Joseph Carmine Testa (born 24 January 1955) was a hitman for the Gambino crime family and a member of the DeMeo crew, who were collectively responsible for dozens of murders in the 1970s and 1980s. His brother Patrick Testa was also a mobster. Testa is currently serving a life sentence for multiple murders and is not scheduled for release until 2032.
Growing up, Anthony Senter became close friends with Joseph Testa. When Testa was fifteen, a thirteen year old neighbor was mugged by a knife wielding Puerto-Rican man from East New York. The assaulted victim complained to Testa, who gathered Senter among others, and led the group in a borrowed car spending the day searching for the assailant. In 1973, Testa was nearly killed in a bar fight with a Puerto-Rican opponent when the assailant's knife punctured his lung. Senter hunted down the Puerto-Rican and nearly beat him to death with his fists.
Testa was considered more dangerous by reputation than Senter among criminal associates. By 1970, Senter had already been convicted of auto theft three times by the age of 12. Testa and Senter were successful in having all of their cases dismissed because they were juveniles at the time. Testa and Senter became known as the Gemini twins because they were always together and the primary hangout of the DeMeo crew was the Gemini Lounge.
Chris Rosenberg hired Senter and Testa to wax his Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911 and steal cars for him. Rosenberg introduced his friends Senter and Testa to Roy DeMeo who asked them to join his crew. DeMeo, Rosenberg, Senter and Testa became the core of the DeMeo crew who became notorious for their ruthless violence. The crew was suspected to be involved in 75 to 200 murders throughout the mid 1970s and into the early 1980s, when the majority of the crew members still alive were brought to justice.
When testa joined the DeMeo crew, he gained a reputation as a sadistic killer who enjoyed mutilating his victims. testa also gained a reputation for providing the crew with significant revenue from auto theft. Testa was a full-blooded Italian and was eligible to be inducted into the mafia.
Although, testa was a large earner for the Gemini Lounge crew he was highly disliked by Albert DeMeo, the son of Roy DeMeo. Albert's personal judgment of Testa was he always complained about his bad back.
Murder of DeMeo
On January 10, 1983, Roy DeMeo went to crew member Patrick Testa's bodyshop for a meeting with his men. A few days later, on January 18, he was found murdered in his abandoned car's trunk. He had been shot multiple times in the head and had a bullet wound in his hand, assumed by law enforcement as being from throwing his hand up to his face in a self-defense reflex when the shots were fired at him. Anthony Gaggi was originally suspected by law enforcement officials of being the one who personally killed DeMeo. Gaggi was not charged with the crime.
According to former Lucchese consigliere Anthony Casso, DeMeo was killed at Patrick Testa's Canarsie home by Joseph Testa and Anthony Senter following an agreement with Casso, who was given the contract by Gambino crime family Boss Paul Castellano and Frank DeCicco after they were unable to kill DeMeo in the fall of 1982. DeMeo was seated, about to receive coffee, when Testa and Senter opened fire. Anthony Gaggi was not present.
Move to the Lucchese family
After the murder of Roy DeMeo, Senter and Testa drifted into the Lucchese crime family. According to Casso, they were responsible for the murder on June 13, 1986 of Russian-American gangster Vladimir Reznikov. Reznikov had reportedly threatened the life and family of Marat Balagula, a Ukrainian immigrant who ruled the Russian Mafia in Brighton Beach. Balagula, who was then masterminding a multi-million dollar gasoline bootlegging operation, had been paying tribute to the Five Families, who regarded him as their biggest moneymaker after drugs.
Arrest and aftermath
On September 14, 1989, Senter and Testa were both sentenced to life imprisonment. As of October 18th 2018, Senter continues to serve his sentence at the United States Penitentiary (USP), Allenwood, Pennsylvania and now has a release date of 10/13/2032. Testa is currently serving the sentence at FCI Terminal Island in San Pedro, California, for crimes that include multiple murders he now has a release date of 10/23/2032.
In 1994, it was discovered that pension dues were being paid into a Teamsters pension account in Senter's name by a cousin of Senter, one Dominic Vulpis, who owned a garbage company. A court investigator determined that $30,000 of dues had been paid into the account over a six-year period all the while Senter was in prison on a life sentence. Union officials said Senter could have qualified for a pension of $1,400 a month if the payments by Canarsie Recycling had continued for another five years.
Senter will not collect the pension - the Teamsters disqualified Senter as a member and barred his pension. It is unclear if Senter's cousin, Dominic Vulpis, or the garbage company he owns received a refund of the fraudulent dues.