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Former NYPD detective convicted as hitman says he was framed

The Associated Press

NEW YORK- One of the two former police detectives convicted of moonlighting as hitmen for the mob insists he was framed, calling himself "the most perfect scapegoat in history."

Louis Eppolito, 57, and former NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa, 64, were convicted April 6 of participating in eight killings while on the payroll of a Mafia underboss, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

Eppolito told the Daily News he thinks they were framed by Casso and convicted drug dealer Burton Kaplan. Both are in prison and Eppolito believes they wanted to improve their own circumstances.

In an interview from jail published Monday, Eppolito said that his predicament could be blamed on his 1992 autobiography, "Mafia Cop," in which he portrayed himself as an honest cop from a crooked family.

Kaplan had testified that the book was "the reason for all our troubles."

"I've thought about it a million times," Eppolito told the newspaper. "I would not have been arrested if I hadn't written the book. Casso would not have had the name Louie Eppolito to go to. Once they saw the smoke, they knew right where to go to."

Eppolito and Caracappa were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, kidnapping, witness tampering and bribery, and of providing inside law enforcement information to the mob.

Eppolito said he is dreading his sentencing, which is set for May 22. He could face life in federal prison.

"I'm going to have to stand there and have people look at me and say 'You killed my father, you killed my son,'" Eppolito said. "I didn't kill anybody. ... What am I supposed to do?"

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