Sicilian procession for brother of Cosa Nostra boss Luigi Sparacio claimed to have broken Covid-19 safety laws
Italian prosecutors are investigating the funeral of the brother of a former Sicilian mafia boss for allegedly breaching Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.
Photographs showed a funeral procession in Messina attended by dozens of people. Family and friends gathered on the streets to accompany the coffin carrying Rosario Sparacio, 70, the older brother of Luigi Sparacio, who was considered one of the most important heads of the Cosa Nostra in the 1990s and who eventually turned supergrass.
The news, first reported by the newspaper La Gazzetta del Sud, has sparked a row in Italy where since the beginning of March a government decree has banned all religious gatherings, including funerals and weddings, in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.
In the cities hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, coffins are awaiting burial, held in churches, and the corpses of those who have died at home are being kept in sealed rooms.
For better or worse, Tiger King has captured the internet’s attention with larger-than-life characters and salacious murder allegations. Netflix’s documentary series hit at just the right time, and it seems like everyone is talking about Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The streaming service is dropping another episode on Sunday — a wrap-up show hosted by Joel McHale — but if Tiger King has you jonesing for more bizarre true-crime stories, there’s a practical avalanche of options, both on Netflix and beyond.
While Netflix seems to be churning out a new true crime series every day, other streaming services have their share of excellent documentaries. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best documentary series about shocking, sad, or just plain strange crimes available to stream right now.
THE CASE AGAINST ADNAN SYED
The podcast Serial was a phenomenon that kicked off a true-crime wave. Public discourse around the questions that host Sarah Koenig raised about convicted murderer Adnan Syed’s guilt or innocence was so compelling that a Baltimore state court reopened the 1999 case. HBO’s 2019 documentary reexamines the crime over four episodes, with new interviews, a larger focus on the murdered high-schooler, Hae Min Lee, and an update on developments in Syed’s appeals.
The Case Against Adnan Syed is streaming on HBO. (Also available as an Amazon or Hulu add-on.)
DON’T F**K WITH CATS
If the animal exploitation exposed in Tiger King was too much for you to handle, you may want to skip Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer. The Netflix documentary focuses on amateur internet sleuths who investigate a disturbing video in which a man is seen torturing and killing two kittens. But if you can stomach it (the documentary doesn’t show the actual torture,) the story is a wild ride.
The story of a bizarre 2003 bank robbery known as “the pizza bomber heist” is explored in the four-part Netflix documentary, Evil Genius. The titular evil genius is Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, whose plan to send a pizza delivery driver into a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest is just one part of an elaborate conspiracy. Produced by Mark and Jay Duplass (who also produced Netflix’s Wild Wild Country,) Evil Genius explores the strange case 15 years later.
Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary (all four episodes dropped on April 1) tells the story of Sonja Farak, a Massachusetts crime lab employee who was arrested in 2013 for sampling the drugs she was supposed to be processing. The personal drama is interesting enough — why would an successful woman jeopardize her important career by experimenting with meth? — but the systemic issues it raises are even more troubling. After Farak’s arrest, incarcerated felons whose convictions were based on evidence that her lab processed tried to have their cases reexamined. The documentary explores both sides of the story, complete with courtroom reenactments.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal is streaming on Netflix.
CHICAGO (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic that has crippled big-box retailers and mom and pop shops worldwide may be making a dent in illicit business, too.
In Chicago, one of America’s most violent cities, drug arrests have plummeted 42% in the weeks since the city shut down, compared with the same period last year. Part of that decrease, some criminal lawyers say, is that drug dealers have no choice but to wait out the economic slump.
“The feedback I’m getting is that they aren’t able to move, to sell anything anywhere,” said Joseph Lopez, a criminal lawyer in Chicago who represents reputed drug dealers.
Organised crime groups offer support to quarantined families who have run out of cash
As Italy struggles to pull its economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Mafia is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash, authorities have warned.
In recent weeks, videos have surfaced of known Mafia gangs delivering essential goods to Italians hit hard by the coronavirus emergency across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, as tensions rise across the country.
“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed,” Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro, told the Guardian. “Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in
Traditional organized-crime rackets like betting and construction are bleeding the New York mafia dry. But in Italy, the mobs are stronger than ever.
ROME—The New York mafia is taking a hit from the novel coronavirus pandemic after many of its money-making outlets have been shuttered.
Gambling halls, sporting events, and construction projects have long fed the Empire State gangs, but now that they are taking an “historic” blow, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “There’s never been a time when they weren’t making money through gambling,” the source said.
The American mafia families are also losing out on the extortion racket after restaurants and other entities close their doors under New York City’s “shelter in place” order. A halt to non-essential construction jobs, which includes transportation and port entry, has also put a dent in the U.S. mob’s profits.