(Reuters) - John “Sonny” Franzese, a reputed underboss of the Colombo crime family, was released from a Massachusetts prison hospital on Friday at age 100, ending his tenure as the oldest inmate in a U.S. federal prison, his son and media reports said.
Franzese has been in and out of prison for much of his adult life, having been granted parole by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at least six times, Newsday reported.
He was most recently incarcerated, at the age of 93 in 2010, for a racketeering conspiracy involving the shakedown of New York strip clubs.
Federal prison officials could not be reached immediately to confirm his release or details of his criminal record.
Franzese was acquitted in several murder cases going back for decades, Newsday reported, but he was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1967 for his involvement in a bank robbery conspiracy. He was released long before he completed the full term in that case.
When the half-century sentence was announced, Franzese’s estranged wife Cristina told the New York Daily News, “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t live to 100. That man can do jail time standing on his head.”
One of Franzese’s eight sons, Michael, confirmed his release from the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
“It’s official! Dad has been released! 100 years old, a free man! PRAISE GOD!,” Michael Franzese said in Twitter message.
Franzese, whose request for early release was denied in July 2016, left the medical centre in a wheelchair and intended to go to his daughter’s home in Brooklyn, New York, Newsday reported.
Although Franzese avoided conviction for many of his suspected crimes, investigators caught him on tape in 2006 describing his method of making bodies disappear, CBS News reported.
“Dismember victim in kiddie pool. Cook body parts in microwave. Stuff parts in garbage disposal. Be patient,” CBS reported Franzese as saying.
Reporting By Gabriella Borter; Editing by Frank McGurty and Tom Brown