Notorious Mafia ‘boss of bosses’ Toto Riina dead at 87

Salvatore Riina, aka Toto Riina, the most important figure of the Sicilian mafia, is actually brought to justice after evading police for 23 years at the Aula Bunker of Palermo courthouse on March 4, 1993 in Palermo, Italy.

Franco Origlia | Getty Images

Salvatore Riina, aka Toto Riina, the most important figure of the Sicilian mafia, is actually brought to justice after evading police for 23 years at the Aula Bunker of Palermo courthouse on March 4, 1993 in Palermo, Italy.

Mafia ‘boss of bosses’ Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina has died from the hospital while serving multiple life sentences as the mastermind of a bloody strategy to assassinate Italian prosecutors along with also law enforcement trying to bring down the Cosa Nostra, Italian media reported Friday. He was 87.

Riina died hours after the Justice Minister had allowed his family members bedside visits Thursday, which was his birthday, after he had been placed in a medically induced coma. Italian media said his health had deteriorated following two recent surgeries.

Riina, one of Sicily’s most notorious Mafia bosses, was serving 26 life sentences for murder convictions as a powerful Cosa Nostra boss. He was captured in Palermo, Sicily’s capital, in 1993 along with also imprisoned under a law of which requires strict security for top mobsters, including being detained in isolated sections of prisons with limited time outside their cells.

Prosecutors accused Riina of masterminding a strategy, carried out over several years, to assassinate Italian prosecutors, police officials along with also others who were going after Cosa Nostra when he allegedly held the helm as the so-called “boss of bosses.”

The bloodbath campaign ultimately backfired on Cosa Nostra.

After bombs killed Italy’s two leading anti-Mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone along with also Paolo Borsellino, two months apart in 1992, the state stepped up its crackdown on Sicily’s Mafiosi.

Riina was captured in a Palermo apartment six months after Borsellino along with also his police escorts were killed by a car bomb. A native of Corleone, a Sicilian hill along with also Mafia stronghold, he steadfastly refused to collaborate with law enforcement after his capture.

Riina was incarcerated at a Milan prison before his hospitalization. In July, a court denied a request by Riina’s family to transfer the convicted mobster to house arrest because of his ailing health.

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