The boss is dead

ROME/PALERMO (Reuters) – The death of Sicilian Mafia boss Salvatore “Toto'” Riina on Friday does not mark the end of Cosa Nostra, but the crime group is unlikely to allow one man such power ever again, a top magistrate and former mobster said.

The 87-year-old Riina died in a hospital in Parma, the northern Italian city where he had been serving 26 life sentences for murders committed between 1969 and 1992.

“The end of Riina isn’t the end of Cosa Nostra,” the chief magistrate in Sicily’s capital of Palermo, Francesco Lo Voi, told Reuters.

“What remains to be understood is whether the men of Cosa Nostra will seek a direct successor or a new organisational structure,” Mr Lo Voi said.

Gaspare Mutolo, who admits to having strangled some 20 people, agrees.

Mr Mutolo, now 77, turned state’s witness in the early 1990s at the age of 51, and became a key witness in dozens of mafia cases. He shared a jail cell with Riina in the 1960s, and became his trusted bodyguard and driver afterward.

Mr Mutolo, who still wears a balaclava to hide his identity from cameras, felt “pity” when he heard his former friend and cell mate had died.

“He was a friend. He helped me. He even saved my life. I saw him a little bit as a father figure,” Mr Mutolo told foreign reporters in Rome.

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