Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Family Secrets mob trial with Sun-Times reporter Steve Warmbir

September 2007 Archives

This is a eulogy Anthony Ortiz wrote for his father and gave to the Sun-Times.

Richard Ortiz was slain in 1983 in Cicero after he ran afoul of the mob.

On Thursday, a jury held Frank Calabrese Sr. accountable for the murder.

Here is the eulogy in full.

Dad, so many years have passed but the memories have never faded. I’m here today to finally say goodbye and that I will always love you. Although I will never forget you I must let you go. Dad I am ready to let you rest in peace and I am ready to live my life.

For 23 years I was unable to do that.

No smiles for Frank Calabrese Sr.

Before the verdict in the Family Secrets case, the mobsters put on a good face.

Frank Calabrese Sr. chatted with his attorney, Joseph R. Lopez, a skilled cook, about how to cook lobster tail.

Ever the flirt, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo flashed a wink and a smile at two female attorneys.

James Marcello gave a wave and a smile to his son, James Jr., a faithful attendee of his father's trial.

Paul Schiro showed the same poker face he did through trial and sat huddled with his attorney.

The jury found Joseph Lombardo, James Marcello and Frank Calabrese liable for a total of 10 murders.

Jurors deadlocked on the remaining eight, including one involving Paul "The Indian" Schiro.

There's been no sentencing date set.

Did all the families get justice?

Did the men get a fair trial?

What's the appropriate punishment?

Let's hear your verdict.

We've Got a Verdict

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The jury in the Family Secrets mob trial has reached a verdict on some of the 18 mob murders before them but appear deadlocked on others after eight days of deliberation, the judge in case said Thursday afternoon.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel appeared likely to take what verdicts the jury had reached a decision on and announce them publicly and then poll the jurors on the remaining counts as to whether further deliberation would do any good.

Last Friday, the jury sent the judge a note, asking if it could complete deliberations if it were unanimous on some counts but not on others, the judge revealed for the first time in court.

The judge replied that they could, but only if they had exhausted all reasonable efforts.

The jury is deliberating on which of four defendants — Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr., James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and Paul "The Indian" Schiro - are accountable for 18 previously unsolved murders.
All four men and a fifth defendant, crooked retired Chicago cop Anthony "Twan" Doyle, not accused of the murders, were previously convicted of racketeering for their roles in the Chicago Outfit.

If any of the four men are found to have committed a single Outfit murder by the jury, it will likely result in a life sentence for that defendant.

Thursday update

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The jury continues to deliberate today, while attorneys for the Chicago Tribune have asked for the judge to disclose their names after the trial.

Tribune attorneys appeared before U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Wednesday on an emergency motion to ask him to reveal the anonymous jurors' names after their render their verdict.

But the Tribune is going to have to answer several tough questions from Zagel first.

The jury wants a transcript

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The jury in the Family Secrets case will be getting a transcript of testimony involving defendant Paul "The Indian" Schiro.

The move comes after the jury sent as note to the judge Thursday afternoon regarding the matter.

The judge, in a hearing Friday morning, didn't specify which testimony the jurors wanted but said he would send it back in its entirety sometime today.

Even though it's half a country away, the Phil Spector trial became an issue briefly Thursday in the Family Secrets trial.

Spector is the famous record producer charged with killing a restaurant hostess in his home. The jury in his case earlier this week informed the judge they were unable to come to a decision, sparking a firestorm of public criticism.

So how would that affect the Family Secrets jury?

U.S. District Judge James Zagel denied a defense request to quiz jurors in the Family Secrets case after they took a week off from deliberations.

And Zagel shed some light on why they jury took that time in the first place.

What Do You Think?

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The jury in the Family Secrets case took a week off from deliberations.

They will return on Thursday.

No official reason why, but their return coincides with the judge's return from vacation.

But any federal judge could have taken their findings on the 18 murders.

The jury takes a week off

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The jury in the Family Secrets case has taken a week off.

In an unusual case that keeps on getting more and more unusual, the jury left Thursday without reaching a decision in the second phase of its deliberations.

And then decided to come back Thursday of next week.

A federal judge not only suggested on Wednesday that retired Chicago cop Anthony “Twan” Doyle lied when he took the stand in his own defense in the Family Secrets mob trial.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel also questioned Doyle’s overall judgment because he actually expected a jury would believe him.

The end is near.

But it's not over yet.

The jury will continue deliberations Wednesday, on whether four defendants committed any of the 18 murders in the indictment.

The attorney for Frank Calabrese Sr., Joseph "The Shark" Lopez, is a lawyer known in the press world as media friendly.

He's also quick with a quote, eager with a quip.

He's a flashy dresser, from the bottom of his pink socks to the top of the knot in his pink tie.

Like many folks, he enjoys the glare of the media spotlight.

And he appeared to be dying to talk Monday after the guilty verdict.

There was just one problem

As the court clerk read out one guilty verdict against him after another, Frank Calabrese Sr. hid.

His lawyer, Joseph "The Shark" Lopez, had lifted a manilla folder in front of Calabrese Sr.'s face, so the people sitting in the gallery couldn't see the look on his face as the verdict was announced.

So what was his facial expression?

Twan's shot at freedom

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Anthony "Twan" Doyle had his bond revoked after the jury found him guilty of racketeering conspiracy in the Famly Secrets case.

Federal prosecutor Mitch Mars argued that Doyle was convicted of a crime of violence.

Namely, Doyle was a juice loan collector for Frank Calabrese Sr. and discussed dealing with a snitch violently.

Doyle's attorney, Ralph Meczyk, protested, saying there was no evidence Doyle ever engaged in any violence at all.

Robert Cooley, one of the most important federal witnesses against the mob in Chicago, praised the jury's verdict on Monday in the Family Secrets case.

"It’s a good thing," Cooley said. "Just as well to get those guys off the street. These guys hadn’t been the main guys for 20 years. These guys in their days were bad guys."

Cooley was instrumental in helping the feds shred the mob's political in the 1st Ward.

And the word is...

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That's the word the jury in the Family Secrets trial wanted a dictionary for, so jurors could look up the definition.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel decided they weren't getting a dictionary, but in the end it didn't matter.

After asking for a dictionary, the jurors essentially told the judge never mind, they found a definition of the word in the indictment.

Usurious, by the way, means practicing usury, which is loaning out money at an exorbitant interest rate.

Kurt Calabrese, in his exclusive interview with the Sun-Times, recalled how he was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer when he was about 15.

His mother had taken him to the hospital after he complained of bad stomach pains.

Doctors put him through tests and were surprised that someone so young had a stomach ulcer, Kurt Calabrese recalled.

His father, reputed Outfit killer Frank Calabrese Sr., did not visit him in the hospital but talked to him when he returned home.

It's well known that Kurt Calabrese found a package meant to look like a dynamite bomb on his porch steps, on the day jury selection began in the Family Secrets case.

But it was only the latest in a series of threats that Calabrese had received over several years, apparently relating to the case.

Calabrese revealed the nature of the threats in an exclusive interview with the Sun-Times. The print version of the story, with more details, can be checked out at

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