Christian Tarantino, the owner of Synergy Fitness clubs on Long Island, NY, and New York City, was sentenced last month to three terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his role in the murders of three men between 1994 and 2003.
Following jury trials in 2011 and 2012, Tarantino, 46, was convicted of participating in an armored car robbery in June 1994 during which a 47-year-old guard was shot and killed; orchestrating the August 1994 murder of an associate in that robbery, whose body Tarantino dumped from a boat several miles off the coast of Long Island; and conspiring to murder a long-time confidant, Vincent Gargiulo, who had threatened to take evidence of the first two murders to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Gargiulo, the brother-in-law of Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider, had secretly made a tape recording of Tarantino discussing the killings of Julius Baumgardt, the armored car driver, and Louis Dorval, Tarantino's accomplice. Before the FBI obtained the tape recording, Tarantino hired a Synergy Fitness gym employee to kill Gargiulo for $35,000. The gym employee shot Gargiulo on Aug. 18, 2003, and he was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.
In May 2011, a jury convicted Tarantino of participating in the murders of Baumgardt and Dorval but failed to reach a verdict on the Gargiulo murder charges. Following a retrial in May 2012, a second jury convicted Tarantino of conspiracy to murder Gargiulo to obstruct justice. Each of the counts of conviction carried mandatory life terms of imprisonment.
“For almost a decade, Christian Tarantino was a one man crime spree, engaging in armed robbery, murder, and murder conspiracy to cover his tracks,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement released by the FBI. “He controlled his confederates the old-fashioned way—by murdering them. As this investigation and prosecution demonstrate, law enforcement will never halt its efforts to ensure that murderers are brought to justice. Tarantino thought that human life was his to take. He will now spend the rest of his life contemplating the just results of his actions.”
According to the Associated Press, Tarantino, who has Parkinson's disease, insisted he was innocent of the crimes. Prior to his sentencing, he said, with his arms shaking: "Talk about suffering? You can count on it. I am. I feel sorry for the families (of the victims). I am going through my own personal hell, which I am sure will make you happy."
Tarantino's attorney has said he will appeal the convictions.