Fitness owner charged in '03 murder

September 24, 2008 2:50:51 PM PDT
A Suffolk County man was charged in connection with the 2003 murder of the brother-in-law of heavy metal artist Dee Snider, a killing to cover-up a previous murder of an armored car guard, according to police. 39-year-old Christopher Tarantino, the part-owner of Synergy Fitness Club in Farmingdale, was arrested by FBI agents at his Dix Hills home this morning.

He will be arraigned at Federal Court in Central Islip.

Tarantino and several others are suspected of carrying out the armed robbery of an armored van, operated by Mid-Island Check Cashing, in Muttontown in June 1994.

During the robbery, co-conspirator Louis Dorval allegedly fatally shot one of the guards, Julius Baumgardt.

Police say, Tarantino and the others fled with $100,000 from the hold-up.

After learning that Dorval told at least one other person of the killing, and would flee rather than face going to jail, Tarantino and others allegedly decided to get rid of him.

Tarantino and other unnamed suspects killed Dorval in August 1994, according to the federal indictment, put his body in a plastic tool trunk and dumped it into the Atlantic Ocean.

The body was recovered by the Coast Guard two days later.

The indictment alleges that Tarantino and the others killed Dorval to prevent him from spilling the beans on the armored car murder and a December 1993 burglary of a Filene's Basement store in Manhasset.

The 34-year-old brother-in-law of rocker Dee Snider secretly recorded Tarantino admitting his involvement in the Baumgardt and Dorval killings, according to the indictment.

That lead to the fatal shooting of the brother-in-law, Vincent Gargiulo, near the intersection of 30th Street and Broadway in August 2003.

Gargiulo, an iron worker, was walking to the construction site where he worked when he was gunned down.

According to police, The killing was committed by an individual hired by Tarantino, to prevent Gargiulo from turning over the tape to law enforcement.

Gargiulo is described by federal authorities as a "Tarantino associate."

Still unsolved is the disappearance of a key witness to the murder, 32-year-old Justin Bressman.

Bressman's 1991 Nissan turned up torched in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in October, after his parents reported they were unable to find him.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Scott Curkin

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