Slaughter on 46th Street

A Mafia boss is brazenly gunned down in New York

To outward appearances, he was a successful meat salesman and a quiet, grandfatherly type. Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family and reputed kingpin of organized crime in America, wanted it that way: he was determined to change the image of the Mafia from violent crime syndicate to respectable family business. "We are in a new era," he once told his fellow mob chiefs. "Legitimacy, not muscle, is what we should project."

They chose not to take his advice.

At 5:26 one evening last week, on a midtown Manhattan block brimming with Christmas shoppers and commuters, Castellano, 70, and his...

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