DiSimone sentencing: scenes from the courthouse

Emotionally devastated but passionately determined, the Balancio family of Yonkers shared their pain, grief and suffering in court today at the sentencing of Anthony DiSimone (left), who admitted to killing 21-year-old Louis Balancio  in a street brawl in Yonkers in 1994.

DiSimone, who served seven years in prison for the crime before his conviction was overturned due to evidence withholding, took a plea deal in which he would be sentenced to time served.   The family’s victim impact statements at the sentencing were heart-wrenching.

Parents Dorothy and Jeff Balancio came to the Westchester County Court with their 31-year-old son, Jeffrey, and many supporters. Dorothy Balancio’s wracking sobs filled the courtroom as her son and husband gave their victim’s impact statements. After she made her statement, tears ran down her face as she hugged her remaining son, Jeffrey, who said his brother’s slaying has left such a void that, when he gets married next October, he will have no best man.

Sitting next to Dorothy Balancio was Joanne Cicero, whose son, 17-year-old Paul Cicero, was killed in 1995 on a Bronx street by a reputed member of the Tanglewood Boys — the same mafia-related gang in which DiSimone was a reputed member. Cicero’s killer, John “Fat Face” Petrucelli, is serving a life sentence.

Outside the courthouse, where cameras were waiting, the Balancios said they were not surprised that DiSimone neither apologized nor made a statement in court. They shared their wish for a government registry of murderers – similar to the state’s registry of sex offenders – so people know when a convicted killer is living next to them.

The family then went to Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson to visit Louis’ grave site.

Judge to lawyers in DiSimone case: You got 9 weeks

State Supreme Court Justice Lester Adler had an order for the Westchester District Attorney’s office: give me a list of every document you have in the case against Anthony DiSimone.

“Given the history of this case, I think that would be a good start,” he said.

Boxes of court transcripts and other evidence had been been withheld by Westchester County prosecutors during DiSimone’s first trial — the reason his conviction was thrown out. DiSimone is being retried for murder in the 1994 stabbing death of Louis Balancio, the son of a former Yonkers city councilman.

Just selection is set to start Oct. 4.

Adler told Assistant District Attorney Timothy Ward and defense lawyer Murray Richman that they must cooperate for the next two months. Richman will get to see the document list that the DA will turn over the judge and Richman will get to choose which papers he wants to see. The DA’s office must make copies of any statements of witnesses who will testify at trial — known as rosario material — at its own expense. Meanwhile, Richman must get any and all relevant documents from DiSimone’s past attorneys and pay any copying charges out of pocket.

“I realize this may be burdensome to both sides,” Adler said. “I’m going to see that it gets done. I’m going to make sure this case doesn’t go off track.”

Adler ordered both sides to fax him a letter by July 28 updating him on the sharing of discovery material. If there is any dispute, he said, both sides will be in his courtroom the next day to resolve the matter. He said he would shorten his vacation if he needs to settle a dispute between the lawyers.

“There’ll be no excuses from here on in,” the judge said. “We have nine weeks to get this done.”

DiSimone, now 43, can’t be retried for intentional murder because he was acquitted of that. He was convicted on a charge of depraved-indifference murder of Balancio, a college student, who was stabbed 13 times during a brawl outside a bar on Feb. 4, 1994.

He was serving 25 years to life in the killing of Balancio when a federal judge overturned his conviction in 2005, finding that the DA’s office withheld evidence, particularly police statements that pointed to another man as the killer.

DiSimone, described by authorities as a member of the mob-linked Tanglewood Boys gang, went on the lam after the killing, but walked into a Yonkers police station in 1999 and surrendered. He remains free on $500,000 bail.