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Costabile Farace (Costabile Farace Jr.; commonly known as Gus Farace) (June 21, 1960-November 17, 1989) was a low-level Mafia "wiseguy," or associate, who made national headlines in 1989 after he became a fugitive suspected in the murder of a federal Drug Enforcement Agency officer on Staten Island, New York.
Born in Brooklyn, Farace was brought to Staten Island in 1965, when his father, Costabile "Gus" Farace Sr. (1935-1987), opened a small grocery store in the island's Great Kills neighborhood (the store closed in 1983).
In the early morning hours of October 8, 1979, Farace and three companions (Robert DeLicio, David Spoto and Mark Granato, the latter Farace's cousin) were reportedly propositioned by two male "hustlers," or homosexual prostitutes, while walking along a street in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. Enraged by this solicitation, Farace and his friends proceeded to abduct the duo and force them into their car, which was parked nearby, and drove them to Wolfe's Pond Park in the Prince's Bay section of Staten Island (where both Farace and Granato resided at the time), whereupon the quartet spent the next several hours punching, kicking and beating their victims with driftwood found at the scene, leaving them for dead. In fact only one of them, 17-year-old Steven Charles of Newark, New Jersey, was wounded fatally; the other, 16-year-old Thomas Moore of Brooklyn, critically injured but still alive, sought help at a nearby residence, and police were notified. All four suspects were taken into custody on the same day — December 10, 1979 — and Moore identified all four in a lineup four days later. Farace ultimately pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter and received a prison sentence of 7 to 21 years.
Farace was paroled on June 3, 1988, and began selling cocaine and marijuana for a drug ring believed to be controlled by Gerald Chilli, a reputed capo in New York City's Bonanno Mafia family. In late February of the following year a cocaine deal was set up with a DEA agent, Everett Hatcher, who had managed to infiltrate the ring. At approximately 10:00 P.M. on the evening of February 28, 1989, Farace was to meet Hatcher at a remote overpass of the West Shore Expressway in the Pleasant Plains section of Staten Island to complete the deal, but instead, it is alleged, Farace shot Hatcher three times from a passing van as Hatcher's car was parked on the overpass, causing his death. The van used in the slaying was found three days later, parked on a street about two miles northeast of the murder scene, which, ironically, is situated less than half a mile from the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, where Farace had spent the last two years of his incarceration.
Hatcher's death was the first murder of a DEA agent in New York City since 1972, and is believed to be the first time ever that a law-enforcement officer was killed in the line of duty on Staten Island, irrespective of the agency the officer worked for.
A nationwide manhunt commenced, with Farace being placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted list (in an interesting sidelight, newspaper reports immediately following the slaying misspelled his first name, rendering it as "Constible" — an error that would be repeated in a 1991 television movie made about the case, , which starred Tony Danza as Farace; in the film, the actors continually pronounced the first name "Kon-STEE-blay") and at the same time both federal and local law-enforcement authorities went out of their way to harass Farace's supposed mob superiors, hoping that this would lead them to Farace faster. Against this backdrop, on August 15, 1989, Farace's wife, the former Antoinette Acierno, gave birth to the couple's first child, originally christened Anthony Gus Farace but whose name was legally changed by his mother to Anthony Carlo Acierno effective April 15, 1993. Police hoped Farace would attempt to visit the infant, but this did not happen.
However, at 11:08 P.M. on the night of November 17, a 911 call came in about a car parked in front of 1814 81st Street in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn containing two male occupants, who had just been the victims of an apparent shooting. Police rushed to the scene, and indeed found two such occupants, one dead, the other seriously wounded; the dead man was then identified as being Farace, who was in the front passenger's seat, shot nine times from a moving van that drove alongside the car, according to witnesses in the neighborhood, thus echoing the method by which Hatcher had been killed. A few years later, a reputed Mafia "hit man," or hired assassin, with ties to the Lucchese crime family who was in jail while awaiting trial on unrelated charges, confessed to the killing and also implicated two others, one of whom was by that time deceased, himself the victim of a Mafia-style execution.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York refused to grant Farace a public funeral Mass, citing the notorious circumstances surrounding his life and death, but did permit his remains to be buried in the church-owned Cemetery of the Resurrection, located in the same Staten Island neighborhood (Pleasant Plains) where the murder of Everett Hatcher took place.
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