Crime & Justice

Judge Falcone’s sister seeks answers 30 years after brutal murder

Palermo, Italy, May 20 (EFE).- Thirty years after the brutal murder of Giovanni Falcone, Italy’s most high-profile judge, his sister continues to seek justice for his killing.

“I continue to hope that other investigations will give us a complete picture of all those who wanted Giovanni dead,” Maria Falcone, who has spent the last three decades ensuring the judge’s legacy reaches new generations, tells Efe from the family home in Palermo.

Falcone (1939-1992) unpicked the inner workings of the Cosa Nostra criminal organization and through his investigations and partnership with Tommaso Buscetta, who became the first mobster turned informant, broke a pact of silence that up until then protected Mafia bosses.

On May 23, 1992, 500 kilos of explosives blew up in Capaci on the highway between the airport and Palermo killing him, his wife Judge Francesca Morvillo, and three police escorts — a crime attributed to mobster Salvatore ‘Totò’ Riina.

Less than two months later his friend Paolo Borsellino, another well-known anti-mafia judge, was also killed.


According to his sister Maria, “trials have put the entire mafia leadership in jail.”

The 86 year old adds that there is no doubt the Mafia was behind his murder but whether “there was a convergence of interests from other parties, from politics, from finance, I am not able to say so, although there is evidence of an isolated case.”

Several magistrates have postulated that “investigations led to this convergence of interests. However, in these years the Mafiosi have not given big names.”

Buscetta accused seven-time Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of links to the mafia for electoral purposes.

The agreement guaranteed votes for the government in exchange for impunity, but Andreotti’s right-hand man in Sicily, Salvo Lima, was later assassinated, Maria recalls.


Falcone was “the quintessential anti-mafia magistrate”, but in 1980, when “investigating judge (Roco) Chinnici assigned him the first trial, he knew very little about the mafia”.

It was then that the now-infamous Falcone method began to take shape, an investigative technique that involved identifying, tracking and dismantling economic networks.

“I remember all the tables in this house were full of checks,” Maria recalls. “There were no computers then. He and a captain of the Financial Guard went from one to another to establish the links which would later shape the ‘Pizza Connection’ case, which allowed us to discover the relationship between the Italian and American mafia.”


Falcone’s work achieved unprecedented results and led to the 1986 maxi trial where almost 500 Mafiosi were indicted for myriad crimes.

But the judge was slowly but surely isolated, which ultimately led to his murder, says Maria.

His killing backfired though, and “after his death, it was discovered that Palermo society was by his side,” his sister adds.

“That pushed me to do what I’ve done these 30 years,” explains Maria.

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