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Sicily Convicts Son of Mafia Boss

November 23, 2001

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) _ Giovanni Riina, the 25-year-old son of imprisoned ``boss of bosses″ Salvatore ``Toto″ Riina, was convicted Friday of four murders and sentenced to life in prison.

When the court read out its verdict, the young Riina stood silently in a barred holding cell and then consulted through the bars with his lawyer, the Italian news agency ANSA reported from Palermo. He had been convicted in a previous trial of Mafia association and has been jailed since 1997.

The trial saw Riina accused of four slayings carried out in 1995, two years after his father, reputed head of the Cosa Nostra, was captured by police in Palermo after 23 years on the run.

Two of the murder victims were a husband and a wife who were shot in front of their young children. Another victim was the brother of the wife, and the fourth victim was a man killed in Corleone, the Riina’s hometown in the central mountains of Sicily.

``This wasn’t a trial of the son of the boss,″ said Prosecutor Vittorio Teresi after the verdict. ``Giovanni Riina wasn’t convicted for his last name. Here he was accused of murder and we succeeded in producing proof of his guilt for the jury.″

Also sentenced to life in prison was Vito Vitale, a reputed Mafia boss from another small Sicilian mountain town, Partinico. Several other defendants were also convicted of having a role in the slayings and were sentenced to lesser terms.

Life in prison is Italy’s harshest punishment.

The elder Riina is serving multiple life sentences for several murder convictions.

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