Joseph of Matthewwho was the son of Santino Di Matteokidnapped by the mafia and dissolved in acid. Biography: when he was born, how old was he when he was kidnappedwho killed him. The murder and processes.
Joseph DiMatteo was born in Palermo on January 19 of 1981. He is the eldest son of Mario Santo Di Matteoknown as Santino Di Matteo. His father, born into a mafia family for several generations, was close to the clan during little Giuseppe’s childhood Corleonesi with some activities. He also covers the beginning of Giovanni Brusca’s inaction on the family estates. Santino is officially a breeder, but he also works for a certain period at the municipal slaughterhouse (today he lives under state protection with his family).
There Joseph’s mother, Franca, comes from a non-mafia family. Of peasant origins, she helps the family work in the fields, before following some courses as a nurse and typist. She worked for several years as a nurse at the Palermo psychiatric hospital, before moving to Altofonte, but with administrative functions.
L’childhood of Giuseppe Di Matteo flows smoothly. According to the testimonies of his loved ones, largely collected by the sociologist and Rai journalist Pino Nazio, grows up healthy and is outgoing by nature. He shows that he is supportive and protective of his younger brother, Nicola, and of his closest friends. He has a strong bond with his grandfather Giuseppe, also near Cosa Nostrawhich helps him to cultivate his passion for horses.
Little Di Matteo practice horse riding and he also follows it with interest on TV: “his dream” is to “jump in Piazza di Siena with the colors of the national team” and the competition that fascinates him the most is “the power”, i.e. “a series of jumps elimination in which the one who managed to jump the highest was the winner”. He wins some races and many prizesis very promising: he won the cup at the XXVIII International Horse Show in Marsala, in May 1992.
Among the others passionsthe one for i video games. By the way, Giuseppe’s brother Nicola recalls: “One day Giovanni Brusca arrived, my brother Giuseppe and I gave him a Nintendo, he’s still at home somewhere, how much we played it in the two months he stayed at our house with his partner. I didn’t know then that he was a fugitive mafioso, I didn’t even know about my father’s role ”.
Giuseppe’s best friend is called Mariella: together they organize pranks and participate in excursions and competitions, supporting each other.
Kidnapping and murder of Giuseppe Di Matteo
The kidnapping of Giuseppe Di Matteo takes place on November 23, 1993 a Villabate. Shortly before, in June, his father Santino was arrested: accused of ten mafia murders, he decided to collaborate with justice and the “revenge” of Cosa Nostra was not long in coming.
For 779 days Giuseppe cannot talk to his loved ones, he has no way to amuse himself, he has no company. The kidnappers, for fear of being recognized, avoid direct contact as much as possible. Only in the last few months, a jailer gets him magazines and newspapers to read.
No cure is granted to him for nutrition and personal hygiene. Only after almost two years from the kidnapping they cut his hair. He never goes out in the open again, apart from a few moves from one hiding place to another, during which he is bound and hooded. His body accustomed to physical activity ceases all movement.
THE laces that keep him in place, give him sores. When, after two years of kidnapping, the captors immobilized him to strangle him, one of the material perpetrators of the murder recounts that “by now … he didn’t have the reaction of a child, he seemed soft … … certainly the lack of freedom, let’s say the child was very soft, it was tender, it seemed made of butter”.
Giuseppe Di Matteo spends the first night of the kidnapping in an improvised hiding place in a shed in Lascari, where he doesn’t even have a bathroom available. THE kidnappers take him to different hiding places in the province of Agrigento: “months of damp cells, peeling walls, improvised latrines, dirty and smelly beds. Months of ropes, chains, caps,” he writes Alfonso Sabella, in the book “Mafiosi hunter. The investigations, the tailings, the arrests”.
“During the day someone, with his face covered by a balaclava, brings him food. They don’t keep him fasting, but they always give him the same things, cold pizza and sandwiches. Sandwiches and pizza. Every now and then they take a picture of him, a film or make him write a few notes under dictation (…): messages to send to family members”.
Between the end of the summer of 1994 and August 1995 he moved from a farmhouse in the Madonie to a house in Castellammare del Golfo, then to Campobello of Mazara, then near Erice. Since August 1995 they have kept it in the basement of a farmhouse in the locality Giambascioat San Giuseppe Jato. In this case it is a purpose-built underground environment.
In the cell there is an iron door with a peephole and you go to the basement with a camouflaged dumbwaiter. Here, the investigators reconstruct, by order of Giovanni Bruscsa, Giuseppe di Matteo was strangled and dissolved in acid on January 11, 1996.
Today the farmhouse, confiscated from the mafia, is a place of memory and enhancement of the territory: it’s called Garden of Memory. Two anti-mafia posts of the Libera network, one in Saluggia (Vercelli) and one in the Jato Valley, are dedicated to Giuseppe Di Matteo. In memory of his great passion for horse riding, two equestrian centers have been dedicated to him, one in the Nebrodi Park and one in Portella della Ginestra, both on land confiscated from the mafia.
John Brusca will declare regarding the murder of little Giuseppe: “I became the monster for committing this crime. Maybe I wouldn’t have become one if I had just killed Dr. Falcone (Giovanni Falcone, ed) and his wife… In the courtrooms… my reconstruction, if possible, was even more meticulous, more punctilious, richer in detail than for all the other crimes… Every time I was asked questions about Giuseppe Di Matteo during the trial, I lost my composure, often my self-control, my self-confidence. There’s something to be ashamed of when you’re high kill a little boy who could have been your son? I do not know. I know, for sure, that it would be better for me not to talk about it.”
On the occasion of the arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro, in January 2023, Santino Di Matteo declared to Repubblica: “When I learned of Messina Denaro’s arrest, my first thought was for my son Giuseppe. Everyone who had to do with his kidnapping and death ended up in prison. Only he was missing.”