Dominick Trinchera also known as "Big Trin" (December 20, 1936 Rockland, New York- May 5, 1981 Dyker Heights, Brooklyn) was a Bonanno crime family capo who was murdered with Alphonse Indelicato and Phillip Giaccone for planning the overthrow of aspiring Bonanno boss Phillip Rastelli.
Born in Rockland, New York, Trinchera was the son of an immigrant from Rome, Italy and an American woman from Naples, Italy. A "monster of a man" who was 6'4" and weighed 350 pounds, Trichera eventually was married to a woman named Donna and fathered several children, including a daughter Laura. It is unknown when Trinchera actually became a made man except that he was made a capo in 1979 following the murder of boss Carmine Galante. He never learned fully how to speak the English language, and only spoke broken English-Italian his entire life. Trichera controlled businesses in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens. He also owned a legitimate transport truck shipping firm which he sold in 1981, several weeks before his death, for $2.5 million.
On July 12, 1979 Trinchera, Giaccone, Napolitano and Indelicato murdered Bonanno acting boss Carmine Galante at an Italian-American restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn along with his bodyguard and restaurant owner. It is suspected that the heads of the other New York families arranged Galante's death; they supposedly viewed Galante's greed and ambition as a threat to all their interests. After the Galante murder, a fight for control of the family started. On one side was mobster Phillip Rastelli, on the other side were capos Trichera, Phillip Giaccone, and Alphonse Indelicato. In May 1981, Rastelli ordered mobster Donnie Brasco, who was actually undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone, to murder Trichera in Miami, Florida. However, the contract was called off; Rastelli loyalist Dominick Napolitano wanted to kill Trinchera, Giaccone, and Indelicato at the same time so as to destroy the opposition to Rastelli.
On May 5, 1981 Capos Dominick Trinchera, Alphonse Indelicato, Phillip Giaccone, and Bonanno soldier Frank Lino went to a peace meeting with the Rastelli faction at the 20/20 Night Club owned by Salvatore Gravano in Brooklyn. Bonanno mobster Gerlando Sciascia met the men at the club and escorted them to a store room where Joseph Massino, Vito Rizzuto, Richard Kuklinski, Salvatore Vitale, Dominick Napolitano and Nicholas Santora were waiting to ambush them. Benjamin Ruggiero and John Cersani provided the lookout. As the men entered the room, Sciasca brushed his hand through his hair, giving Massino the prearranged signal. The gunmen rushed out and told the mobsters that it was a "stickup".
As the guns were drawn, Sciascia, who had been walking arm and arm with Trinchera (a sign of mob civility), punched the massive capo. Trinchera then charged at the gunmen screaming, but took a shotgun blast to the torso and crumpled dead to the floor. Frank Lino leapt over Trinchera' body, ran past Salvatore Vitale at the front door and fled the nightclub. The three capos were unarmed, as was the rule when attending a peace meeting.
In his book Donnie Brasco, Joseph Pistone describes how Ruggiero and Santora told him about the killing and the disposal of Trinchera's body.
"I never saw anything like that in my life, Donnie," recalled Santora, "Big Trin was so huge. When that shotgun blast hit him, about fifty pounds of his stomach just went flying." Ruggiero remembered that "I couldn't move him. But Boobie could [referring to Cersani]. There were little pieces of him lying around from the shotgun [blast]. Boobie got blood all over him trying to pick him up. They cut him up and put him in green plastic garbage bags".
Trinchera's body was moved out the club front door into a 1981 Ford Econoline van and driven to a lot in Lindenwood, Queens, where Gambino crime family mobsters John Gotti and Gene Gotti arranged the burial. In December 2004, after some children discovered a body in the Lindenwood lot, FBI agents excavated the property and discovered the bodies of the three capos.
In June 2005, Joseph Massino pleaded guilty in the Trinchera murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Before pronouncing the sentence, Judge Garaufis made these remarks:
"The activities, rituals and personalities of the world of organized crime have been deeply romanticized in the popular media over the past 30 years. However, this trial, like so many trials before it, has portrayed the true nature of organized crime."
The judge also read a letter by Laura Trinchera: "As for Mr. Massino, he had the opportunity to see his family grow. He took that away from us." When the verdicts were read, some Trinchera family members clapped. "I'm happy I was here to support his mandatory life sentence," said Donna Trinchera. "I think he's a disgrace."
In popular culture
- In the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, Trinchera was portrayed by George Angelica
- In the 2017 Canadian mini-series Bad Blood, in a flashback, Big Trin was portrayed by Carmine Luccarelli