BRIEF: Son convicted in shocking NYC murder-for-hire conspiracy over family real estate business

A federal jury in Brooklyn on Wednesday convicted Anthony Zottola, Sr. and Himen Ross of murder-for-hire conspiracy and murder-for-hire in the Oct. 4, 2018 killing of Sylvestor Zottola, 71, according to a DOJ press release. Bushawn Shelton, an additional co-conspirator, pleaded guilty to the same charges in August.

The elder Zottola was killed as he waited for a cup of coffee at a McDonald’s drive-thru in the Bronx.

“Over the course of more than a year, the elderly victim, Sylvester Zottola, was stalked, beaten, and stabbed, never knowing who orchestrated the attacks.  It was his own son, who was so determined to control the family’s lucrative real estate business that he hired a gang of hit men to murder his father,” said US Attorney Breon Peace.

The release goes on to include that Zottola’s car had been fitted with a tracking device, allowing Ross to track Zottola to the McDonald’s restaurant where Ross fatally shot the victim multiple times. Ross and Shelton exchanged text messages immediately after the murder. Then, Shelton informed the younger Zottola that his father had been murdered and inquired, “can we party today or tomorrow.” Zottola replied, “I have the cases of water in a day or so.” A photo later recovered from Shelton’s mobile device shows a cardboard box of bottled water along with over $200,000 in banded currency.

More details are available in the full press release from the DOJ.