Albert "Caesar" Tocco, 77, a mob boss who was sentenced to 200 years after his wife took the unusual step of testifying against him, died Sept. 21 after a stroke in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
Mr. Tocco was 15 years into his prison sentence for 34 counts of racketeering, filing false income tax returns, conspiracy, extortion and obstruction of justice. He oversaw organized crime operations in many of Chicago's southwest suburbs. "Just the way he looked at you, just the way he talked to you was scary," said retired FBI agent Bob Pecoraro, although the gangster's public face was that of a sausage maker, a drive-in restaurateur and owner of a waste-disposal company.
His wife, Betty, testified that in 1986 she drove him from an Indiana cornfield where he told her he had just buried Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, the mob's man in Las Vegas for two decades, and his brother Michael. The Spilotro case was portrayed in the 1995 Martin Scorsese movie "Casino."
In an interview published in the Chicago Sun-Times just after he was sentenced in 1990, she called her husband a ruthless thug who abused his family, broke the mob's code of ethics and even cheated his daughter at tic-tac-toe.
She was believed to be the first wife of an organized crime leader to testify against her spouse, the newspaper said. She later went into the federal witness protection program, it said.
Describing what led her to testify, Mrs. Tocco said that until 1986 she believed her husband's story that he was not a mob boss. She said she learned otherwise when she drove to the Indiana cornfield to pick him up and he told her what he had done.
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing," she said. "I was shocked, nauseated, disgusted. It was Father's Day. His sister and mother were coming over for a barbecue.
"What was I supposed to say? 'Albert just buried the Spilotros last night, so we can't barbecue today.' "