Mobster behind botched 1992 hit of innocent Brooklyn mom released because of coronavirus, says he wants to teach yoga

Lucchese gangster Michael Spinelli.
Lucchese gangster Michael Spinelli.(Handout)

This made man is a changed man.
Lucchese gangster Michael Spinelli, who masterminded the attempted murder of an innocent woman in 1992, was released from prison Tuesday due to coronavirus concerns, saying he’s a different person from his old mob days and even wants to be a yoga instructor.
Spinelli, aka Baldy Mike, was tasked in March 1992 by Lucchese bosses with rubbing out Patricia Capozzalo, a Brooklyn mother of three whose only crime was being the sister of a capo-turned-cooperator, 435-pound Peter “Big Pete” Chiodo. The attempted murder broke mafia code of not targeting innocent family members of mobsters.
Spinelli stalked Capozzalo for weeks before the attempted hit took place. On the morning of March 10, 1992, a masked triggerman driven by Spinelli shot Capozzalo three times while she tried to duck under the steering wheel of her 1985 Oldsmobile parked outside her Gravesend home. She had just dropped her kids off at school.
She was hit in the neck, behind the ear, and in the back. After the shooters drove off, Capozzalo ran into the house, called for help and was taken to the hospital.
She testified at Spinelli’s trial six years later.
Daily News front page from March 11, 1992 showing Patricia Capozzalo and her car after mob shooting.
Daily News front page from March 11, 1992 showing Patricia Capozzalo and her car after mob shooting.(New York Daily News)
Capozzalo was targeted because Big Pete was set to testify at the trial of Vittorio Amuso, then boss of the Lucchese crime family.
But Spinelli’s lawyers say that 28 years of hard time forced the made man to take a hard look at himself — and that he’s no longer a murderous mafioso.
“Today, he is ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ of who he was. He is full of remorse. Back then he was part of a culture of violence. Today, he is a calm, positive influence on those around him. He works daily to repent for his actions, and tries to help other incarcerated people find peace,” wrote attorney Allegra Glashausser in Spinelli’s application for release.
“He dreams of ‘build[ing] a peaceful life as an old man,’ and trying to ‘help people’ with the ‘few years [he] has left,’ by teaching yoga and spending time with his family,” Glashausser wrote.

Spinelli, 66, also has a host of medical conditions that make him particularly vulnerable if he were to catch COVID-19 at Manhattan’s federal jail, where he was being held, his lawyers said.

The ex-mobster still has nine years left on his sentence and wasn’t supposed to be released until 2029.

The feds strenuously opposed springing him.

“Spinelli agreed to murder an innocent civilian for his own selfish gain and advancement within the Lucchese family. He did so with the clear intent of intimidating one government witness from testifying against the mob and sending a message to other would-be cooperators: cooperators and their families will never be safe," they wrote in court papers.

A judge ordered Spinelli released into his sister’s custody on $250,000 bail pending his resentencing in the case.

He is being held in home confinement and is barred from seeing anyone involved with organized crime.

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