Bartolomeo Vernace (born around 1950- died March 2017) known as "Bobby" "Bobby Glasses" and "Pepe", was a high ranking mobster in the Gambino crime family.
On the night of April 11, 1981, wannabe mobster Frank Riccardi was celebrating his 24th birthday at the Shamrock Bar on Jamaica Avenue. He was having a good time until someone spilled a drink on a woman he was with and ruined her dress.
Riccardi reacted with violence, starting a bar brawl with the other patron which ended when bar owners Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese broke it up and led Riccardi and an associate out the door and onto the street. As the owners went back inside, Riccardi decided he wasn’t done yet.
Within half an hour he was back at the Shamrock Bar with two friends by his side. One of them being Bartolomeo Vernace, who was an associate in the Gambino Crime Family at the time, the other was Ronald “Ronnie the Jew” Barlin, the man who stood by him during the bar brawl. As they entered the bar with guns drawn, Riccardi shot D’Agnese in the face. Vernace was struggling with Godkin, a Vietnam vet, against an arcade machine. As Vernace got the upper hand, he shot him in the chest and left him to die.
One of the victims, John D’Agnese, was the boyfriend of a girl named Linda Gotti, daughter of Peter Gotti and the niece of John Gotti. Two men who just a few years later would lead the Gambino family. Both father and uncle sat down with Linda and told her not to cooperate with the police. Omerta, the code of silence, was an important tradition within the Gotti- household and they made that clear to the young woman grieving over her dead boyfriend.
Despite having behaved like a loose cannon and angered the Gotti's, Vernace still had enough backing within the Gambino family. According to rumors, Vernace’s uncle had a lot of pull and managed to get him a pass. The other men managed to make amends without getting whacked as well.
Vernace was acquitted in 1998 in a state trial thanks to witnesses not wanting to testify.
The acquittal meant that Vernace was back on the streets for good. The Gambino family took notice and a year later, in 1999, made him an official member of the crime family.
Rise in the Gambino family
Over the next years his power within the mafia grew as he became actively involved in robbery, drug trafficking, loansharking, and gambling, while operating a large and profitable crew from a café on Cooper Avenue in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens. His rank rose as well, going from a soldier to a captain who served on a three-member ruling panel that led the Gambino Family from 2008- 2010 along with Daniel Marino, and John Gambino.
His rise was halted on January 20, 2011, when he was arrested in a big nationwide mob bust that saw over 120 members and associates of La Cosa Nostra in handcuffs, including leaders of the Colombo Family in New York and the Patriarca family in New England.
When Vernace heard of the charges against him he must have had a moment of déjà vu. Prosecutors topped off Vernace’s indictment with the 1981 double homicide of Richard Godkin and John D’Agnese. And this time witnesses weren’t afraid to testify.
In 2013, after a five week trial, Vernace was found guilty of the 1981 murder of a bar owner and various racketeering charges.
In May of 2014, Vernace was sentenced to life in prison.
In March,2,2017,Vernance died in the prison.