Western Brooklyn

Conviction For ‘Son Of Sal’ Killer Who Lurked (And Danced) In Bensonhurst

Source: Brooklyn District Attorney's Office
Source: Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office

A Staten Island salesman who was often spotted at neighborhood dance halls has been convicted for the murder of three shopkeepers — two with businesses in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge — in the summer and fall of 2012.

Salvatore “Son of Sal” Perrone, 67, was convicted today of three counts of second-degree murder following a jury trial, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has announced.

Perrone used the same rifle in all three murders and forensic evidence linked to them to shell casings left at the crime scenes, according to prosecutors.

“A mountain of evidence connected this serial killer to these murders, which took the lives of three decent, honest and hard-working business owners who all left behind devastated families. Thankfully, this ruthless and cold-blooded killer will now spend the rest of his life locked behind bars and Brooklyn will be much safer because of that,” said Thompson.

Just hours after the gruesome slaying of one of his victims, storeowner Rahmatollah Vahidipou, Perrone danced the night away at Bensonhurst’s Crystal Dance club, his girlfriend Natasha Charaova testified at the Brooklyn Supreme Court in January, according to the New York Daily News.

“(He seemed) the same, I don’t see any change,” she added in a thick Russian accent, describing Perrone’s behavior while he boogied down. “He’s a dancer, he’s a talker … he (was) dancing … he was talking to people.”

Charova identified Perrone, 66, and herself on surveillance tape taken in the club, which was played for the jury.

She said Perrone, then her boyfriend of five years, accompanied her home after the club, and spent the next four days at her Brooklyn pad before cops finally nabbed him.

The killer allegedly shot Mohamed Gebeli, 65, once in the neck, killing him, inside the victim’s Bay Ridge clothing on July 6, 2012. Nearly a month later, Perrone shot Isaac Kadare, 59, once in the head and then slit his throat inside the victim’s 99 cent store in Bensonhurst.

Kadare’s daughter Clemence testified to seeing Perrone walk into the 86th Street store on the day of her father’s murder, at this month’s Supreme Court hearings.

“He bought a can opener. I told him, ‘Thank you’ and to have a nice day, and all he did was stare at me in the eyes,” she recounted, according to the Daily News.

On November 16, 2012 the defendant fatally shot Vahidipour, 78, in the head, face, and chest inside the victim’s boutique in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, said the DA.

Source: NYPD
Source: NYPD

After the third homicide, a photo and video of the defendant carrying a black duffle bag near the third crime scene was shared with the media.

After Perrone’s arrest on November 21, 2012 the Daily News’ columnist Denis Hammil compiled reactions from Bensonhurst locals, who recognized crazed serial killer’s face on television after the arrest. They described an mousy lurker — “a nobody” — who was a regular face at Knights of Columbus dances and local cafes:

“If people knew this lone-wolf wacko was out there whacking people he would have been stopped,” said one old Bensonhurst street guy. “But this Perrone was an empty-suit nobody, a mouse that you knew just by his neighborhood face. You didn’t think he could kill time, never mind three people in cold blood.”

“For some reason, I knew his daughter was a cashier at a local supermarket,” one neighborhood guy says. “We went to the same barber. He wasn’t a ‘connected’ guy. Just a guy you’d see in the pork store or the bakery on 18th Ave. When I seen his face in the Daily News as the Son of Sal I could place him in the local cafés, sippin’ an espresso, always with a big fat long cigar, smoothin’ his thinning hair all the time. Heard he liked to gamble. Last thing you’re thinking is this guy is a serial killer outta some ‘Criminal Minds’ rerun.”

“Everybody sees Perrone’s picture in the Daily News and on TV,” says the Bensonhurst guy. “Thirty guys know who he is, but nobody knows-knows him. Sal Perrone is a well-dressed loner obsessed with his thinning hair who liked gambling and broads. His thing was going to the John Hughes Knights of Columbus, on 13th Ave. and 86th St., for the middle-aged singles dances.”

Another neighbor of Perrone’s, described the man as a wannabe tough guy who probably “watched ‘The Godfather’ too many times.”

A search at Perrone’s girlfriend’s home led to the recovery of the duffle bag, which contained a rifle registered to the defendant, a knife with blood matching Kadare’s, and blood stains matching Vahidipour’s were found on the bag itself, according to the DA.

An abundance of forensic evidence linked Perrone to the slayings. His fingerprints and DNA were found all over the murder weapon, and cell phone data and surveillance videos placed him in the vicinity of the second and third homicides, the evidence showed. All three victims were killed around their stores’ closing time and their bodies were covered with clothes or other items in an apparent attempt to conceal the murders.

Though Perrone allegedly suffers from “severe personality and delusional disorder,” he was declared fit for trial. He will be sentenced on March 4 and faces 75 years to life in prison.

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