Former Philadelphia auto shop owner Ronald Galati, convicted last fall of sending hitmen after his daughter's boyfriend in a failed murder-for-hire plot in Atlantic City, was sentenced Monday to 22 years in prison.
No members of Galati's family attended the sentencing hearing in federal court in Camden. Galati, 64, dressed in baggy, dark green prison-issue clothing, made no comments during the proceedings.
Galati, who has maintained his innocence throughout the case, could have received up to 25 years. His defense attorney, Anthony Voci, asked U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to consider home confinement, given Galati's age and health problems, including severe asthma.
Rodriguez said he could not condone the "callous nature" of the crime, which left Andrew Tuono riddled with bullets and fighting for his life.
Tuono, 35, who was shot in a hand, a hip, and the stomach, was the sole witness to testify in Monday's hearing. Dressed in a crisp white shirt and jeans, he told Rodriguez that two of his fingers were paralyzed and that each step brings pain from a bullet lodged in his pelvis.
"Before I got shot, I was living on top of the world," said Tuono, who is no longer dating Galati's daughter, Tiffany. "Part of me and Tiff died when I got shot. ... It's like I went from hitting the lottery to being half-dead."
The former owner of American Collision & Automotive Center in Philadelphia, and an alleged mob associate in the city, Galati was found guilty last year of hiring three hit men to shoot Tuono on Nov. 30, 2013.
Tuono was shot as he walked with Tiffany Galati, who told police she suspected her father's involvement from the start because of his obvious displeasure at her budding relationship with Tuono, one of his friends. Tiffany Galati worked in an Atlantic City spa.
Ronald Galati has two cases pending in Philadelphia's Common Pleas Court - another murder-for-hire case, in which he is charged with conspiring to kill a rival auto shop owner and his son, and an insurance fraud case.
The two-week trial in Camden last fall laid bare the South Philadelphia family's seedy personal dramas, with Tiffany Galati as the star witness against her own father.
She told jurors that a year before the Tuono shooting, she had asked one of the same hitmen to rough up an ex-boyfriend. "Not killed," she testified. "I'm not a murderer. Unlike my father, who actually had bullets firing at me."
She said her father turned on Tuono after their relationship began, that stress from her family's disapproval caused her to have two miscarriages, and that her father's arrest shattered their relationship.
There was no physical evidence in the case, but the two admitted hitmen and their driver all pleaded guilty and testified that Galati hired them.
According to testimony, Galati also told witnesses he wanted Tuono dead, saying he would "kill him myself, I will strangle him, I will poke his eyes out."
Tuono said Monday that the shooting not only robbed him of his health, it took from him Tiffany Galati, whom he called "the love of my life." He said that he still did not know why Galati wanted him dead.
"But there's no doubt in my mind this came from him," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson told Rodriguez that Tuono could have died in the shooting, and that the crime revealed Galati's diabolical and manipulative side.
"Mr. Galati did not think Mr. Tuono was good enough for his daughter," he said. "He was shot because Mr. Galati did not like him."