Sometimes you just can’t make up stuff like this.
James “Jamo” Lynch looked like he came out of central casting. He had a weathered, alcoholic face with a smashed nose, the kind of look a movie producer might want to play an enforcer for a loanshark.Well, Lynch – who has a lengthy criminal record – was one.
Yesterday, he was testifying for the government in exchange for the $34,000 medical bill it cost to detox the recovering alcoholic, among other expenses.
He was a substitute witness, taken out of turn, after the brother of mob hit man-turned-informant John Veasey was murdered in a gangland shooting on Thursday. The grief-stricken Veasey is expected to testify next week.
Authorities believed the South Philadelphia hit of William “Billy” Veasey, 35, was an attempt to prevent mob turncoats from testifying against crime boss John Stanfa and seven co-defendants.
Lynch was not afraid. He was looking for a new life, a new name and a new location to live. So he was testifying about how mob underboss Frank Martines, 41, mob capo Vincent “Al Pajamas” Pagano, 65, and soldier Gaeton ”Horsehead” Scafidi were setting him up in the debt collection business.
He was supposed to collect the tribute or “street tax” for the Stanfa organization, keeping 50 percent for himself and passing the rest up the chain of command, according to testimony.
Then it came time for Martines’ lawyer, Brian McMonagle, to cross-examine the witness in an attempt to discredit him.
McMonagle, who has a somewhat flamboyant style, asked about the lady with the toy poodle in Florida. Lynch’s deadpan face registered surprise.
Well, Lynch admitted that the Miami woman had borrowed too much money and wasn’t making regular payments. So he had to teach her a lesson.
Remember the scene in the movie “The Godfather” where the horse’s head is discovered in the bed?
Well, Lynch severed the head of the lady’s toy poodle and put it in her refrigerator, he told the startled courtroom.
“Can you imagine reaching for the chicken cutlets, roast turkey and getting Shu-Shu?” asked McMonagle in the hallway of the U.S. District Court later.
McMonagle didn’t know the dog’s name, age, or color of hair. “I only know it’s headless,” he said. He learned the lady paid her debt.
The incident occurred in the 1970s, sometime after “The Godfather” was released in 1972. It had nothing to do with evidence in the racketeering trial, but the court was abuzz with the story of the severed head of the poodle.
“What that man did to that animal,” said one court watcher. “That upset me terrible.”
“My mother would be really upset,” said attorney Catherine Reckor. ”She’s got three poodles.”