Italy: Mafioso shoots sister over 'dishonour'

Report by Richard Owen

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2104808,00.html

An old Sicilian tradition is revived as a young woman who had a child out of wedlock is shot

ITALY was shocked at the weekend by a revival of the Mafia tradition of “honour killing” after a member of a Calabrian Mafia clan shot his sister for having a child by her lover.

Giovanni Morabito, 24, nicknamed “Ringo”, gave himself up to police in Reggio Calabria after confessing that he had shot his sister, Bruna, 32, four times in the face at Messina in Sicily and left her for dead.

He told police with what officers described as “terrifying calm” that he had tried to kill her because she had had a son, Francesco, two weeks ago by “a man who was not her husband”.

Witnesses said that Bruna fell to the ground, her pink woollen hat lying near by in a spreading pool of blood.

Doctors in Messina later said that she was gravely ill after two bullets were extracted from her head.

Police said that Giovanni had shown no remorse, admitting: “I shot her, I shot my sister . . . She had a child by a man she was not married to.

“It is a question of honour. I would have shot her in the back, but she turned round. I am not sorry. On the contrary, I am proud of what I did.”

He said that he had waited until she had had her baby because under the Mafia code “you don’t kill pregnant women”.

Police said that Bruna and Giovanni came from a powerful clan in the Calabrian Mafia, the ’Ndrangheta. Their uncle is Peppe (Giuseppe) Morabito, 72, known as “Don Peppe u Tiradrittu” (“Don Peppe the Straightshooter”), the acknowledged head of the Morabito clan in the village of Africo in Calabria.

Don Peppe was arrested two years ago near Reggio Calabria after 15 years on the run. Investigators are still unravelling his clan’s lucrative trade in cocaine and its links with Colombian drugs gangs.

Investigators suggested that Bruna had been targeted not only because of the child but also because she had tried to distance herself from her Mafia family. After taking a law degree she had found a job as a government lawyer in Messina. She had separated from her husband and begun a relationship with a civilian employee at the Messina police station, whom she had hoped to marry after obtaining an annulment.

Police said they believed that Giovanni, who had a police record for petty crime, had acted on instructions from more senior members of the clan offended by her “betrayal”.

Giovanni, however, insisted that he had acted alone because of the “dishonour”. He was stunned when told his sister was still alive, declaring: “But she was supposed to die.”

Corriere della Sera, the newspaper, said that the murder attempt was “reminiscent of the kind of things that happened a hundred years ago in the darker corners of Sicily”.

Mario Centorrino, deputy rector of Messina University and an expert on the Mafia, said: “Anyone who thought the ’Ndrangheta were too busy with the lucrative drugs trade to revive their archaic codes of behaviour will have to think again.”





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