Goodfellas : Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Tommy killed Billy Batts in 1970. And Tommy was assassinated in 1979. My question is why did they wait 9 years to kill him? Why didn't they do it immediately?

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

The Gambino's played by the rules of the Mafia and Jimmy, Tommy, and Henry did their own thing. If you have a beef with somebody from another family a higher ranking person in your own family is supposed to contact somebody of similar authority in the other family. Then somebody most likely a boss or underboss approves a hit on the guy in question if you have successfully made your argument. Paulie did not approve of a hit until 1979 going by what we see in a movie. Batt's crew should have followed Jimmy's lead and simply made Tommy disappear without complaint to implicate them. Of course that would reduce the satisfaction level of letting them know that you have a problem with Tommy. There are probably other unspoken factors such as the Gambino's needing Paulie's cooperation far worse than Paulie needed the Gambino's at least until Lufthansa when Paulie needed something himself. Paulie might have needed to sacrifice Tommy to make the deal on Lufthansa being that the airport was Gambino turf. This is all in the world of the movie as opposed to the real people in question.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Paulie did as much as he could to save his life

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Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Maybe they didn't find out about Tommy being guilty right away. Eventually, they did and decided to pretend to make him so it would really be an execution. I didn't know the killing was in 1979.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Basically because they didn't have legit proof that Tommy had killed Batts even though Gotti had suspected he did. Gotti was actually in prison when this took place. Then in 1974 Tommy Killed a guy named Foxy who was a associate/protégé of gotti but he wasn't made. So it seemed like Tommy got away with everything. However in the late 1970's Tommy tried to rape Henry Hill's wife Karen Hill who was secretly having a affair with paul Vario. This is what pissed Vario off and he sold out Tommy to the Gambinos.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Nice thought, but of course the thing that people are overlooking here is that Tommy was NOT a Made Man.

He wasn't off limits to Gotti. He could have whacked him without permission from anybody since Gotti was Made and Tommy was just a psycho truck robber Associate.

The Gambinos apparently didn't know about Batts... you'd think that an Associate even suspected of whacking a Made Man would go missing _immediately_.

No sit down, no deliberations... just no more Tommy.

Since they didn't do that, they must not have known he was responsible until he tried to rape Karen Hill, and Paulie gave up the information to the Gambinos.

Even that has a hole, however... Paulie, being a Made Man and a Capo would himself likely be at risk of being popped once it was understood that he had concealed the true killer of their Made Man from them for YEARS. I'm surprised that Paulie didn't get one in the ear too.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

According to Henry Hill's later book (Way of the Wiseguy, I think it was called?), Karen Hill had an affair with Paul Vario (Paulie) while Henry was in prison as a way to secure her and her children's finances. During this same period, Tommy attempted to rape Karen Hill. Karen told Paulie, who had been aware of Tommy DeSimone's role in the real William "Foxy" Devino's death for some time. After finding out that Tommy had assaulted his de facto mistress, Paulie "conveniently" found out about DeSimone's murder of Foxy, and revealed the information to the Gambinos.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Well, it was two guys that Tommy had killed... Billy Batts and Foxy Jerothe (check wiki for proper names), but since one was made and both were buddies with John Gotti, Tommy was a goner if John or that Family found out.

But yeah, the Karen Hill assault attempt is what finally caused the dominoes to fall for Tommy.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Jerothe was not made. He was half native American, half Italian. Around this time the mob started loosening up the rules, especially if your father was Italian (Gotti's mother, for example was Russian, not Italian).

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Interesting conversation.

I was thinking the same thing, that the Gambinos would be angry that Vario would keep information about who killed Batts, who was a "made man" of the Gambinos, while the Goodfellas gang were Luchesse, and like being said before, Tommy was not made, and Gotti or whomever else did not need permission from upstairs to kill him.

How the Gambinos found out that it was Tommy was left out of Goodfellas altogether. In the film, Tommy and Jimmy murdered Batts with Henry as an accomplice. So obviously Tommy, Jimmy and Henry stayed silent for their own protection, and Paulie asking Henry later if he heard anything about this Batts guy because the Gambinos kept pestering him about it. So how did Vario find out? Vario would have to protect his associates because they were good earners.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

I don't think that made men can do as they please without clearing it with somebody in authority for that family. Otherwise there would be continual violence amongst the families. It's not like these guys pretty much liked each other with little exception. Quite a few were hotheads like Tommy who might kill somebody on a whim. This is one of the points of having sit downs which is to say that the bosses will have some type of order or harmony. Having guys come up dead continually is bad for their business especially when earners are getting whacked all over the place.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?


I was thinking the same thing, that the Gambinos would be angry that Vario would keep information about who killed Batts


Yeah, that would be the major hole in Henry's recollection, and as others have pointed out, Henry was a total liar - so who knows. It could be one of the real things he didn't embellish too much, or it could be a complete figment of his imagination.

If the Gambinos thought that Paulie had kept that information from them for years, one would expect that they would then have had a sit down with the Luchesse leadership.

Perhaps the Luchesse boss wouldn't allow the Gambinos to whack Paulie due to his status as a great earner, but if that were the case, at the very least I'd think they would demand a major "tax" on Paulie.


So how did Vario find out? Vario would have to protect his associates because they were good earners.


Vario definitely would want to protect his people, however the instant that protecting one of his guys who was out of line could impact his own standing, I think we all understand that it was a quick decision to "allow liquidation" in order to remain alive and in good standing.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

As I had stated before...

Tommy was a wildcard that Paulie hated. Jimmy and his crew would intentionally get rid of Tommy if Paulie was going to be coming around. Tommy had 2 brothers, both were rats and both were murdered because of it. With that in mind, Paulie didn't trust Tommy and knew that eventually Tommy was going to be a problem.

I am not sure if Paulie knew that Tommy killed Batts, the Gambino's couldn't prove it one way or the other. BUT they could prove that Tommy killed Foxxy, who was John Gotti's protege'. That is what more or less did Tommy in.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?


With that in mind, Paulie didn't trust Tommy and knew that eventually Tommy was going to be a problem.


Yeah, even for that group of people Tommy was way too wild.

I don't think that it was his willingness to commit violent acts, but his stupidity in doing them so publicly that kept him on their radar to always be aware of him.

When he started whacking "people with powerful friends" it was just a matter of time before they clipped him.

I'd love to watch actual surveillance footage of them making the decision to get rid of him - and even them doing him in. Tommy in the film was actually a pretty sane guy compared to the brute he was in real life, plus he was a pretty huge guy and not the little weakling like Pesci is.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Interesting conversation.

I was thinking the same thing, that the Gambinos would be angry that Vario would keep information about who killed Batts, who was a "made man" of the Gambinos, while the Goodfellas gang were Luchesse, and like being said before, Tommy was not made, and Gotti or whomever else did not need permission from upstairs to kill him.

How the Gambinos found out that it was Tommy was left out of Goodfellas altogether. In the film, Tommy and Jimmy murdered Batts with Henry as an accomplice. So obviously Tommy, Jimmy and Henry stayed silent for their own protection, and Paulie asking Henry later if he heard anything about this Batts guy because the Gambinos kept pestering him about it. So how did Vario find out? Vario would have to protect his associates because they were good earners.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

A few people on the thread are saying Tommy tried to rape Karen Hill and she was having an affair with Paulie and thats what caused Paulie to give him up. Im not too sure I buy that.

I mean, its possible it could have happened but the only person to say that was Henry Hill and even that was in the 2nd book. Though I suppose nobody ever asked Vario or Karen Hill.

Keep in mind Henry was incapable of telling the truth. Seems to me that a major detail like that would have been said in Wiseguy. There really isnt a reason to hide it- its not like he was protecting Tommy's honor or anything. I think Henry made it up because it gave him more to say in another book.

What I think happened was that Tommy said/did something to cross the line with Paulie later on and it was probably over money. Or maybe the Gambinos were really turning up the heat on Vario and he had to give somebody up.

But the real answer to the question is who knows with these guys.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

I'm finding that hard to believe too, because that's one of the 'cardinal sins' of the mafia--having an affair with another member's/associate's wife. Of course, it could only apply to made men, and since Henry was only an associate, that's why Paulie went ahead with it.<shrug> But remember the narration in the movie, when Tommy is whacked: "It was revenge for Billy Batts...*and a lot of other things*."

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Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

The real Tommy was whacked only a month after the Lufthansa heist so clearly he didn't get to enjoy any of the loot, unlike Jimmy or Henry.

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

I guess you never heard of the great bullet shortage of the 1970s.

Let me know if I'm on your ignore list.
Thanx!

Re: Why did they wait so long to kill Tommy?

Yes, they waited on killing people because of a bullet shortage. Lmao
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