BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Ralph Dols, Sr. thought he was done talking about the way his son, a young police officer, was murdered. PIX 11 could see the pain in his face, when we turned up outside his home in Brooklyn.
Sixteen years ago, on August 25, 1997, Ralph Dols, Jr. was returning home from work as a housing cop, when three gunmen approached his Chevy Caprice, outside his Sheepshead Bay apartment.
Before he could finish saying, “What’s up,” seven bullets were being fired at him.
The 28 year old officer managed to stumble into his apartment, mortally wounded. His wife, Kim, told PIX 11 at the time, “I got to call out his name. He looked at me. Responded. I told him I loved him, and his daughter loved him.”
Dols’ baby daughter, Gabrielle, was not even three months old in 1997. She is now 16 years old, and only now is the trial set to begin for the man who was ultimately accused of ordering the hit on Ralph Dols. His name is Joel Cacace, and he’s a convicted boss in the Colombo crime family. He used to be married to Dols’ wife, Kim—before her wedding to the police officer. Cacace has pleaded not guilt in the murder of Dols.
“An organized crime hit on a police officer is very rare,” said retired NYPD Sergeant, Louis Savelli, who responded to the crime scene in August 1997. “It’s very bad for business.”
When Dols was first killed, detectives and the FBI examined Kim Kennaugh Dols’ background. Two of her previous husbands, before Dols, had mob connections. In 1987, one of them, Enrico Carrini, was whacked in a gangland style shooting in Brooklyn. Kim Kennaugh later married Joel Cacace, and they then divorced.
Kennaugh had met Dols at the gym, and the officer’s interest in fitness played a role in the investigation. Detectives traveled to California and even overseas to see if there was any connection to the steroids business. They found nothing.
Then, eleven years after the shooting, federal prosecutors in 2008 secured the cooperation of Colombo crime family members, who claimed a capo named Thomas Gioeli had delivered orders to kill Dols, as he arrived home from work. Two of the cooperating witnesses testified they were on the “hit” team. John Marzulli of the Daily News covered the first trial last year and noted, “They didn’t know why they were killing this person, and they didn’t know that he was a cop when they killed him. They were given his license plate number and given his description.”
Thomas Gioeli and one of the hit men on trial were found “not guilty” of murdering Officer Dols, a verdict that was devastating to his still-grieving parents.
When PIX 11 found Ralph Dols, Sr. sitting in his family car recently, sixteen years after we first interviewed him, his continuing pain was very evident. When asked about it, he responded, “It stays. It stays.” When asked about the upcoming trial against Cacace, he said, “I just don’t want nothing to do with it.”