By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fifty-two-year-old John Alite shot, stabbed, beat and threatened his way into one of the most feared mob titles in America: top enforcer for the infamous Gotti crime family.
Now, speaking to CBS 3 Investigative Reporter Walt Hunter, he gives a fascinating, and, at times, frightening account of his position as a mob hit man – and his decision to leave organized crime.
Alite’s story, first revealed in a recently released book, “Gotti’s Rules”, by national known organized crime author George Anastasia, and continuing in his interview, includes accounts of some of as many as 15 murders he claims to have committed.
He also says he shot 30 to 40 people and beat more than one hundred others with pipes and baseball bats.
Describing one “hit”, Alite relates, “While we were in the conversation, I shot him two or three times in the head, then spit on him. It was nothing, like going to a baseball game, I went out (afterward) for a cheeseburger, double cheese, coke and fries.”
Alite claims he was asked to carry out a “hit” on reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joey Merlino, but refused the assignment.
“So they approached me, we had a conversation, I did a little homework, and I told them ‘forget it’,” he explained.
With a reputation as violent mob member, Alite says he was, at one point, questioned about the murder of Carol Neulander, who lived near him in November, 1994. He was almost immediately cleared and her husband, Rabbi Fred Neulander, later tried and convicted.
Now, however, Alite, after serving more than 14 years in prison in the United States and Brazil, has repudiated his mob ties, calling the image of mobsters typically presented on TV and in movies “garbage”.
“A light went on in my head,” Alite told Hunter, “this life is baloney, crap, and a lot of things I can’t say on TV.”
“He saw it for what it was,” added Anastasia. “It was not about honor and loyalty, but treachery and deceit.”
Through his website, and speaking engagements, Alite, who is in therapy, hopes talking honestly about his bloodstained past can inspire young people to make right decisions for their future.
Walking free on the streets he once prowled as a hit man, he says, defiantly, he no longer fears the mob he left might now be stalking him.
“No, I’m not worried about it,” Alite stated. “If you want to find me, here I am, I am not going anywhere.
“I gotta’ laugh,” he concluded, “if I have to worry about the Gotti’s, I’ll live til I am 110.
Alite, who refused an offer of witness protection, has served more than 14 years in prison on various offenses, most recently released in 2012 after serving 10 years, following a guilty plea which included admissions to committing four murders.