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Reputed Mafia boss arrives at North Carolina prison

July 26, 1997

BUTNER, N.C. (AP) _ Vincent ``Chin″ Gigante blew kisses to a baby and muttered quietly Saturday during a commercial flight to North Carolina, where he reported to federal prison.

Gigante, who earned the nickname the ``Oddfather″ for walking New York City streets in a bathrobe, had been ordered to surrender at the Federal Correctional Institute here within 24 hours of his conviction Friday.

The 69-year-old reputed boss of the powerful New York Genovese crime family was cleared of seven murder counts but found guilty of racketeering and two murder conspiracies.

He will be held at the medium-security prison until his sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

After landing at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Gigante had a blank expression as his son, Vincent Esposito, pushed him in his wheelchair off the Midway Airlines flight from Newark, N.J.

The reputed mobster, wearing sweatpants, a blue windbreaker and a blue polo shirt buttoned to the neck, arrived with an eight-person entourage that included his brother, the Rev. Louis Gigante, and his attorney, Michael Marinaccio.

Christina Nisperly of Lakewood, N.J., a passenger on Gigante’s flight, said he blew kisses to a baby sitting across the aisle from him and mumbled incoherently.

``I got nervous when I actually went into the plane,″ Nisperly said. ``You never know, especially with him being on board.″

During his trial, Gigante’s attorneys described him as a doddering old man who couldn’t manage to comb his hair and dress himself for court. Prosecutors called him a shrewd underworld operator who faked mental illness to dodge conviction.

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