The Cuyahoga prosecutor said his witness is an FBI agent.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Those deciding today whether Ronald D. Carabbia deserves parole were to see photos of the bombing that killed Cleveland waterfront boss Daniel J. Greene.
"I want them to see how brutal it was," said William D. Mason, Cuyahoga County prosecutor.
Carabbia, 73, who has a home in Poland, has been in a state prison since November 1979, convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated arson in the death of rival mobster Greene. Greene was killed in October 1977 when a remote-controlled bomb detonated outside a dentist's office in the Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst.
Carabbia was to be released May 20 from the Chillicothe Correctional Institution and placed on parole for five years with the Adult Parole Authority on Belmont Avenue. The parole was put on hold when Mason and FBI Special Agent Joe Bushner from the bureau's Boardman office voiced opposition to members of the Ohio Parole Board, which scheduled today's hearing in Columbus.
Only witness planned
Mason said Bushner would be his only witness at this afternoon's hearing. The agent would tell the parole board that Carabbia is still tied to illegal activities such as gambling, Mason said.
To stall Carabbia's release in May, Mason wrote to the parole board May 9 to inform it that Carabbia's son, Ronald A. Carabbia, is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation in Mahoning County and surrounding counties.
"The information is that Ronald D. Carabbia is aware of this illegal activity and may have played an active role in it, even from prison," Mason said in his letter to the parole board. "Further, confidential sources have indicated that there is a legitimate concern and fear that Carabbia, if released at this time, could assume a leadership role among such criminal element in the Youngstown area."
In January, the FBI made more than 30 searches in Boardman, Struthers, Poland and Campbell as part of its probe of organized-crime gambling. Some of the locations involve the younger Carabbia.
Mason said Carabbia would not be at the hearing today. The aging organized crime figure was informed of the hearing when members of the parole board visited him in prison last month then filed a report.
Mason said Gerald Messerman, Carabbia's Cleveland lawyer, would likely point out that his client has served enough time and that Raymond W. Ferritto, Carabbia's accomplice and the prosecution's star witness, is out of prison.
Ferritto, a confessed hitman, first incriminated Pasquale Cisternino as his accomplice. Ferritto later said Carabbia helped rig the bomb and threw the switch.
Carabbia's projected release in May was based, in part, on a three-page letter Carmen M. Marino, Cuyahoga's chief prosecutor, major trial unit, wrote to the parole board Jan. 30. Marino, who prosecuted Carabbia, retired shortly after writing the letter, which he sent without Mason's knowledge.
In the letter, Marino said:
"I have no objection to the release of Ronald Carabbia at this time. He was not a major target. The victim Greene was just as bad as the defendants we tried but he provided a basis for us to pursue organized crime. Carabbia ... is completely eliminated from the criminal scene with no prospects of re-entering it. There is no criminal area for him to re-enter because there is no more organized crime in this area."
Once made aware that Carabbia still has ties to illegal activity, Marino reversed his position. "Carmen said if he'd had the information I have he wouldn't have sent the letter," Mason said.