Mafia Killer Who Became a Turncoat Is Released from Prison in Italy

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Giovanni Brusca, an Italian mobster turned informer, has been released after serving 25 years in prison for murder and associating with the mafia, rekindling memories of the country’s battle against organized crime in the 1990s.

Mr. Brusca, known as the “People Slayer,” was arrested in 1996 and later admitted to involvement in more than 100 killings before becoming an informer and helping the authorities identify and arrest dozens of fellow mobsters from the mafia families of Sicily.

“This is what the law says, a law that my brother wanted and that we respect,” said Maria Falcone, the sister of Giovanni Falcone, an anti-mafia judge who was among Mr. Brusca’s victims. Mr. Falcone was killed with his wife and three other men escorting him in 1992 when Mr. Brusca detonated an explosive that blew up the highway that their cars were traveling on near Palermo, in Sicily.

“But the pain, the anger and the fear that an individual capable of doing so much evil can return to offend,” Ms. Falcone said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of the anti-mafia Falcone Foundation.

Among the crimes committed by Mr. Brusca was the killing of Giuseppe Di Matteo, the 14-year-old son of a mafia informant. After kidnapping the boy and keeping him in hiding for two years in retaliation for his father’s confessions to the authorities, Mr. Brusca and his brother strangled the boy and dissolved him in acid. At a public hearing years later, Mr. Brusca said that tears rolled down the boy’s cheeks while he was dying.

Mr. Brusca will still have to serve four years’ probation, and he will be provided with a new identity in an undisclosed location under Italy’s witness protection program.

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