BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A federal jury began deliberations Friday afternoon in the Bronx “murder-for-hire” case involving an alleged gang shooting at the McDonald’s drive-thru on Webster Avenue.
Anthony Zottola Sr. is accused of hiring members of the Bloods gang to kill his father, Sylvester — a reputed associate of the Bonanno organized crime family — and to also murder his brother Salvatore. Only Salvatore Zottola survived the plot that was more than a year in the making.
Judge Hector Gonzalez finished instructing the jury on elements of the law at 4:30 p.m. and the panel of seven men and five women left court to begin deliberations.
The judge had discussed the definition of conspiracy, along with the elements of Count One in the indictment.
“A conspiracy is an unlawful agreement between one or more people,” the judge explained, “to commit a criminal act — in this case, a murder for hire.”
Prosecutors presented hundreds of exhibits in the month-long trial, including alleged text messages between Anthony Zottola, Sr. and Bloods leader, Bushawn “Shelz” Shelton.
They charge Anthony Zottola, now 44, gave up to $200,000 in cash and housing renovations to Shelton to get the murder plots against his father and brother completed.
Salvatore Zottola survived multiple gunshot wounds on July 11, 2018, outside the family’s expansive, waterfront estate in Locust Point, the Bronx.
His father, Sylvester — 71 — survived a stabbing and assault in December 2017, along with other attempts on his life, before he was killed at the McDonald’s drive-thru on Oct. 4, 2018.
Prosecutors showed a cell phone picture at trial of water bottles in a box, with thousands of dollars in cash stuffed between them. They said the payment was delivered to Shelton the day after Sylvester Zottola was killed.
Salvatore Zottola testified against his brother at trial.
The prosecution also used a couple of Bloods defendants on the stand who had made deals with the government to cooperate. Defense attorneys skewered them during cross examination.
Anthony Zottola’s wife testified this week that her husband genuinely grieved his father’s death.
Anthony Zottola, Sr. was arrested by the FBI on June 17, 2019, right after Father’s Day. He thanked the agents for waiting until the holiday was over — and for waiting until after his children’s birthdays.
Zottola’s co-defendant, Himen Ross, is an alleged Bloods member accused of shooting Sylvester Zottola.
Alfred Lopez is the accused getaway driver.