The name John “Sonny” Franzese may ring a bell for those in older generations. They may remember his 1960’s trial for several murder cases, spanning decades, or they might remember his famed bank robbery conspiracy which landed him a 50 year prison sentence in 1967 (from which he was released well before he completed his term). But for those who aren’t so familiar with the mobster, Franzese is a New York City, New York mobster behind a laundry list of news stories about scandals, crimes, and conspiracies.
The New York City mobster, who turned 100 years old in February, was released from prison in June after serving an eight year sentence for shaking down two strip clubs, but he’s spent a total of 40 years behind bars during his century-long life. The geriatric gangster – the oldest inmate in the entirety of the federal prison system – was released from a federal medical center in Devens, Mass.
Upon his release, Franzese escorted to his daughter’s home in Brooklyn, New York in a white Range Rover, and he has determined to spend time with his family following his stint behind bars. The man, though seemingly weathered and frail with a walker in hand, seemed to be in good spirits as he was greeted outside by his family members and hugs.
He isn’t the only one happy that he’s home. His family sang praises of his release to the New York Daily News, saying how much they love the elderly mob underboss. His 42 year old grandson, Pietro Scorsone, went on record to say, “I am absolutely happy he’s home. He’s my grandpa. We love him.” Scorsone went on to detail his grandfather’s physical condition, saying “I mean, he’s 100 years old. He doesn’t hear much at all. He doesn’t see well. He’s still very sharp though. He also has some prostate issues – normal things for a 100 year old man.”
Michael and Carmine Franzese, the gangster’s sons, drove him from Massachusetts to New York City where he’s made no major plans for his first weekend as a free man since 2010. Michael told the New York Daily News that his father’s only plans are to “sit home and enjoy himself with family.” Another of his sons, John Franzese Jr., however, testified against him at his most recent trial.
Franzese also has no plans to head behind bars anytime soon, though he’s managed to elude his entire sentence each time, receiving early parole in each sentence. His last conviction was at the age 93, and if his age didn’t surprise the world enough then, it would be an even bigger shock to see him continue with a life of crime in his current state.
Before his previous sentence, his wife (who’s since passed away) pled with a Brooklyn federal judge to show grace to the old man because she loved him dearly. His granddaughter, however, felt that her grandfather would be happier behind bars because it’s where he found “more peace and support” than at home with his wife, according to the New York Daily News.
But Franzese spoke for himself before his last conviction, saying that he didn’t care where he died because he had to “die someplace.” He felt that he’d lived a complete life, having been in social cahoots with historic celebrities like Frank Sinatra.