Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Rise and Fall of Thomas Capano

Gerry Breaks

It was the morning of Friday, June 28th, just before 6:00 a.m.   Gerry walked outside his home and spotted Tom sitting in his black Jeep Grand Cherokee.  He was reading the paper.

Gerry walked over and Tom rolled down his car window.

Sensing something ominous, Gerry asked him, "Did you do it?"

Tom nodded, and then said he needed Gerry's help.

Gerry did not want to get involved.  He wasn't going to risk his home and family.  Tom, a fan of Mafia movies, had told him that someone was trying to extort him.  Gerry believed that Tom had killed the man, and he wasn't about to get close to that.

Gerry's boat
Gerry's boat

Yet Tom insisted that he had no one else to turn to, and reminded Gerry that he'd helped him out of several jams in the past.  Gerry owed him.  All he needed was to use Gerry's fishing boat.  He'd take the body out and dump it in the ocean.  No one would know.  But Tom did not know how to drive the boat.

The cooler
The cooler

Gerry continued to protest, but finally he gave in.  He did some chores and then went to the Grant Avenue mansion where Tom was waiting for him with his former wife's blue Chevy Suburban.  Next to the car was a large white Igloo cooler, wrapped with a chain.  It was two feet high, two and a half feet wide and forty-four inches longlarge enough for a body.  There was also a rug, rolled up.

When they lifted the heavy cooler together, Gerry heard what sounded like ice inside.  He refused to have Tom bring along the rug.  Then they drove together out to Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and boarded The Summer Wind.  Tom reassured Gerry that everything would be fine, nothing would happen to Gerry or his family.  They'd all go back to life as usual.

They drove the boat some sixty miles offshore, to an area known as Mako Alley, saying nothing to each other along the way, except for Gerry's comment, "This is crazy."

They stopped at a point where the ocean's depth was at nearly 200 feet.  Only one other boat could be seen, about a quarter of a mile away.

Together the two men lifted the cooler and hauled it over the side, fully expecting it to sink right away.  To their astonishment, it floated.  Gerry walked over and grabbed his twelve-gauge Mossberg shotgun.  He took aim at the bobbing white cooler and fired.

Immediately, some red liquid seeped out of the hole, but the cooler still did not sink.

It was now out of range, so Gerry had to turn the engines back on and get closer to it.  He was feeling ill over this entire episode.  Why was it so hard to just get this done and go home?

They got close enough to pull the cooler back into the boat.  Tom didn't seem to know what to do next, so Gerry brought him two anchors and dumped them at his feet.

"You're on your own," he said.  Then he walked as far away as he could and tried not to watch.  Nevertheless, he could hear his brother struggle with the lock and chain, and then heard Tom vomit.  He continued to avoid the whole mess, but he knew that Tom was wrapping the body in the chains and anchors. Only when he heard something that was obviously a heavy splash into the ocean did he rejoin his brother.  That was an error.  He should have waited just a moment longer, because he would now be haunted into his dreams by the sight of a human calf and foot disappearing into the water.

Together Tom and Gerry removed the lid from the bloodstained cooler and tossed it overboard, and in the days to come that would prove to be the ultimate undoing of Tom Capano.


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