One of the strangest events ever in Hudson County (where the strange is common-place) was the murder of the nephew of an influential political figure. In the mid-seventies, the nephew became partners with Tommy – a dealer in rare powders who was then operating out of a North Bergen cliff-side location. The nephew attempted to sweeten his profit margin by adding sugar to the product. One customer – a notorious local Organized Crime figure – didn’t have a sweet tooth. Without hesitation the nephew was abducted and murdered.
A few years later, the father of the Organized Crime figure tried to spring his son from a New Jersey State prison. The plan was to bribe a guard to put the prisoner in the trunk of his father’s car. The guard reported the plot and the father, too, was arrested.
Below are two accounts of the time of the killing of Butch Cap.
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I haven’t thought of the three some La Bruno Delawese and Redbone the three name team, Readbone came in to Toms stabbing Butchie taking him hostage, Tom escaped. Through. A secret floor panel in the bathroom floor, Butch called all night for money to pay ransom, I went to NY State that night with Arty Lidecker, a boardentown. Buddy of Toms, I saw the house being staked out as we drove off, hind sight is always 20 20, I live with that!… I was under the impression these guys met there fate, I guess I had bad info.
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If I remember correctly, Michael was shot (in the eye?) before the trial. He was out on bail in FLA. (Family trip). He survived that. In prison, his father — a serious individual — was arrested for trying to sneak Michael out in the trunk of his car. A Michael Labruno in a NJ State prison wrote a friend of mind. She was in the local papers for running a charity. Presumably, he saw the name there. He wanted to be a pen pal. I don’t know for sure if the guy who got locked up in ’97 was the same, but the age and the probable release date was consistent. I don’t think that I ever met the accomplices, but Michael I did run across. I was friendly with Manuel (Rocky) Villanueva and Sammy Lanzetti. I’d drive them to Michael’s house — just some blocks from here on New York Ave, I believe (there were concrete — around 2 ft — lions out by the steps) or to the auto body shop in Hoboken. Rocky had recently done some time (1 yr Fed?) and somehow blamed Butch Cap. There was often talk of revenge, which struck me as fanciful. Everyone was very leary of BC. I thought that he must be like the Hulk or something. I didn’t know about the uncle the mayor. People often told me that Butch Cap was bad mouthing me. I’d always say “How? I don’t know him.” People would answer “You know him!” I didn’t know that was Tommy’s partner. Either he called him Steve or didn’t use any name and I didn’t ask. At that little get together, someone called him Butch. I asked him if he was Butch Cap. First he ignored me but when I asked again louder he started up a stream of insults. An andrenaline rush began to kick in and I started to laugh. I expected to fly off the handle and didn’t care. Suddenly, I felt as if I’d been shoved. I was confused for nobody was that close to me. The thought LEAVE filled my mind. I turned and started to walk out. Butch said something about me being a coward like the rest. I was going to go back, but felt as if I’d been shoved again. If I’d not left, With some sort of scuffle or commotion the abduction maybe would not have happened that night? Or would I’ve gotten involved? I’ve often wondered if the influence that ushered me out was divine or demonic. I didn’t know that Butch was doing business with Michael — and bad business at that. I don’t think that I ever met the accomplices — though I had the same lawyer, Anthony Malfitano, as one. I remember him saying to another lawyer that “My guy (the accomplice) even looks like a junky.” I was told one time to meet my lawyer at the Butch Cap murder courtroom. The court officer stopped me and asked “Are you involved with this case?” I said no. Then he asked “Have you received notice to testify?” I said no. He then let me in. Court was in session and everybody looked at me. (I don’t know what phase I was in that got so much attention.) I just turned on my heels and left. Hudson County is the world’s biggest small town. Artie I remember. I think Tommy told me that he was from Trenton. I met Artie at some Union City Transfer Station bar after he had the falling out with Tommy. I was told that later that same night right there Artie got locked up for outstanding warrants. I never heard anything about him again. The next day after Butch was yapping at me, I went up to River Road. I didn’t know about the mayhem. The two grey Great Dane puppies were outside, crying because they were hungry. Everything else was strangely still. I walked down to the street and bought some sliced roast beef at some place that was there. I brought that back up for the puppies and then left. Strange days had found us.