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Bond denied in death of Cicero pizzeria owner Giovanni Donancricchia

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bond was denied Saturday for a 25-year-old Chicago man charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted armed robbery in the shooting death of a west suburban pizzeria owner.

PHOTOS: Albano's Pizza surveillance images

At 12:33 a.m. on Thursday, Angela Donancricchia was working near the cash register of Albano's Pizza, 5913 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Cicero, after closing time, a police news release said.

Her husband Giovanni had seen the offender enter the business through an open back door and had followed behind him to the counter area where the man had confronted his wife, the release said.

After Giovanni saw the man with the gun, he physically confronted the intruder, giving his wife time to escape from the area. Giovanni followed her out but then returned to confront the offender again and was shot once in the chest, police said. The gunman then fled the business on foot southbound through the alley.

On Thursday night a witness who knows the offender came forward and told police that Brown-Turner was watching TV news and said that he was involved the shooting death at the pizza place, according to police.

The witness called Cicero police and gave detectives Brown-Turner's name and address. Detectives, tactical officers and patrol officers went to that address where a surveillance was set up.

At approximately 2 a.m. Friday, Brown-Turner showed up and was taken into custody. During subsequent interviews he made statements implicating himself in the attempted robbery and the murder of Mr. Donancricchia, police said.

"I'm just glad it happened however it happened," said Bill Fleischer, victim's son-in-law.

While the arrest won't bring Giovanni Donancricchia back, his son-in-law is grateful the man accused of killing this popular Cicero pizza place owner early Thursday morning is behind bars.

"We're very pleased and very happy that the arrest happened very, very quickly. We're very happy and proud of the Cicero Police Department," Fleischer said.

Matthew Brown-Turner appeared in bond court today, charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted armed robbery.

As proof, Cicero police released surveillance camera stills which allegedly show Brown-Turner pointing a gun at Donancricchia while his wife escapes the store.

The shooting happened seconds after these images were captured.

But it wasn't the pictures that led detectives to Brown-Turner.

A statement released earlier by a Cicero spokesperson says Brown-Turner confessed the crime to a friend of his as they watched the evening news reporting what had happened. It was that friend that called police.

And while the pizza place that Donancricchia and his wife have run for the last 25 years remains closed for now, his family says the arrest makes them feel better about re-opening.

"It makes us feel safer. We plan on going back into the restaurant and getting it up and going and re-establishing it at some point soon. It might not be as soon as we think we can do it because it's been difficult for all of us on and off. At times we keep it together. At others we fall apart," said Fleischer.

Giovanni Donancricchia, 64, came to Chicago from Sicily in 1968 at the age of 19. He worked odd jobs -- at a pizzeria, as a garbage man -- until he had enough money to buy a pizzeria of his own. He had always wanted to start a restaurant, even in Sicily, his son Saverio said.

"Giovanni Donancricchia was a real hero," Cicero Town spokesman Ray Hanania said in a statement Saturday morning. "When he discovered that an unknown person had entered his restaurant from the backdoor with a weapon, and confronted his wife Angelea, his first concern obviously was for his wife's safety. With a disregard for the threat the killer posed to him, he ushered his wife out of the restaurant and harm's way, which saved her. He then returned to confront the suspect when he was shot and killed.

"Mr. Donancricchia is a true hero that he would do everything possible to protect someone he loved," Hanania said. "Town President Larry Dominick and the Town of Cicero offer their condolences to the Donancricchia family."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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