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Giuseppe Di Matteo
Enfant italien

Giuseppe Di Matteo

Giuseppe Di Matteo
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Enfant italien
From Italy
Gender male
Birth 19 January 1981, Palermo, Italy
Death 11 January 1996, San Giuseppe Jato, Italy (aged 14 years)
Star sign Capricorn
Father: Santo Di Matteo
The details (from wikipedia)


Santino Di Matteo (born December 7, 1954), also known as Mezzanasca, is an Italian former member of the Sicilian Mafia from the town of Altofonte in the province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

Santo Di Matteo took part in the killing of Antimafia judge Giovanni Falcone on May 23, 1992, near Capaci. After his arrest on June 4, 1993, he became the first of Falcone's assassins to become a government witness – a pentito. He revealed all the details of the assassination: who tunnelled beneath the motorway, who packed the 13 drums with TNT and Semtex, who hauled them into place on a skateboard, and who pressed the button.

Killing of son

In retaliation for Di Matteo becoming an informant, the Mafia kidnapped his 11-year-old son, Giuseppe Di Matteo, on November 23, 1993. According to a later confession by one of the kidnappers, Gaspare Spatuzza, they dressed as police officers and told the boy he was being taken to see his father, who was at that time being kept in police protection on the Italian mainland. In Spatuzza's words, "To the kid's eyes we appeared like angels, but in reality we were devils. (...) He was really happy, he kept saying 'My father, my dear father'". Instead they held Giuseppe for 26 months, during which time they tortured him and sent grisly photographs to his father to force him to retract his testimony, although he had already signed a legally binding deposition.

Di Matteo made a desperate trip to Sicily to try to negotiate his son's release but on January 11, 1996 after 779 days, the boy, who by now had also become physically ill due to mistreatment, was finally strangled on the orders of Giovanni Brusca. The body was subsequently dissolved in a barrel of acid to prevent the family from holding a proper funeral at which they could mourn, and also to destroy evidence — a practice known colloquially as the lupara bianca.

Di Matteo and Brusca met face to face during court proceedings. Bursting into tears Di Matteo told the judge: "I guarantee my collaboration, but to this animal I guarantee nothing. If you leave me alone with him for two minutes I'll cut off his head." The confrontation threatened to become violent, but court security guards restrained Di Matteo.

In October 1997, the pentito Di Matteo was rearrested. Although a key witness in several important trials under way, he had returned home to recommence his criminal activities and avenge atrocities carried out on family members.


In March 2002 Di Matteo was released early, along with four others, in return for cooperating with magistrates, outraging relatives of Falcone, who stated that the system of pentiti safeguarded killers from prosecution for murder. Despite no police protection, he decided not to go into hiding but returned to his family in Altofonte, protected by an iron gate and two dogs. He tried to live a normal life in the town, but was shunned by the townspeople.

Before his arrest Di Matteo had already become hesitant about the violent strategy of the Corleonesi. In their testimonies Di Matteo and another pentito Salvatore Cancemi described the victory celebration that followed the Capaci bombing. Totò Riina ordered French champagne and while the others toasted, Cancemi and Santo Di Matteo looked at one another and exchanged a gloomy assessment of Riina and their future: "This cuckold will be the ruin of us all."

In popular culture

The story of Di Matteo's son Giuseppe's kidnapping and murder was turned into a film, Sicilian Ghost Story.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 30 Oct 2019. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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