U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York
(212) 637-2600
March 23, 2015

Two Individuals Plead Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court in Connection with 2009 Home Invasion Robbery and Murder

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ANTOINE BURROUGHS and LEON WHITFIELD pled guilty to robbery charges in connection with the home invasion robbery and murder of Gerardo Antoniello on September 9, 2009. Antoniello was killed during the home invasion robbery of his father, Bartolomeo Antoniello, who was targeted for the cash proceeds of the pizza shop he owned in Queens, New York. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD pled guilty today before United States District Judge Gregory B. Woods.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “At the direction of an associate of the Gambino Crime Family, Antoine Burroughs and Leon Whitfield targeted and attempted to rob a Queens pizza shop owner in his home, and then brutally murdered his son as he tried to protect his father. With today’s pleas, the perpetrators of this crime will be held accountable.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment and statements made at various proceedings in this case, including the guilty pleas:

BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD were hired by Frank LaCorte, an associate of the Gambino Crime Family, to commit a home invasion robbery. On September 9, 2009, BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD attempted to rob Bartolomeo Antoniello at his home in Queens, New York. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD were targeting the cash proceeds of Antoniello’s pizza shop. Antoniello’s son, Gerardo Antoniello, was home at the time, and attempted to protect his father. BURROUGHS and WHITFIELD brutally beat and pistol-whipped the father and son, and the father was seriously injured. During the struggle, Gerardo Antoniello was shot in the head and died later of his injuries. He was 29 years old.

As a result of these criminal activities, the two men have pled guilty as follows:

BURROUGHS pled guilty to one count of robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of attempted robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. As a part of his plea, BURROUGHS admitted to shooting and killing Antoniello during the robbery.

WHITFIELD pled guilty to one count of robbery conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of attempted robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. As a part of his plea, WHITFIELD admitted that he carried a fake gun during the robbery and that BURROUGHS shot and killed Antoniello during the struggle.

The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the Judge.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Woods on July 29, 2015.

Frank LaCorte was convicted in Queens County Court for his role in organizing this and numerous other home invasion robberies and in June 2012 was sentenced to a term of 50 years to life in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, the Queens District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Maimin is in charge of the prosecution.

 

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