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Plush toys form a makeshift memorial in front of a Laval, Que., home on Thursday April 2, 2009. Adele Sorella was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of her young daughters, Sabrina, 8, and Amanda, 9. (Patrick Sanfaçon/The Canadian Press)
Plush toys form a makeshift memorial in front of a Laval, Que., home on Thursday April 2, 2009. Adele Sorella was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of her young daughters, Sabrina, 8, and Amanda, 9. (Patrick Sanfaçon/The Canadian Press)

Montreal gangster died of cyanide poisoning in prison, coroner confirms Add to ...

A Montreal gangster who died in prison just days after his wife was convicted last summer of killing their two children was poisoned with cyanide, a Quebec coroner has confirmed.

Giuseppe De Vito, 46, died suddenly at the Donnacona federal penitentiary near Quebec City on July 8, two weeks after his wife, Adele Sorella, was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing their two girls.

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The coroner’s report does not conclude whether Mr. De Vito was murdered or died by suicide, nor does it say how Mr. De Vito might have obtained the poison. A provincial police investigation into the case continues, according to the report signed by Coroner Luc Malouin.

Mr. De Vito’s daughters, Sabrina, 8, and Amanda, 9, were put inside a hyperbaric chamber where they were deprived of oxygen and died on March 31, 2009, while Mr. De Vito was hiding from authorities. Their 47-year-old mother was convicted of killing them and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years.

Despite Mr. De Vito’s personal tragedy, Surêté du Québec investigators are leaning toward murder as the probable cause of his death rather than suicide, The Journal de Montréal reported last month.

Mr. De Vito, a member of the Rizzuto crime family, spent four years on the lam after many of his Mafia associates were arrested in Operation Colisée in 2006. In subsequent years, with much of the family’s senior leadership in jail, many of family associates died or disappeared in a war for control of Montreal.

Mr. De Vito was associated with a faction trying to take over from the Rizzutos, Le Journal reported.

Vito Rizzuto, the head of the Mafia in Montreal, was released from a U.S. prison in 2012 after his son and his father had been killed in the gang war. Since then, many of the men who were trying to take over mob turf have died violently.

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