Anthony Zottola Sr. was issued a life sentence in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on Friday, after being convicted of arranging the murder of his father, Sylvester Zottola from a family-run real estate business fueled by mob money. The trial sent ripples of grief and confusion through the courtroom as Anthony’s sister and brother addressed the court in disbelief.
The saga of the Zottola family crime began in September of 2017 and unfolded over a 16-month span, ending in the October 2018 murder of Sylvester by hitman Justin Charles Ross. Before his death, Sylvester was involved in a series of what authorities believe were attempts on his life at the hands of a paid assailant.
Before his death in the drive-thru Sylvester was punched in the face in November 2017; shot at as he drove on the freeway; then targeted again in his Bronx home in late December of the same year with a gun, which was used to shoot him, he was stabbed, and they sliced his throat. Miraculously, he survived.
Anthony harnessed a fatal ambition to procure control of the family’s lucrative real estate business from his father, prosecutors stated. Trying to draw out this fatal plan to its logical conclusion, according to prosecutors, Anthony had also attempted to have his brother, Salvatore, murdered. In July 2018, a gunman shot him in the head, chest and hand outside of his residence.
Grief-ridden and standing before his brother in the courtroom, Salvatore qualmed, “Why? Dad gave you everything. You had everything in life.”
The judge also tried to deduce what might have driven this tragedy, but ultimately concluded that it boiled down to avarice, saying, “It all comes back to greed and financial gain.” With mandatory life sentences awarded to both Ross and Anthony, additional sentences to those involved – ranging from sixteen to twenty years – serves as another reminder of the severity of this heinous crime.