Trial in absentia for most-wanted mafioso

Luminosity Italia

Nearly 25 years after he helped organize bomb attacks that killed famed anti-mafia prosecutors, fugitive Matteo Messina Denaro will be tried in absentia in Caltanissetta, Sicily beginning March 13.

Long one of Interpol’s most wanted men, Denaro has not been seen in public for more than two decades.

On Jan. 23 a judge in Caltanissetta approved the trial of the mafia leader on charges he helped organize high-profile 1992 bombings that killed magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in separate attacks.

Now 53, Denaro has been on the run since 1993. An informant in 2014 helped authorities make a facial composite of the mafia boss now charged with participating in the 1991 meeting to plan Falcone's assassination.

Sometimes known in mafia circles as Diabolik, a nickname derived from an Italian comic book character of the same name, Denaro is among the 10 most-wanted criminals in the world.

Matteo Messina Denaro
One of the few known photos of Matteo Messina Denaro.

Sicilian mafia boss of all bosses Toto Riina has already been convicted of chairing the meeting that ordered hits on Falcone and Borsellino and is serving out multiple life sentences in a maximum-security prison.

Falcone was assassinated by a massive remote-detonated bomb on the Palermo airport highway along with his wife Franvesca Morvillo and three police escorts on May 23, 1992. Borsellino was killed by a car bomb on July 19, 1992 near his mother’s home in Palermo in an attack that also took the lives of five policemen.

Both fallen anti-mafia magistrates are considered heroic figures in Italy today and continue to be honored for their courageous battle against the well-entrenched Sicilian mafia.