On May 23, 1992, when he landed at the Palermo airport, Judge Giovanni Falcone decided to drive the Fiat Croma with which he was traveling with his wife, the also magistrate Francesca Morvillo, and the escorts. They were returning from Rome, none of them wore seat belts. At 17 hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds, right on the detour towards Capaci, 500 kilos of trinitrotoluene dynamite (TNT) hidden under the road from Trapani to Palermo blew up the car. From the scene of the attack you can still see a white turret where someone wrote in black letters “No to the Mafia.” Right there Giovanni Brusca hid, the man who activated the detonator on the orders of Capo Salvatore Totò Riina. The perpetrator of that attack – and hundreds of other crimes – was arrested in 1996. But this Monday night he was released after serving only 25 years in prison thanks to his collaboration with the justice system.
Brusca, 64, belonging to the San Giuseppe Jato family and affiliated with the Corleonese when he became one of Totò Riina’s spoiled children, was a bloodthirsty criminal. Falcone’s murder was the most famous of all he committed. But he himself acknowledged that he had lost count of the number of crimes ordered or executed with his own hands (the justice attributes him about 150). Like that of the boy Giuseppe Di Matteo, the son of a repentant, who was kidnapped at the age of 12 and, after 25 months in captivity, was strangled and dissolved in acid.
The mobster had to have served 30 years in prison. But he has deducted 45 days for every six months spent in the cell, a benefit that applies to those convicted of belonging to the Mafia for their collaboration with the justice system. In the end it was 25 years and he avoided life imprisonment thanks to his collaboration with the justice system, which allowed the arrest of great bosses and intermediate figures of Cosa Nostra, which in the 1990s challenged the Italian State with a wave of terrorist attacks that also they beat Falcone’s second, Magistrate Paolo Borsellino.
Brusca, known as ‘The Glass (the pig, in Sicilian dialect), was not the only one to regret his generation. He was arrested on May 20, 1996. He had just turned 30 and was arrested with a brother (his father Bernardo had been sentenced years before in the maxiprocessed instructed by Falcone himself). Brusca’s confessions made it possible to open the first investigations into the alleged negotiation between the Italian State and the Mafia – he was the first to speak of the famous papello, the document where Riina wrote her conditions to stop killing. He also provided information on the still dark murder of Borsellino.
Brusca’s release has had a great impact on Italy and on the families of its victims. Maria Falcone, the magistrate’s sister, shared that pain, but explained that the law for the reduction of sentences for the repentant, which has allowed Bruca to leave before prison, is a useful tool to fight the Mafia. “It is news that hurts me, but that is the law, a law that my brother wanted and that, therefore, must be respected. I only hope that the judiciary and the forces of order will monitor him very closely to avoid the danger that he will commit a crime again, ”said Maria Falcone, herself a symbol of the fight against the criminal organization.
The former prime minister and secretary general of the Democratic Party (PD), Enrico Letta, reacted to the news of the release on Tuesday: “It takes your breath away and you wonder how it is possible,” he said. But he added: “Falcone’s sister reminds us all that the law applied today was also wanted by her brother, who has allowed so many arrests and has disrupted mafia activities, even if it is a punch to the stomach.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.