William “Wild Bill” Cutolo’s Cause of Death: How Did He Die?


Getty/New York City Police Department

MTV Logo is seen onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California./ William Cutolo’s mugshot.

William Cutolo was murdered in an mob hit ordered by Colombo crime boss Thomas Gioeli May 26, 1999, Dino “Big Dino” Calabro and other mafia members testified years later before a court in 2012, according to the New York Daily News. The death of Cutolo, also known as “Wild Bill” and “Billy Fingers,” was shrouded in mystery until the former hitman testified against the mafia leader.

Cutolo was an underboss of the Columbo crime family. Alphonse Persico, who was the boss of the Colombo family at the time of Cutolo’s disappearance, and John DeRoss were both convicted in the killing prior to the prosecution of Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli, according to The New York Times. The hit was ordered because the family believed Cutolo was threatening Persico’s leadership, according to the New York Daily News. Court hearings for the crime family revealed details on Cutolo’s death.

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Here’s what you need to know:


Dino Calabro Testified He Shot Cutolo in the Head, Recounting the Order & Wild Bill’s Last Words

Dino Calabro testified before a court in the prosecution of Thomas Gioeli, or Tommy Shots, to say he was summoned to meet the Colombo crime boss at the grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Massapequa in Long Island, according to the New York Daily News. Calabro testified Gioeli made a wordless gesture to order the hit on Cutolo the article said, placing his hand over his heart and holding up four fingers.

Calabro drove Wild Bill to a Brooklyn home under the pretense Cutolo was meeting with Persico. Calabro met Cutolo in the driveway, Calabro recalled, according to the article.

“We shook hands,” Calabro said. “He said, ‘Allie’s here, right? Where are we going?’” a reference to Alphonse “Allie Boy” Persico.

“He went in, and I followed him and pulled out my gun and shot him in the head. He just went ‘Whoa,’ and fell backward into the closet.”

Cutolo’s watch, beeper and jewelry were mixed into a bucket filled with concrete and dumped off a Brooklyn pier, the Daily News reported, and Cutolo’s body was wrapped in garbage bags, hog-tied and buried in Farmingdale, Long Island.

A former Bonanno underboss, Salvatore Vitale, also testified against Gioeli, saying Cutolo was conspicuously absent from a meeting between the Columbo and Bonanno families.

“I realized then that Wild Bill was dead,” Vitale testified, according to the Times.


Cutolo’s Body Was Found in 2008 & His Shoes Were Left On, a Sign of Disrespect

The body of Cutolo was found in 2008, aiding in the prosecution of mafia members at the time, the New York Daily News reported.

“My father must be smiling down on us. Now we have the body. Now we have the evidence,” William Cutolo Jr. told the publication at the time.

However, Cutolo’s loafers were left on the body, the article said.

“When a man such as my father, a made man [is killed], the old-timers believed it was a sign of respect to remove their shoes so that when their bodies were ever found, and there were no shoes, it was a sign of respect,” Cutolo told the newspaper.

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