It’s a story that sounds more like a screenwriter’s pitch than anything else: A grief-stricken mom goes undercover to find damning evidence to free her son, who was convicted of ordering the death of a handsome college gridiron star.
But this perfect “movie of the week” is all true and could soon be played out in a Brooklyn courtroom.
“I’ve never seen anything like this…it’s an amazing story,” attorney Lloyd Epstein said as he uses driven mother Doreen Giuliano’s story to get a new trial for her son — convicted killer John Giuca.
Bank in October 2005, Giuca, a resident of Prospect Park South, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his role in the murder of 19-year-old Mark Fisher.
Two years earlier, the promising college student was found shot five times and dumped in front of 145 Argyle Road after a night of partying with friends in Manhattan. He was allegedly dumped out of a dark-colored car, which was seen speeding down Argyle Road at the time, witnesses said.
Investigators later determined that Fisher was gunned down by Antonio Russo at the behest of Giuca, who was hosting a house party Fisher had attended.
At the trial, prosecutors charged that Giuca ordered Russo — who were both members of a gang known as the Ghetto Mafia -- to kill Fisher because the football player had sat down on a table.
The New York Times recounted that Giuca quietly cursed at the jury as he learned his fate.
Giuliano was more vocal, telling everyone in the courtroom that her son was “set up.”
“Feel good now?” she screamed at detectives as her son was carted away to prison, according to the Times.
Over the last few years, Doreen channeled that anger into decisive action.
As recounted in both the Times and a Vanity Fair piece penned by Christopher Ketchum, Giuliano split her life in two — as both a 47-year-old housewife and as a tramped up blonde 30-something bicyclist carousing with a juror in Giuca’s trial.
Her target was Bensonhurst resident Jason Allo.
After wining and dining Allo, the Red Hook native’s undercover work paid off — the 32-year-old juror told her he knew of Giuca before he was selected for the jury. He also knew of the Ghetto Mafia and had “hung out with several members.”
In court papers filed Monday, Epstein is calling to vacate the conviction and get a new trial.
“In an effort to find an unbiased jury, the court expressly asked whether anyone knew, or knew of, Mr. Giuca, Russo or other alleged members of the Ghetto Mafia,” Epstein wrote, adding that during recorded conversations with Giuliano, Allo said he “had known members of the Ghetto Mafia and knew of the group’s reputation for several years prior to trial.”
Epstein said that Allo “used to hang out with members of the Ghetto Mafia” and that his cousin “used to date a Ghetto Mafia member and told him during the trial that she knew Giuca, referred to him as ‘Slim’ and said that Mr. Giuca was a big shot in the Ghetto Mafia.”
The court motion went on to note that Allo “knew he was disobeying the court’s directive when he failed to disclose his knowledge of Mr. Giuca and the Ghetto Mafia during the trial” and that he “believed, in part based on this outside information that Mr. Giuca was guilty, that he was the first one on the jury to vote guilty during deliberations and he did so while the other jurors were still uncertain.”
When contacted by this paper, Epstein said that he filed the papers after Giuliano came to him with the startling information.
“She didn’t do anything illegal,” he said, when asked if Allo could have been entrapped. “This is a case that everyone should be concerned about. These are very serious allegations about a juror deceiving the court and deceiving the prosecutor’s office.”
“Honest and forthright jurors are the foundation of our legal system,” he said. “When they deceive the court it is a troubling prospect for all of us.”
Calls to Giuliano’s attorney for comment were not returned as this paper went to press.
A spokesman from the Kings County District Attorney’s office said Monday that they will “carefully review” Epstein’s motion.
“We will have nothing to say about this until the process is completed,” the spokesman said.
©2008 Community News Group
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