“Contractors,” Michael Docimo, a retired Stamford officer, called them: “They’d do anything for pay.”
Mr Bratsenis was “kind of a loose cannon” with a “certain viciousness”, Captain Conklin said. At 6ft 2in and over 200lbs, he was also physically intimidating – a quality he used, Mr Docimo said, as “muscle” for Larry Hogan, a retired Stamford police lieutenant and target longtime law enforcement scrutiny of his alleged links. drug trafficking and organized crime. (Mr. Hogan was convicted in 1982 of attempting to buy heroin from undercover federal agents. The verdict was overturned on appeal.)
Mr. Bratsenis’ main partner was Louis Sclafani (he called himself Trigger Lou). From 1979 to 1983, according to court records, they experienced a whirlwind of crimes: jobs at a Connecticut bank; robbery arrests in Florida; jewelry store robberies and gun and drug convictions throughout New Jersey.
In 1980, the bullet-riddled body of David Avnayim, aka the Turk, was found in a car trunk near Mr Hogan’s home. Four years later, Mr. Bratsenis, Mr. Sclafani and Mr. Hogan were charged with the murder. Mr. Hogan died before the trial. Mr. Sclafani cooperated. Mr. Bratsenis pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to murder.
David Golub, a lawyer who represented Mr Hogan, said in an interview that he had read information about the murder in which Mr Bratsenis was now implicated.
“Is this about George Bratsenis raising his ugly head?” Mr Golub said when he answered the phone, adding: ‘If he’s been out of jail for more than a day, it’s just luck.
Mr. Bratsenis’ spree ended in 1983 when he was arrested and charged in one of the New Jersey jewelry store robberies. Prior to his trial there, he was convicted of robbing two banks in Stamford. (Mr. Sclafani again cooperated.) He was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for the robberies and 10 to 20 years, to be served concurrently, for the murder of the Turk.