Profile of Cosa Nostra boss Leoluca Bagarella

By Angelo Carmelo Gallitto
Posted in 2003

Leoluca Bagarella was born in Corleone in 1941. He is the brother-in-law of Salvatore Riina, the boss of bosses, who married his sister Antonina. He supported Luciano Leggio during the war against Navarra’s men in 1960s. His brother Calogero was murdered in 1969 during the Viale Lazio slaughter in Palermo; he organized the attack together with Bernardo Provenzano, but the Acquasanta boss Michele Cavataio, before his death, shot him in the head; another brother, Giuseppe, was poisoned in 1972.

He’s considered one of the most violent and feared boss in the mafia history; when Tommaso Buscetta was asked about him, he answered: “I prefer not to speak about him; I think he doesn’t belong to human species; he probably had also mental and physical problems because when we played soccer in the prison’s courtyard he kicked the ball with two foots at the same time; have you ever seen a similar thing? In prison everybody feared him; I remember we stayed three months together in the prison’s infirmary and the only words he told me were good morning and good evening, nothing else”. That’s Leoluca Bagarella.

On May 6th 1995 in Palermo, he killed Domenico Buscetta, nephew of Tommaso, because that morning a friend introduced each other in a bar and he shook hands with him; when the friend told him he was a Buscetta’s nephew, he answered “why the hell do you introduce me to infamous?”, and in the evening he shot him to death. He’s suspected to be involved in his wife’s hanging, Vincenza Marchese, because her brother Giuseppe Marchese, member of Corso dei Mille “family”, was an informer; he would hang his wife in order to eliminate any connection to him.

Inside Cosa Nostra everybody called him simply “The Brother-in-law”, because of his relationship with Riina, but also because nobody wanted to nickname him, in order to avoid problems. He was involved in hundreds of murders, included journalist Mario Francese, policemen Boris Giuliano and Giuseppe Montana, judges Falcone and Borsellino, and the mysterious Milan, Florence and Rome slaughters.

After the arrest of Totò Riina in 1993, Cosa Nostra was divided in two factions; the “stragisti”, very violent, led by him, and the “moderati”, less violent and more diplomatic, led by Provenzano; In 1994 he formed, trough his men, the political party “Sicilia Libera” in order to divide the island of Sicily from the rest of Italy. He probably was one of the ultimate men regarding the obscure agreement between Cosa Nostra and the Italian government at the beginning of 1990s.

Bagarella was arrested on June 24th 1995, after a lot of years of fugitiveness, and sentenced to life for several murders. But after 7 years of silence, on June 2002 during a trial, he protested heavily against politicians, and probably also against free bosses, like Provenzano; it seemed a real threat; they were Bagarella’s words and despite he’s behind bars, his words can’t be underestimated. Maybe the Italian government didn’t respect the agreement with “stragisti” and he’s tired to wait…

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