Community Police & Fire

New Trial Denied for Louis Costa in 1986 North End Murders

Slye Park (now known as Copps Hill Terrace Park) was the site where victims were found from a 1986 double murder. (Photo: Matt Conti)

Louis Costa will not receive a third trial in the 1986 double murder case where the bodies of Frank Chiuchiolo and Joseph Bottari were found in the North End’s Slye Park (now known as Copp’s Hill Terrace Park), according to a ruling Thursday by Massachusetts Supreme Court Judicial Court Judge Robert Mulligan.

Last year, the the double murder case was revived on the defendant’s appeal based on DNA evidence. Costa was previously convicted with Frank DiBenedetto in 1988 and 1994 by juries for two counts of first-degree murder.

DNA from the blood evidence found on DiBenedetto’s sneaker showed it was not from either victim. DiBenedetto and Costa argued that the murders were committed by other mob associates and that the multiple point-blank shootings would have left blood splatter on the shooters.

From the facts of the case:  Around 9:30 P.M. on February 19, 1986, police found the bodies of the victims, Chiuchiolo and Bottari, in Slye Park in the North End section of Boston. The bodies were surrounded by blood and multiple spent bullet casings. Chiuchiolo had been shot seven times, five times in the head, and Bottari had been shot sixteen times, six times in the head.

“The defendant bears the burden of proving that the evidence alleged to be newly discovered ‘casts real doubt on the justice of the conviction,” wrote Judge Mulligan. “The defendant here, relying upon naught but gossamer inferences and speculation, has failed to meet that burden.”

Costa’s legal efforts to have Judge Mulligan removed from the case were not successful. Suffolk County DA, Daniel Conley, fought the motions for a new trial. Conley said after the decision, “The first jury got it right in 1988, the second jury got it right in 1994, and Judge Mulligan got it right in this decision.” A similar denial for a new trial was handed down last Fall for DeBenedetto.

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