We don't know which is more distressing, that gangster Ronald Carabbia is going to be released from the Chillicothe Correctional Institution on parole or that his release is attributable, in good part, to a testimonial provided by a turncoat prosecutor.
We do know that in the interest of justice, Ronald "The Crab" Carabbia should have shared the fate of New York mob boss John Gotti, who sucked his last breath within the confines of a prison's walls.
Carabbia was sentenced to life in prison, and a life sentence is what he should have served.
There was a day, about 23 years ago, when a younger and presumably hungrier Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor, Carmen M. Marino, was perfectly willing to prosecute Carabbia for murder and see him sentenced to life.
That was then, this is now. Marino retired earlier this year, shortly after writing a letter on Carabbia's behalf (without the county prosecutor's knowledge) to the Ohio Parole Authority.
In his letter, the now compassionate prosecutor, said he had no objection to Carabbia's release and volunteered that Carabbia hadn't been a major target. Besides, the guy Carabbia blew up was just as bad as he was. And finally, "There is no criminal arena for him to re-enter because there is no more organized crime in this area."
Hook. line and sinker
And the parole board actually gave credence to that load of trash, by a vote of 7 to 2. The majority ought to be ashamed.
Whether Carabbia was a major target of the investigation into organized crime or not, has no bearing on Carabbia's guilt or innocence. Whether Carabbia's victim, Cleveland mobster Daniel Greene, was any bigger or smaller a hoodlum than Carabbia makes Greene no less dead. The bomb Carabbia planted still blew Greene to bits, scattering body parts over a Cleveland parking lot.
Finally, there is no more organized crime? How many times have we heard that before?
Marino may choose to tell himself that about Cleveland, and maybe he even believes it. Some folk in Cleveland have always liked to tell themselves there was no organized crime in their shining city and to look down their noses at Youngstown in the bargain. All the while it was members of the Cleveland mob who were killing and being killed by Pittsburgh-linked mobsters in on-going attempts to control the rackets in the Mahoning Valley.
If Marino believes there's no more organized crime in Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office is well rid of him.
But regardless of the situation in Cleveland, Carabbia isn't going there (would that he were, preferably to a house on Marino's street). Carabbia is coming home to the Mahoning Valley.
And FBI agents told the parole board that Carabbia family members are still active in gambling here, and that there are indications Carabbia has managed to direct his family's operations even from prison.
That was dismissed as speculation by a parole board that put great stock in Marino's version of Cleveland as the land that the mob has forgotten.
A model of dysfunction
The parole board is a pathetic arm of the state's justice system.
If its members think that "model prisoner" Ronald Carabbia has been transformed into a model citizen, they are either naive or stupid.
Carabbia has a record stretching over nearly 45 years. He was being questioned about bombings in the Youngstown area in the late 1950s and was an organized crime figure here until the day he was arrested for Greene's murder.
Now, thanks to a parole board that gave more weight to a retired prosecutor than to the FBI agents who remain on the front lines in the fight against crime, Carabbia will be free to be exactly what he is, an aging mobster, but a mobster nonetheless.