Joseph (Joe) "Mad Dog" Sullivan (born March 31, 1939-died June 9, 2017)  was an Irish-American gangster and notorious Genovese crime family hitman. He started committing robberies at age 12, eventually graduating to murder. In and out of jail, including an escape from Attica, he continued to carry out hit orders from the mob, and was eventually given three life sentences, a veritable life sentence. It is believed by the FBI that Sullivan murdered over 100 people for the Genovese crime family.
Early Life Edit
Born one of six children to Joseph Sullivan, Sr., a New York City police detective in Queens, NY, his life was turned upside-down at the age of 13, when his father died. To ease some of his mother's burden, Sullivan was sent to live with relatives after his father's passing. But the new arrangement did not work out, and Sullivan returned home. The situation at home, however, wasn't any better. By this time, his mother become an alcoholic, turning to drinking as a way to manage her grief.
Sullivan ran away in 1953 and ended up at a reform school in Warwick, New York. Sullivan made several attempted escapes from the school, landing in and out of other reformatories for the next few years. He was finally released at the age of 19. In desperate straits, he ended up enlisting in the U.S. Army. Sullivan was caught for leaving without permission, and sent to Governors Island. According to his autobiography, he didn't stay for long. Sullivan escaped from the facility and swam his way back to Manhattan.
Sullivan was quickly captured, but he faked a mental illness to avoid a court martial and jail time. Instead he was sent to the Valley Forge Army Hospital for a time.
Sullivan started committing robberies around the age of 12, eventually graduating to murder. He killed a man during a bar fight, and was arrested in 1965 for the crime. Two years later, Sullivan was convicted of manslaughter and given a 20- to 30-year sentence. He ended up serving his time at the legendary Attica Correctional Facility. Sullivan allegedly earned the unflattering nickname "Mad Dog" from fellow inmates during this time, due to a lifelong undiagnosed salivary gland disorder.
After four years in Attica, Sullivan accomplished a seemingly impossible feat. He was able to escape from the prison, which was thought to be escape-proof. On April 7, 1971, Sullivan made his way outside the prison walls and got a ride to the local bus station from someone waiting in the Attica parking lot. He was captured a few weeks later while walking down a street in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood. Sullivan was caught carrying a sawed-off shotgun at the time.
A few years after his return to prison, Sullivan had help forming his next escape plan. Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark worked as his lawyer and aided him in winning parole in December 1975. Release from prison did not mean Sullivan returned to society a reformed man. Working for the Genovese crime family, he single-handedly executed 30 members of an Irish-American criminal organization headed by Mickey Spillane during the summer of 1976.
In 1977, Sullivan got married. He and his wife Gail eventually started a family, becoming parents to two boys, Ramsey and Kelly. But all of this domestic bliss did not sway Sullivan away from his criminal life, either. He was considered a suspect in the murder of Irish mob boss Mickey Spillane that occurred that same year, but Sullivan was never charged in the crime. He also murdered Tom "the Greek" Kapatos. Sullivan was allegedly one of the 5 hitmen that executed Bonanno crime family boss Carmine Galante on behalf of the The Commission.
For much of the summer of 1978, he tried to carry out the hit on Galante, but failed. The efforts of a heavily armed team of hit men did what Sullivan couldn't the following summer—they shot Galante to death at a Bushwick, Brooklyn restaurant.
Arrest and Trial Edit
It is believed that Sullivan murdered over 100 people for the Genovese crime family. A consummate professional, he trained before completing an assignment. "Two or three days before I would go to this park near my house and run, not fast, just jogging. I wanted to be by myself, prepare myself mentally, sort of go through a dry run," he later explained to the Centre Daily Times.
Sullivan handled his final hit in 1981. He was hired to kill John Fiorino, a Teamsters Union official and reported mafia member. Waiting outside a restaurant near Rochester, New York, Sullivan shot Fiorino with a shotgun. Trying to flee the scene, his car got stuck in a snowbank. His associate, who was driving the car, was soon caught, but Sullivan escaped by hiding in the snow for roughly eight hours. After his eventual arrest, the police then linked him to two other murders that took place on Long Island.
Sullivan was convicted of the Fiorino murder and two other killings in 1982. He was given three life sentences. He was later transferred to Sullivan Correctional Facility located in Fallsburg, New York.
Sullivan died on June 9, 2017 at Fishkill Correctional Facility in Hudson Valley, NY, while serving out an 87 year sentence.   He would not have been eligible for parole untile 2069, which was and turned out to be a veritable life sentence for a convicted killer who was in his seventies.
- ↑ Joseph Sullivan Obituary. Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush Funeral Home (ssqfuneralhome.com). Retrieved on July 27, 2017.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Ex-Mob Hit Man 'Mad Dog' Sullivan Dies in NY State Prison", US News & World Report, June 16, 2017. Retrieved on July 27, 2017.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Joseph "Mad Dog" Sullivan biography. Biography.com. Retrieved on July 27, 2017.
- ↑ "Joseph 'Mad Dog' Sullivan, Rochester mobster and Attica escapee, dies in prison", NewYorkUpstate.com, June 16, 2017. Retrieved on July 27, 2017.