Mastermind of mafia’s child murder caught

The presumed mastermind of a mafia killing in which a three-year-old boy was murdered has been arrested, a year after the toddler was targeted in a drive-by shooting.

Mastermind of mafia's child murder caught
Police on Monday arrested the man believed to be behind the triple murder last year. Police photo: Shutterstock

Giovanni Di Napoli, 60, was arrested on Monday over the triple murder in Italy’s southern Puglia region, Ansa reported.

He is thought to have orchestrated the drive-by shooting on March 17th 2014, in the Palagiano area, in which toddler Domenico was killed.

The boy’s mother Carla Fornari was also murdered, along with her partner Mimmo Orlando.

The woman’s two other children, aged six and eight, reportedly survived by playing dead. The children’s biological father was murdered in 2011, Ansa said.

Di Napoli, who has in the past been convicted for mafia association and murder, is accused of ordered the family’s slaying to settle a personal dispute with Orlando.

When he was killed Orlando was being accompanied by Fornari back to prison, under the terms of a custodial sentence.

The killings shocked Italy and led to renewed debate over the mafia’s so-called “code of honour”, described as a myth in the wake of the toddler’s murder.

SEE ALSO: Child killing shows mafia 'code of conduct' is myth

The Puglia killings came just two months after another toddler was killed by the mafia in the Calabria region. The charred skeleton of Nicolino Campolongo was found in a burnt-out car along with the bodies of his grandfather, a convicted drug trafficker, and the man’s partner.

A 50 cent coin was left on the car bonnet, thought to be a symbolic move to show the value the killer put on their victims’ lives.

READ MORE: Mafia-linked killers put 50 cent price on child's life

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New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

Authorities in New York announced on Thursday the return to Italy of 14 more antiquities, worth an estimated €2.3 million, as part of an investigation into smuggling of stolen artifacts.

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been conducting an extensive investigation over the past two years into looted antiquities that have ended up in New York museums and galleries — including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During a ceremony on Thursday with the Italian consul general and Italian police representatives, 14 more artifacts – some 2,600 years old – were officially returned to Italy, bringing the total number of repatriated pieces to that country over the past seven months to 214, District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said.

READ ALSO: Italian ‘art squad’ police recover 800 illegally-excavated archaeological finds

More than 700 pieces worth more than $100 million have been returned in the past year to 17 countries, including Italy as well as Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece, the statement added.

New York, a hub of stolen antiquities trafficking for decades, set up a task force in 2017 to investigate the illicit trade.

According to the statement by District Attorney Bragg, who took office in January 2022, Thursday’s repatriation included the silver “Sicily Naxos Coin,” minted around 430 BCE and currently valued at half a million dollars.

Other notable items included ancient pottery dating to 510 BCE, and amarble head of Roman Emperor Hadrian, dating to 200 CE.

Among the culprits behind the 14 returned pieces, the statement said, were well-known art traffickers Giacomo Medici and Giovanni Franco Becchina, as well as Robert Hecht, the Paris-based American art dealer who died in 2012.

The traffickers had “relied on gangs of tombaroli (tomb raiders) to loot carefully chosen and insufficiently guarded archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean,” it added.