Shamrock Bar killings key factor in Mafia arrests
Queens Irish bar was scene of 1981 mafia hits
The arrests of 127 suspected Mafia leaders throughout the New York and Tri State area has once again focused attention on one of the most notorious killings by the mafia of the last 30 years which is mentioned prominently in the indictments.
That was the Shamrock Bar killings in Queens when Irish American owner Richard Godkin and co-owner John D’Agnese were shot dead.
D'Agnese died from a single gunshot to the face and Godkin died from a point-blank gunshot to his chest.
A witness to the crime was Linda Gotti, niece of the infamous Don and girlfriend of D’Agnese . She later recanted her evidence on the stand.
A court affidvait at the time gives the flavor of what happened.
“April 11 1981 It is "Western" night at the Shamrock Bar, a bar located in Richmond Hill, Queens at 86-09 Jamaica Avenue.
It is late, perhaps 2:30 a.m., and a man and a woman are seated together at the bar. A third individual, a young man, will accidentally spill his drink upon the dress of the first man's date.
This ill-timed act induces a heated response from the first man, an individual who is now known to have been Frank Riccardi. The bartender's attempts at peacemaker are to no avail. Riccardi is hot and the intervention of John D'Agnese, one of the co-owners of the saloon, only raises his ire.
D'Agnese is left with no recourse but to "86" the unruly patron. Riccardi and his date comply with the owner's command to leave, but before he exits Riccardi threatens: "I will be back!"
Unfortunately, Riccardi is true to his word, and some 20 minutes later he, and two other men, push their way into the crowded bar seeking vengeance. Violence has arrived and death will soon follow.
Shoving D'Agnese against a pinball-type bowling game, Riccardi and one of his two accomplices are engaged in roughing the owner up when a gun shot rings out. John D'Agnese has been fatally shot and his friend and co-owner, Richard Godkin, is seen running across the room to offer his assistance.
He is apparently unaware of Riccardi's second accomplice, standing armed and silent along the wall. The gunman is quick to react and the act is repeated. Richard Godkin has also been shot and, he too, will expire that morning.
The bloodletting at the Shamrock Bar was on April 11, 1981. The defendant was not arrested until on or about November 23, 1998. His arrest, subsequent to his November 19, 1998 indictment by the Grand Jury and pursuant to an arrest warrant, was effectuated some seventeen years and seven months after the incident. Citing the excessive pre-indictment delay, the defendant has moved to dismiss the indictment as violative of his due process rights under both the State and Federal Constitutions. The People have opposed such relief and a Singer (44 NY2d 241 (1978)) hearing was ordered by the Court. The hearing spanned three days of testimony: March 30, April 12 and April 16, 1999, and included four People's witnesses: Retired Detectives William Gill and Carmine Bottari, Detective Thomas Mansfield of the "Cold Case Squad," and former Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Segal.(Note 1)
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