The Aprile Crew was one of the eight crews of the DiMeo crime family. Founded in about 1970 by Richie Aprile, the Aprile crew was famous for its high earners and violent (though thoroughly respected) attitude. However, in later years it was infamous for the 'Captain's Curse' it held, a curse that predicted that every capo who ran the Aprile crew would meet a gruesome demise. The crew eventually went defunct in 2006, after the final capo (and ultimate member), Vito Spatafore, was murdered.
Foundation and Richie's first reign (circa.1970-1990) Edit
The crew was founded in about 1970 by mobster Richie Aprile. Richie had been recognized by boss Ercole DiMeo as a rising star in the organisation, and as a reward, was given him permission to "invent" a new crew. Richie's new crew soon gained fame and was rated as one of the top crews in the fast growing mob throughout the 70s and 80s.
Jackie's reign and temporary inactivity (1990-2000) Edit
In 1990, Richie was arrested and given a 10 year sentence. At his own will, while he was in jail, he promoted Aprile Crew Soldier (and younger brother) Jackie Aprile Sr. as new Capo of his crew. The crew soon became even more financially successful than before, with brutal yet clever members running the show, notably Ralphie Cifaretto (a close friend of Jackie's), as well as the Spatafore Bros (Bryan and Vito), who were Jackie and Richie's nephews. In 1995, however, the crew fell into turmoil. Due to the arrest of long-time boss Ercole DiMeo, the family needed a new Boss. Since DiMeo had never appointed an underboss or consigliere within the family, Jackie was seen as the most intelligent person to place as Boss. Jackie, however, out of respect for his brother, decided not to promote any of his crew members to Capo. This was to prevent conflict between the new Capo of the Aprile crew and Richie Aprile, when Richie would be released in 2000. Instead, he decided to transfer his whole crew to Miami, to deal with illegal drug trading issues. Reluctantly, the crew left New Jersey, and Jackie was promoted to Boss. In 1998, Jackie was diagnosed with cancer of the intestines, and eventually died in 1999.
Richie's second reign (2000) Edit
Upon Richie's release from jail in 2000, the new boss (Uncle Junior) and underboss (Tony Soprano) allowed certain members of the Aprile crew to return to New Jersey. This included Vito and Bryan Spatafore (both brothers brought in substantial amounts of money) as well as some new Associates, card dealer "Sunshine", Donny K, and Richie's nephew (Jackie's son) Jackie Aprile, Jr., being introduced to the family. It was clear that the Aprile crew was back in action, though not quite how Richie wanted it to be; being part of the 'old school' mobsters as Tony described it, Richie's violent character was taken with shock rather than respect by the family. A notable overreaction on Richie's part, was his attempted murder on Aprile crew associate Beansie Gaeta, over an old, unimportant money dispute. Richie left Beansie crippled and bleeding on the side of a street, and although still alive, he was forced to retire. Richie also didn't show particular respect for the Underboss, Tony, who was technically acting as Boss while Uncle Junior was in jail (Junior was only titled Boss since he hadn't been given a life sentence). Richie didn't like being pushed around by Tony, and asked Junior if he could execute him. Junior pretended he was on Richie's side, only to reveal to Tony what Richie was intending to do. Tony decided to have Richie murdered. The job wasn't done by the family though; Tony's sister, Janice, was also Richie's fiancee. Richie had a son called Richie Jr., who was part of a ballet class. Richie believed his son was gay, and therefore cut him out of his life, being a strong homophobe himself. Janice soon brought it up in conversation with Richie, who in turn physically hit her with anger. In a shock stricken state, Janice shot Richie with his own gun twice (once in the chest and once in the head). Tony dealt with the body, and although appearing to Janice to be angry, was secretly pleased.
Gigi's reign (2000-2001) Edit
With Richie gone, Tony and Junior had to find a Soldier to promote to Capo of the crew. Due to most of the crew hanging out in Miami, Tony found it hard to pick any suitable mobsters to take on the role. He felt that Vito and Bryan, although good earners, were too inexperienced in terms of leadership. As for Donny K and Jackie Jr., they were only Associates, and besides, Tony was trying to veer Jackie away from crime, an objective he had promised Jackie's father on his deathbed. Therefore, Tony decided to promote someone from his own crew to take charge of the Aprile crew. He picked Gigi Cestone, a hard-working, likeable Soldier, who was also a good friend of Tony's. Junior thought otherwise, trying to tell Tony that it was a bad decision he had made, and although Tony disagreed, he couldn't help but notice that long-time Soldier Ralphie would be a better individual to run a crew. Subsequently, Tony decided bring back the remaining Aprile crew members from Miami. This was Ralphie himself and a long-time Associate (soon to be Soldier) Eugene 'Gene' Pontecorvo. Upon his return, Tony already noticed how Ralphie had changed, in behaviour and attitude - he was much more talkative and jokey, as well completely over the top on certain jokes. He also didn't like Gigi, and tried to make his job as Capo as hard as possible, since he wanted the job himself. The rest of the family also believed that despite his weird and uncalled for behaviour, Ralphie should have got a promotion, not Gigi. However, one evening at the local stripper's bar, Ralphie murdered a stripper, called Tracee, who had been carrying his child. Tony, enraged, punched Ralphie, an action that is a violation of the Mafia law. Tony tried to make it up to Ralphie by offering him a drink, but Ralphie turned it down abruptly. Tony saw this event as a chance to criticise Ralphie's behaviour and to ultimately improve Gigi's reputation as Capo. Tony did this by blanking Ralphie for several days, by calling him out to meals and then sending him home again. However, it was soon clear that the new Aprile crew was working far slower than it had in previous decades, due to Gigi's inadequacy and general incapability. An example of this was when Bryan Spatafore was brutally beaten and put into a coma (forcing him to retire) by Salvatore Intile, a small time criminal and godson to Robert 'Bobby the Terminator' Baccalieri Sr. from the Junior crew. Gigi and Tony agreed that they should have Bobby take out the hit on Intile, though other members disagreed, stating he was too old and it would be dangerous. As predicted, Bobby, although killing Intile, soon died from a car crash whilst driving home, due to the overexcitement and general stress he had just experienced. Tony wondered whether he should demote Gigi and promote Ralphie. Conveniently at this time, Gigi had had a bad stomach-related problem for a while, that had caused him severe bowel and constipation problems. One night in early 2001, at the Aprile crew hideout, Gigi was playing a game a cards with fellow members Vito, Donny K and Gene, when he needed the toilet. Gigi died of a heart attack due to constipation and stress whilst on the toilet, and was found by his fellow crew members soon after. Tony was now faced with the problem of who to promote to Capo.
Ralphie's reign (2001-2003) Edit
Tony saw three possible options as who to promote to Capo - Ralphie, Vito or Donny K. Tony soon ruled out Donny K, since, although he was a good earner, was not a Soldier, and therefore was technically unable to become a Capo. He reluctantly decided to make Ralphie Capo, with Vito as second-in-command. Ralphie's promotion aided and disadvantaged Tony in several ways; it aided him by speeding up the crew's organisational situations, an aspect that former Capo Gigi had slowed down. He was also a high earner, bringing in the most money out of all the Capos. However, he did have his downfalls - Jackie Jr. and Donny K were both victims of his reputation. Ralphie was dating Rosalie Aprile, Jackie Sr.'s wife (and widow). Therefore he got to know Jackie Jr.. Although Tony had specifically told Ralphie to keep him away from crime, Ralphie brought him back into the game, giving him a pistol and also giving him small, violent jobs to do. Jackie Jr. although brought some of his friends into crime, increasing the Aprile crew's size in the Associate department. Jackie Jr.'s friends were Dino Zerilli, a childhood friend and already smalltime crook, and Carlo Renzi, another childhood friend. The trio were unnecessarily violent and ultimately, quite unthoughtful and stupid. In late 2001, Ralphie told them of a story when back in the 1970s, Tony, Jackie Sr. and Silvio 'Sil' Dante robbed Capo Michele 'Feech the King of Breadsticks' La Manna's card game, in order to gain respect from the family. Jackie Jr. decided to do the same with an upcoming card game being held by fellow crew member Gene. The trio assaulted the hideout, only to find that not only were Gene and "Sunshine" were there, but also high ranking Soldiers Christopher 'Chrissy' Moltisanti, Albert 'Ally Boy' Barese, and Furio Giunta. In a moment of shock and frustration, Jackie Jr. let his gun fire at "Sunshine", killing him. An all out fight broke out, leaving Dino and Carlo dead and Furio badly injured. Jackie Jr. fled the scene and went into hiding. Tony told Ralphie that he had to track him down and kill him, since it was ultimately Ralphie's fault in the first place. Ralphie hired Vito and Furio to track him down. They found him in a ghetto on the other side of New Jersey, were Vito took him by surprise and shot him in the back of the head. As for Donny K, he was put into a coma due to Ralphie's insolence; Ralphie had made a joke about Lupertazzi crime family Underboss John 'Johnny Sacks' Sacrimoni's wife, Ginny. One evening in 2002, at a mob supper, Ralphie poked fun at her known obesity by saying she had a '90 pound mole' on her bum. The joke spread until even Johnny Sacks managed to pick up rumours about it. One night while he was in a bar with Lupertazzi Soldier Joseph 'Joey Peeps' Peparelli, Johnny saw Donny K chuckling to himself at the end of the table. Johnny, believing Donny K was laughing about the joke, viciously beat him into a coma. This forced Donny K to retire. Despite Ralphie's eccentric behaviour, however, he was still arguably the best Capo of any crew that there had been for a long time. He also soon gained his popularity with Tony in 2003, when he bought a horse called Pie-O-My. Tony virtually fell in love with the horse, and the two got into horse betting. Soon though, the two started loosing their money due to the Pie-O-My not winning many races. Then one night there was a great fire in the shed where Pie-O-My lived, and the next morning Pie-O-My had to be put down due to his serious injuries. Tony suspected Ralphie had started the fire, since with Pie-O-My gone, the two would stop betting and therefore would be unable to lose anymore money. Though Ralphie denied the fact he set fire to the shed, he said to Tony's face that he was angry that he wasn't able to kill it himself. Tony nonetheless, out of pure shock and anger due to Ralphie's cruel behaviour, started to argue with Ralphie, which soon escalated to a fight to the death in Ralphie's house the morning after the horse died. Tony strangled Ralphie to death and then, with the help of Soldier Christopher Moltisanti, cut up and disposed of the body. With the exception of Tony and Christopher, no one else in the family knew that Tony had killed Ralphie, believing Tony's story that Ralphie may have been murdered by members of the Lupertazzi family on the orders of Carmine Lupertazzi Sr.
Vito's reign (2003-2006) Edit
After Ralphie's death, Tony immediately promoted Vito to Capo, since he was Ralphie's second-in-command and by 2003, there weren't many people left in the Aprile crew to even choose from. From 2003 to 2005, Vito's reign seemed successful and impressive, and Tony soon believed that Vito was an even better Capo that Ralphie. In 2006, when Tony was shot by Junior (Junior had by now developed dementia), Tony was put into a coma. While hoping Tony would recover from his comatose state, many members of the family started to wonder who would take charge if Tony did not recover, many of the members believing that Vito would be the best candidate for Boss. Tony did recover, however, much to Vito's silent dismay. However, in mid-2006, Vito was spotted at a gay bar by a couple of mobsters who were making their collections. Terrified of being found out, Vito went into hiding in New Hampshire, where he met another homosexual, Jim, which led to the two starting a relationship. Meanwhile in New Jersey, the word had spread until everyone in the family, including Tony, new about Vito's secret. Whereas most mobsters wanted blood (in others words, wanted Vito clipped), Tony still thought it was unnecessary to have Vito killed, due to the fact he was such a high earner. Vito returned to New Jersey later that year, in an attempt to rebuild his position in the family. He did this by secretly meeting with Tony in a Mall, where he offered to take control of some of Tony's companies (making Tony's life easier) as well as offering to give him $200, 000. Tony, although tempted by the offer, soon gave in to the other mobsters' needs and ordered Vito's execution. However, when Vito arrived back at his motel room, he was assaulted by Lupertazzi crime family members Dominic 'Fat Dom' Gamiello and Gerald 'Gerry the Hairdo' Torciano. Once they had taped his mouth, his cousin and Lupertazzi crime family Capo Phil Leotardo (who was a strong homophobe) ironically came out of Vito's closet, and watched the two mobsters beat him to death with baseball bats. Vito's body was found floating in the motel's swimming pool the next morning with a pool cue stuck up his rectum. Irony indeed. Vito had been the last member of the Aprile crew, so when he was murdered, the crew was considered defunct. Vito's death also sparked a conflict between the Lupertazzi and DiMeo crime families; although Tony had wanted Vito dead, Phil had no right to kill a New Jersey member without Tony's permission.
Carlo's reign (2006-2007) Edit
Carlo got permission to run this crew after Vito got whacked by Phil Leotardo. he was starting to become a high earner when Tony found out that he turned government witness, and that he would testify in court against Tony. After Tony found out, he asked Paulie if he would run the Aprile crew. Paulie said no because he said that there was a curse on the crew. Paulie, however, later accepted the offer.
List of members of the Aprile crew:
Giacomo 'Jackie' Aprile Sr. - Soldier (circa.1980-1990), Capo (1990-1995), promoted to Boss, died of cancer.
Gigi Cestone - Capo (2000-2001), died of a heart attack.
Ralph 'Ralphie' Cifaretto - Soldier (circa.1980-2001), Capo (2001-2003), murdered by Tony for apparently murdering Tony's horse (Pie-O-My) to save insurance money.
Fabian 'Febby' Petrulio - Soldier (circa.1980), joined the Witness Protection Program, murdered in 1999 by Tony Soprano for ratting out members of the Soprano crew back in the 80's.
Bryan Spatafore - Soldier (circa.1990-2001), retired due to mental injuries caused by Salvatore Intile.
Eugene 'Gene' Pontecorvo - Associate (circa.1990-2001), Soldier (2001-2006), committed suicide due to depression.
Peter 'Beansie' Gaeta - Associate (circa.1980-2000), retired due to severe physical injuries caused by Richard 'Richie' Aprile.
Donald 'Donny K' Kafranza - Associate (2000-2002), retired due to mental injuries caused by Johnny Sacks.
"Sunshine" - Associate (2000-2001), murdered by Jackie Aprile Jr., Dino Zerilli and Carlo Renzi during a card game robbery.
Giacomo 'Jackie Jr.' Aprile Jr. - Associate (2000-2001), murdered by Vito Spatafore on orders of Ralph 'Ralphie' Cifaretto Anthony 'Tony' Soprano, for murdering "Sunshine" and for injuring Furio Giunta.
Dino Zerilli - Associate (2001), murdered by Albert 'Ally Boy' Barese and Christopher 'Chrissy' Moltisanti for murdering "Sunshine" and injuring Furio Giunta.
Carlo Renzi - Associate (2001), murdered by Christopher 'Chrissy' Moltisanti for murdering "Sunshine".