Joel J. Cacace, Sr. (pronounced Ka-KA-che) also known as "Joe Waverly" (born April 9, 1941) is a New York City mobster and acting head of the Colombo crime family. He was convicted of murder and is currently on trial for a second murder.
Cacace is close friends with Colombo capo Luca DeMatteo and former acting boss Vittorio Orena. Cacace was involved in extortion, illegal gambling, and the hijacking and selling of truckloads of cigarettes.
Cacace married Diane Marie Cacace and they had one child, Joel Cacace Junior. Joel Jr. is reportedly a member of the Colombo crime family and is involved in labor racketeering.
On December 20, 1976, Joel Cacace Sr. was ambushed by three robbers near his florist shop in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. After being shot in the chest, Cacace wrestled a handgun from one of the robbers, and shot and killed an assailant. The remaining robbers fled the scene. The critically wounded Cacace drove to a local police station with the robber's body in the backseat.
In early 1987, imprisoned Colombo boss Carmine Persico ordered Cacace to kill William Aronwald, a federal prosecutor. Persico believed that Aronwald, who had helped prosecute Persico, had been disrespectful to the Cosa Nostra. Killing a prosecutor was normally forbidden in Cosa Nostra tradition, but Persico wanted him murdered anyway. Cacace arranged for brothers Vincent and Edward Carnini to murder Aronwald. Cacace gave the two hit men a piece of paper with the name Aronwald on it. However, Aronwald's father, George Aronwald, was an administrative law judge and shared his son's office; the gunmen thought he was the target. On March 20, 1987, the Carinis shot and killed George Aronwald Senior in a laundromat near his home.
Furious at the Aronwald murder, the heads of the other New York "Five Families" demanded that the Colombos kill the Carnini Brothers. An enraged Cacace recruited Lucchese crime family member Carmine Variale and Bonanno crime family associate Frank Santora to eliminate the Carninis. In June 1987, both Carnini brothers were found dead in the back seats of their cars in Brooklyn. Concerned about the loyalty of his assassins, Cacace decided to murder them also. At the Carninis' funeral, Cacace allegedly pointed out Variale and Santora to a second pair of hitmen. In September 1987, Variale and Santora were murdered outside a Brooklyn social club in broad daylight. This extraordinary caution helped to temporarily conceal Cacace's involvement in the Aronwald murder.
Also in 1987, Cacace was involved in the unrelated murder of former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Carlo Antonino.
Third Colombo War
Despite the Aronwald fiasco, Cacace's brutal reputation gained him a large following among his men. One family member supposedly commented,
- "With Joe dealing the cards, you never know where the next card is coming from - the top or the bottom or the middle of the deck."
Following the Carnini murders, Edward Carnini's widow, Kim T. Kennaugh, moved in with Cacace and later married him. They soon separated and Kim divorced him. In January 1991, during the 1990s Colombo War, Cacace attempted to kill Gregory Scarpa, a hitman aligned with the Persico faction. Cacace was a supporter of temporary acting boss Vittorio Orena, who was challenging Carmine Persico for control of the family. Cacace drove up next to Scarpa's car in Sheepshead Bay and fired at him several times. Scarpa escaped unharmed. On February 26, 1992, the two mobsters shot at each again outside a social club in the same neighborhood. Two gunmen in a parked station wagon fired 14 shots at Cacace as he was visiting his dry cleaner. Although wounded in the stomach, Cacace drew a handgun and exchanged shots with the men. Colombo enforcer Gregory Scarpa later boasted about participating in the Cacace murder attempt. As the Colombo War progressed, Cacace switched sides to the Persico faction, which ultimately won.
On January 23, 2003, Cacace was indicted for the murders of Antonino, Aronwald, Variale, and Santora. On August 13, 2004, Cacace pleaded guilty to charges of extortion, illegal gambling and the four murders. On September 8, 2004, Cacace was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Cacace was later transferred to the United States Penitentiary (USP) in Beaumont, Texas.
On December 18, 2008, Cacace was charged with ordering the 1997 murder of New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Ralph Dols. According to the indictment, Cacace felt humiliated that Dols, a Latino and cop, had recently married Cacace's ex-wife Kim. Cacace allegedly ordered Colombo capo Dino Calabro and soldier Dino Saracino to murder Dols. On August 25, 1997, Calabro and Saracino allegedly ambushed Dols outside his Brooklyn home and killed him.
As of October 2011, Cacace is on trial in New York for the Dols murder and is incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. Calabro will testify against Cacace and the prosecution wants the death penalty. Cacace's current projected release date is June 23, 2020, depending on the outcome of the second murder trial. With Kim Kennaugh refusing to give evidence following legal advice, Cacace was acquitted of murder despite turncoat Frank Smith (a close associate of the Carini brothers giving evidence4 against him).
People murdered by Joel Cacace
Order: Nº. Name/Rank/Affiliation/When/Involevment/Reason
- Unknown robber/None/Independent/December 20, 1976/Personal/Three people ambushed and robbed Cacace, he killed one of the robbers with the robber's own handgun.
- George Aronwald/None/Independent/March 20, 1987/Ordered it/Cacace was ordered to kill a federal judge called William Aronwald, Cacace hired two people to kill William but they murdered William's father George Aronwald instead.
- Vincent Carini/None/Independent/June 1987/Ordered it/Vincent was murdered because his murder of George Aronwald brought heat on the Colombo crime family.
- Edward Carini/None/Independent/June 1987/Ordered it/Edward was murdered because his murder of George Aronwald brought heat on the Colombo crime family.
- Carmine Variale/Soldier/Lucchese crime family/September 1987/Ordered it/Cacace had Variale murdered because he was unsure about his loyalty.
- Frank Santora/Associate/Bonanno crime family/September 1987/Ordered it/Cacace had Santora murdered because he was unsure about his loyalty.
- Carlo Antonio/Retired officer/NYPD/1987/Ordered it/Unknown motive.
- Ralph Dols/Officer/NYPD/1997/Ordered it/Cacace had Dols murdered because he was in a relationship with Cacace's ex-wife Kim Kennaugh and Cacace was prejudiced towards Dols for being Latino.