2 mob associates convicted for murder of Brooklyn businessman

U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced Thursday that following a two-week trial, a federal jury convicted Richard Riccardi, 41, of Manalapan, N.J., and Louis Grasso, 46, of Staten Island, N.Y., of the robbery and murder of James Donovan on  July 2, 2010.

According to the government’s trial evidence, the defendants plotted to rob Donovan, who operated a check-cashing business in Brooklyn, believing he would be carrying large amounts of cash. The defendants, together with several of their associates, followed Donovan in the weeks leading up to the robbery to learn his daily routines. Riccardi agreed to supply the guns that everyone in robbery team planned to carry for the robbery.

On July 2, 2010, the robbery team, armed with revolvers and semi-automatic firearms, headed to a shop in Gravesend, Brooklyn, where they expected Donovan. At approximately 2:15 p.m., James Donovan arrived at the shop, and the robbery team sprang into action. During the course of the robbery, one of the defendants’ co-conspirators shot him.

Donovan, who was hit in the leg, shortly thereafter collapsed in the street, where he lay slowly bleeding to death. Grasso stole a bag of cash from Donovan’s car, and the team fled. Donovan, whose femoral artery was severed by the bullet, died as a result of his wound.

The robbery team divided up the approximately $200,000 in cash they had stolen from Donovan. Grasso took the guns used in the robbery and said he was going to have them melted down at a friend’s auto body shop. On Nov. 3, 2011, law enforcement searched  Riccardi’s car and New Jersey residence, and recovered a .38 caliber revolver and a 9 millimeter pistol.

The defendants face a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a fine of more than $250,000 when they are sentenced in August.