BROOKLYN (PIX11) — An admitted member of the Bloods gang testified Tuesday in a federal “murder-for-hire” trial that a “caucasian man” told another gang member over the phone that, “this needs to be done as soon as possible.”
Kalik McFarlane, 40, who made a recent government deal to cooperate, wore a yellow prison jumpsuit when he took the witness stand in the trial of Anthony Zottola, who’s accused of hiring Bloods hit men to kill his father, Sylvester, and brother, Salvatore.
Salvatore Zottola survived a July 2018 attempt on his life, but the father was executed later that year at a McDonald’s drive-thru.
McFarlane, who said he made his living selling drugs and breaking into people’s houses before his arrest, talked about getting involved in early efforts to kill Sylvester Zottola, at the behest of Bloods organizer, Bushawn Shelton.
McFarlane said he felt uncomfortable during the time he was expected to take a lead in shooting the target, telling Shelton, “The car won’t start, There’s a state trooper there,” as an example of the excuses he used when the job didn’t get done multiple times.
McFarlane said he was in a car in the spring of 2018 when Shelton, known as “Shelz,” was talking on the phone to “a Caucasian man, it sounded like he had an Italian accent.”
The witness said the white man on the phone said, “This needs to be done as soon as possible.”
McFarlane testified the man sounded “like a ‘Soprano” — a reference to the long-running HBO series about New Jersey mobsters.
Federal prosecutors said victim Sylvester Zottola, known as “Sally Daz,” was tied to jailed Bonanno crime family boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano.
They charged Anthony Zottola wanted to take over his father’s $45 million real estate empire in the Bronx.
McFarlane got arrested for a parole violation in June 2018 and happened to get out of jail on October 4, 2018, the same day Sylvester Zottola was killed at the McDonald’s on Webster Avenue, allegedly by other Bloods members.
But the FBI caught up with McFarlane on December 18, 2018, when agents found him at a girlfriend’s house in Brooklyn hiding behind a curtain.
When he was brought to a holding area, McFarlane said that’s the first time he met Himen “Ace” Ross, the man accused of fatally shooting Sylvester Zottola.
Asked to identify Ross in court Tuesday, McFarlane pointed and said, “He’s got the white shirt on with a mask hanging off his left ear.”
McFarlane said of Ross and himself, “We’re in the same gang, different set.”
Then McFarlane testified that Ross made a reference to the attempted hit on Salvatore Zottola outside the family’s expansive compound on Tierney Place in the Bronx, an incident that happened on July 11, 2018.
“He’s bragging about what he might be here for,” McFarlane testified, “and that’s the shooting when the guy started rolling on the floor.”
McFarlane admitted he originally lied to FBI agents about his role in the Zottola plot.
McFarlane said he told agents “that I was hired to scare a man but I didn’t actually do it. I minimized my whole role.”
When the prosecutor asked what he meant to do in the Bronx in April 2018, McFarlane replied, “I went up there to shoot and kill a person.”
McFarlane said prosecutors will write a letter to the judge when it’s time for him to be sentenced in the plot, explaining his cooperation, but “I don’t have an understanding of what he’s going to sentence me to.”
Defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio, who represents accused Zottola shooter Himen Ross, skewered McFarlane’s criminal background during cross-examination.
McFarlane admitted he used to beat people up and put guns in their faces, as he protected his drugs and cash. McFarlane said he mostly sold crack, marijuana, ecstasy and Molly.
McFarlane acknowledged that he gave up information to police in Brooklyn’s 77 Precinct about homicides other people allegedly committed.
He said he lied to his parole officer about using drugs.
Most graphically, McFarlane talked about slashing people in jail as a means of elevating his own status in the Bloods gang.
“I would approach the individual and cut him on the face,” McFarlane testified, “so they’d always remember me.”
McFarlane added that he never got caught for the slashings, even when he viciously cut a fellow inmate’s face open in the prison shower at Sing Sing.
“My scalpel, I already had it with me,” McFarlane said.