A shocking twist was revealed in the murder case of beloved, neighborhood figure, 71-year-old Sylvester ‘Sally Daz’ Zottola and the attempted murder of his 41-year-old son, Salvatore.
Police arrested Sally Daz’s 41-year-old son, Anthony Zottola, Sr. and four others on murder-for-hire conspiracy and related charges in Larchmont, NY on Tuesday, June 18.
Police believe that Anthony was trying to take over his father’s video game business, which included the lucrative Joker Poker machines. Salvatore worked with his dad installing and repairing juke boxes and other electronic and digital machines that were located in bars, restaurants and private clubs.
“As alleged, Zottola Sr. set in motion a deadly plot to kill his father and brother, with Bloods gang members carrying out extreme acts of violence to collect a payoff for the hits,” stated United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue, who’s prosecuting the case.
The accused Bloods member in charge of the hit was Brooklyn ex-con Bushawn ‘Shelz’ Shelton, according to police. He was picked up just a month after the fatal shooting at a Webster Avenue McDonald’s restaurant drive thru line on Thursday, October 4.
During the planning of the murder, Zotolla, Sr., Shelton and others referred to the premeditated hit as a movie they were producing. He used code language such as “the filming” and the “final scene,” with his father as “the actor” and the hit man as “the director” in text message conversations with Shelton during previous botched hits on the father and son, according to the Eastern District Court.
“The star doesn’t come back… I need this bad that is why I am asking to because I can see the film taking a twist,” Zottola wrote in an email to Shelton on Sunday, November 26, 2017.
“Today was set to be the end finally until the actor wanted to do his own stunts and throw it in reverse in the middle of shooting a scene and drive in the opposite direction,” Shelton replied.
Months later, Zottola allegedly orchestrated a drive-by shooting that targeted his brother Salvatore at his Locust Point mega-home complex that the accused referred to as the ‘boathouse’ at dawn on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
Salvatore was shot multiple times but survived by taking shelter behind a Chrysler mini van as the gunman ran to a getaway car.
Zottola and Shelton corresponded after the shooting, writing that they both had migraines and headaches, implying that the hit wasn’t successful.
The crew had placed “sophisticated tracking devices” on Sally Daz and Salvatore’s vehicles prior to the July shooting, the court said.
Months later, those devices helped pinpoint Sally Daz as he waited for his coffee on the ill-fated drive thru line where he was gunned down while sitting behind the wheel of his car.
Shortly after, a co-conspirator texted Shelton, “Done.” Minutes later, Shelton texted Zottola, Sr., “Can we party today or tomorrow?” In which Zottola responded with coded messages using ‘cases of water’ as reference to the $200,000 payout for the hit, the Eastern District Court confirmed.
“All good. Did you drink the water. Was it the right one,” Zottola wrote to Shelton. He responded, “Definitely was the right one thanks I was able to water the plants and get some of them squared away,” according to the court.
When Zottola was arrested, police said they recovered approximately $100,000 from his Westchester home.
Other conspirators arrested with Zottola were: 31-year-old Jason Cummings (also known as ‘The Hat and ‘Stacks’) from Brooklyn, 36-year-old Alfredo Lopez (‘Aloe’) of Manhattan, and 32-year-old Julian Snipe (‘Biz and Bizzzy’) from the Bronx.
The fatal shooting occurred after Sally Daz, a Pelham Bay resident, was returning from a scheduled court appearance that involved his illegal discharging of a weapon during one of the prior alleged failed hits.