Turin (Italy), July 17 (IANS/AKI) An Italian court on Monday convicted Calabrian baker Rocco Schirripa of the 1983 killing of Turin Chief Prosecutor Bruno Caccia, sentencing him to life in prison for the crime.
Schirripa, 64, claimed he had been made a "scapegoat" for the murder of Caccia who was slain in a drive-by shooting as he walked dog near his home in Turin late in the evening of June 26, 1983.
"I am scapegoat, the perfect person to hang this charge on: a Calabrian with previous criminal convictions. A southerner," Schirripa said.
Schirripa was arrested in Turin in December for Caccia's murder. He ran a bakery in the city's southern outskirts and has alleged close links to senior Calabrian mafia or 'Ndrangheta bosses.
He has convictions for international drug trafficking and first came to the attention of police in the 1970s when he was probed for attempted murder, gambling rackets, theft and assault in the Calabrian province of Locride.
Several gunmen are believed to have taken part in Caccia's murder, which was ordered by the jailed boss of the 'Ndrangheta's Belfiore clan, Domenico Belfiore.
Schirripa is the person to have stood trial for Caccia's killing.
The head of the Italian parliament's anti-mafia commission, Rosy Bindi hailed Monday's sentence as "another important step forward towards the truth and justice, after many years."
Caccia's daughters Paola and Cristina Caccia also welcomed Schirripa's jailing.
"This is a just sentence but we hope things do not end here. There is still so much to investigate and so many truths are yet to be uncovered," Paola Caccia said.
The court awarded 300,000 euros in damages to Caccia's three children and 50,000 euros to each of his two grandchildren.