For Immediate Release
Philadelphia Business Owner Found Guilty of Hiring Hitman, Related Crimes
CAMDEN, N.J. – A federal jury in Camden convicted a Philadelphia business owner today for arranging a murder for hire that led to a shooting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ronald Galati, 63, was found guilty of all four counts in the indictment against him: conspiracy to commit murder for hire; conspiracy to possess and use a firearm during a crime of violence; murder for hire; and aiding and abetting the possession and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Galati was convicted following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court. The jury deliberated for five hours before returning its verdict.
“Ronald Galati hired two men to kill his daughter’s boyfriend outside his home,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “This reprehensible conduct has no place in in civilized society. We are grateful to the jury for bringing Galati to justice.”
According to documents in this case and the evidence at trial:
Beginning sometime before June 2013, Galati began saying that he was going to kill his friend, Andrew Tuono. Galati told witnesses he would “kill him myself, I will strangle him, I will poke his eyes out” and “I am going to stab him right in the forehead with this thing,” referring to a pointed object. In June 2013, Galati, members of Galati’s family and associates had dinner with Tuono at a restaurant in Northfield, New Jersey. During dinner, Galati took Tuono into the kitchen and threatened to kill him.
Galati owned and operated American Collision & Automotive Center in Philadelphia, where Jerome Johnson, 45, also of Philadelphia, sometimes worked for him. Galati and Johnson approached two associates, Ronald Walker, 49, of Philadelphia, and Alvin Matthews, 47, and enlisted them to kill Tuono in a manner that would not implicate Galati. Galati promised to pay Walker $20,000 to shoot and kill Tuono.
Galati provided Johnson with several addresses associated with the intended victim. Johnson and Walker went to Tuono’s in Philadelphia.
Johnson gave Matthews a Colt .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun he had obtained near 60th Street in Philadelphia. On Nov. 30, 2013, Johnson telephoned Walker and Matthews and arranged to meet them. Galati called Johnson and told him that Tuono was in New Jersey.
Thereafter, Johnson drove Walker and Matthews to the area where Tuono lived in Atlantic City. During the drive, Johnson told Walker and Matthews that if there was a woman with Tuono, she was not to be harmed. While in Johnson’s vehicle, Matthews gave Walker the gun Johnson had given Matthews the day before. Johnson then dropped Walker and Matthews off around the corner from Tuono’s home.
Walker and Matthews then stalked Tuono from an alley adjacent to the residence. When Tuono and a woman came out of the house, Walker and Matthews approached them and got Tuono’s attention. Walker shot Tuono multiple times. The victim was transported by ambulance from the scene of the shooting to Atlantic City Medical Center for emergency surgery, where he spent six days.
Walker and Matthews were arrested as they fled from the scene.
The two conspiracy counts and the murder for hire count each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The aiding and abetting firearms count carries a mandatory minimum consecutive prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. A date for sentencing has not yet been set.
Walker, Matthews and Johnson have each pleaded guilty to related offenses and await sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky; and detectives of the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of Chief Henry White, for the investigation the case. He also thanked the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney R. Seth Williams, detectives of the Philadelphia Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Charles Ramsey; and troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Commissioner Frank Noonan, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.