale.
Three days before he was to close on the sale of the house, Favara was abducted as he left his work. Several people witnessed the abduction, where Favara was clubbed over the head and thrown into a van. He and his car were never seen again.
Accounts differed on what happened to Favara's body, and rumors led the FBI to excavate a mafia graveyard in 2004. While bodies were found, Favara's was not among them. Favara's wife and two sons moved out of Howard Beach, having John declared legally dead in 1983.
When questioned by two detectives on Favara's dissappearance, John Gotti said: "'I'm not sorry the guy's missing. I wouldn't be sorry if the guy turned up dead." Gotti's wife, Victoria, said, "I don't know what happened to him, but I'm not disappointed he's missing. He killed my boy."
As of January 2009, it was discovered that Favara's corpse was dissolved in a barrel of acid. Favara's fate was disclosed in court papers filed on 6 January in a court case involving racketeering with reputed Gambino 'soldier,' Charles (Charlie Canig) Carneglia. Carneglia told a Gambino family associate who turned into a government witness, that he disposed of the body by putting it in a barrel of acid.
Federal agents now believe that the barrel containing Favara's remains was tossed into the ocean.
Image: FBI agents and police officers dug for the remains of at least four mob murder victims killed between late 1978 and May 1981 in a lot at Dumont Avenue and Ruby Street at the Queens/Brooklyn border (Newsday Photo/Alan Raia / October 5, 2004). See more images at Newsday.com.