A Westchester man who hired a gangster to have his father whacked at a Bronx McDonald’s drive-thru more than four years ago was sentenced along with the hitman on Friday to serve life behind bars.
Anthony Zottola Sr., 45, of Larchmont, was sentenced April 14 for orchestrating the October 2018 death of his 71-year-old father, Sylvester Zottola, in a bid to take over his family’s multimillion-dollar real estate company.
The gunman, Himen Ross, 37, of the Bronx, who executed the 71-year-old at a McDonald’s drive through in the Bronx, was also sentenced to life in prison.
Both men had been convicted on murder charges following a six-week trial in October 2022. According to court records, Ross and his gang accomplices killed Sylvester Zottola after several prior attempts.
“Over the course of more than a year, the elderly victim, Sylvester Zottola, was stalked, beaten, and stabbed, never knowing who orchestrated the attacks,” said Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. “It was his own son, who was so determined to control the family’s lucrative real estate business, that he hired a gang of hit men to murder his father.”
According to prosecutors, Anthony Zottola Sr., who helped manage his father’s real estate company along with his brother Salvatore Zottola, recruited hit men to kill his father and his brother so that he could take over the family business.
Sylvester Zottola had built a residential real estate portfolio that was valued at tens of millions of dollars at the time of his death.
Anthony Zottola, according to court documents from the trial, hired co-conspirator Bushawn Shelton, a 38-year-old Brooklyn resident, to kill his father and his brother. Shelton, who pleaded guilty to murder charges in October and awaits sentencing for his role in the killing, recruited several fellow gangsters to commit the murders, including Ross.
The hitmen carried out a number of violent attacks on both Sylvester Zottola and Salvatore Zottola over the course of a year.
Among the attempts, Sylvester Zottola was menaced at gunpoint by a masked individual in November 2017. The following month, three men then invaded Sylvester Zottola’s home and struck him on the head with a gun, stabbed him multiple times, and slashed his throat. The 71-year-old survived the attack.
Then in July 2018, a gunman shot Salvatore Zottola in the head, chest, and hand in front of his residence. Salvatore survived the shooting.
According to court records, the conspirators killed Sylvester Zottola on Oct. 4, 2018, after placing a tracking device on his car. Ross tracked him to a McDonald’s restaurant on Webster Avenue in the Bronx where Ross fatally shot the 71-year-old while the victim waited to pick up a cup of coffee in the drive-through.
Ross and Shelton exchanged texts immediately after the hit, and then Shelton and Anthony Zottola exchanged texts, in which Anthony was informed that his father had just been murdered.
Shelton texted Anthony Zottola: “Can we party today or tomorrow?”
Anthony Zottola then assured Shelton that he would have Shelton’s payment for carrying out the murder.
Peace said that justice had finally been served: “For sentencing his father to a violent death, Anthony Zottola and his co-defendant will spend the rest of their lives in prison.”