Judge turns down Montreal mob wife’s request to have husband declared dead

MONTREAL – Maria Rizzuto-Renda has been turned down in her request to have her husband Paolo Renda, an influential figure in the Mafia, declared dead.

Superior Court Justice Claudine Roy rendered her decision in the case earlier this week after having heard testimony from Rizzuto-Renda, 65, and her daughter Domenica Manno, on Jan. 10.

Both told Roy that there has been no sign of Renda since he was apparently abducted near his home in northern Montreal on May 20, 2010.

Both said they sought to have Renda declared dead to get closure and to put an end to things like requests from Revenue Canada for Renda’s declarations.

Normally, Canadian courts require a delay of seven years before declaring someone dead unless there is clear proof they are deceased.

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During the hearing at the Montreal courthouse it was revealed that Renda’s family was informed, “by lawyers,” that he appeared to have been abducted by two men posing as police officers.

Construction workers told police that a black car with a removable siren on top apparently caused Renda, who was out on a conditional release while serving a 2-year sentence, to pull over as he drove along Gouin Blvd. W. in his Lexus sport utility vehicle.

Rizzuto-Renda’s brother is Vito Rizzuto, the alleged leader of the Rizzuto crime organization. The apparent abduction occurred as the Rizzuto organization was under attack while he was serving a 10-year prison term for his role in the 1981 murders of three Mafia captains in New York.

In her decision, Roy described some of Rizzuto-Renda’s testimony as unsupported hearsay.

The judge noted the construction workers were not called to testify and no one from Correctional Service of Canada was called as a witness to say, as Rizzuto-Renda testified, that Renda was warned his life was in danger when he reached his statutory release date weeks before he disappeared.

Roy also noted Renda’s wife claimed that he had a credit card and that it has not been used since he went missing but brought no evidence to support this.

In the conclusion, the judge wrote: “At best, the proof established that Mr. Renda has not seen his wife and daughter since May 2010, but it did not establish his death in a way that is certain, nor the circumstances allowing someone to conclude this.”


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