Goodfellas Mobster Dies at 86

Vincent Asaro was accused of helping to plan the real-life 1978 Lufthansa heist
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2023 1:03 PM CDT
Goodfellas Mobster Dies at 86
Vincent Asaro leaves Brooklyn federal court Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in New York.   (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

In a memorable scene in Goodfellas, "Layla" plays as the bodies of numerous mobsters killed to cover up the 1978 Lufthansa heist are shown. But Vincent Asaro, long known for sticking to the Mafia's "code of silence," was not among them. Asaro, a close associate of heist mastermind James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, has died at age 86, decades after he survived the heist's bloody aftermath, the New York Daily News reports. He was arrested in 2014 in connection with the $6 million robbery at New York's JFK Airport. He was acquitted on charges that he helped plan the heist, the following year, despite testimony against him from his cousin.

Two years after the acquittal on charges connected to the heist and an unrelated 1969 murder, Asaro was sentenced to eight years in prison for sending mobsters to torch the car of somebody who had cut him off at a traffic light. He had a stroke in 2019 and a judge granted him early release in April 2020 due to his age and COVID-19 concerns. Asaro, a member of the Bonnano crime family who rose through the ranks after following his father into crime, was born in 1937 in Queens' Ozone Park neighborhood, the New York Post reports. His funeral will take place Friday at a Catholic church in nearby Howard Beach, just a few miles from JFK Airport. (More Mafia stories.)

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