Archive for the ‘organized crime’ Category

The Rise and Fall of Tony Spilotro

February 6, 2017

The manuscript is at the publisher and is in the second of three phases of editing. When the editing is completed, the cover will be designed and we’ll go on the production schedule. I’m hoping the book will be released by early May.

Our current plan is to do a kickoff book signing at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.


Denny Griffin, true crime author


A Mother’s Resolve

February 2, 2017

The Debi Whitlock Case

On March 25, 1988, 32-year-old Debi Whitlock was murdered at her home in Modesto, California. Her throat was slit and her dead body sexually assaulted while her three-year-old daughter slept in a nearby bedroom. Initially, Harold Whitlock, Debi’s husband, was the chief suspect in his wife’s death. But he wasn’t charged and no arrests were made. For the next nine years Debi’s mother, Jacque MacDonald waged a determined but uphill battle to get justice for her daughter.

Jacque knew that the best chance to develop new investigative leads required keeping the case alive in the minds of the public. In order to do that she had to get the media involved. She reached out to programs such as America’s Most Wanted again and again without success. The frustration Jacque experienced could have caused her to give up, to accept that her daughter’s murder might never be solved. It could have, but it didn’t. If anything, she became even more determined.

As she fought to get Debi’s case the attention it deserved, Jacque realized there were probably other parents—she prefers to call them “walking wounded” rather than victims—who were going through the same things she was. To help others she created her own local radio and TV shows called The Victim’s Voice ( The show profiled unsolved homicide cases and included interviews with police officials and members of the victim’s family. Jacque felt it was very important to have a family member involved to give a face and voice to their deceased loved one.

Setting up and running her show took a lot of time. But Jacque didn’t let that interfere with her efforts to track down Debi’s killer. She learned what resources were available to her in the community. Among them were the Merced County Victim/Witness Program and Citizens Against Homicide ( Both proved invaluable to her in her struggle.

Not long afterward Jacque had something she’d long desired. A billboard was put up with Debi’s photo and a plea for help in finding her murderer. Eventually that billboard would pay huge dividends. After that America’s Most Wanted and other national shows picked up the story.

In 1997 Scott Avery Fizzell was arrested for Debi’s murder. The friend of Fizzell who gave the police the information that led to the arrest explained why he finally came forward. Debi’s photo on the billboard haunted him to the point he felt compelled to name the killer. On May 26, 1999 Fizzell pled guilty to the murder.

In addition to accomplishing what she’d set out to do, Jacque’s tenacity earned her the National Crime Victim’s Service Award from the United States attorney general. And in 2009 the story of Debi’s murder and Jacque’s quest was released in a book authored by Debi’s step-daughter, Angela Dove, titled No Room For Doubt (

The Rise and Fall of Tony Spilotro

January 26, 2017

The manuscript is currently undergoing Phase I editing with the publisher. There will be two more phases of editing followed by formatting and cover design. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get on the production schedule by spring.


Denny Griffin, true crime author



Crime Wire Internet Radio Announces Crime Wire Case Review Services

January 21, 2017

Mission Statement

The purpose of Crime Wire Case Review Services (CWCRS) is to provide answers to questions and concerns regarding the death investigation of your loved one. A volunteer panel of forensic, law enforcement and investigative professionals will provide an independent objective viewpoint based on existing evidence and/or records submitted to CWCRS for review. These experts evaluate materials looking for evidence that needs to be followed up, findings that may have been misinterpreted, areas that need further investigation and inconsistencies or conflicting information.

CWCRS is not an investigative agency and it does not charge any fees for its services. Below are things we are unable or able to do.CWCRS Volunteers Cannot:

 Investigate a case

 Serve as an “expert” witness

 Identify a suspect

CWCRS Volunteers CAN:

 Seek additional expert opinions as needed

 Provide answers

 Offer suggestions regarding further action

 Provide information to help re-open a case

 Help a family obtain a sense of resolution about a loved one’s sudden death

 Concur with original findings

In most cases, families will receive a written opinion of the case.

Please keep in m mind that CWCRS reviews cases—we do not investigate. That means the value of the review—or whether we can even perform one—will depend on the number of reports, other documents and photos you are able to provide. The more information the Panel members have to look at, the better.

If you are interested in having a review done and believe you have in your possession or can gather sufficient materials, please send an email requesting submission guidelines to with “Case Review” in the Subject line.


Denny Griffin, co-host of Crime Wire





The Rise and Fall of Tony Spilotro

December 29, 2016

When Frank Cullotta and I began writing this manuscript we used the working title, Tony Spilotro- How the Chicago Mob Lost Las Vegas. It was true that Tony had made some bad decisions while functioning as the boss of Las Vegas. Those decisions helped cost the Mob control of Las Vegas and they also cost Tony his life.

As we proceeded with the story we knew the original title didn’t exactly capture what we wanted to say. We wanted to talk about Tony and what made him tick; about the chinks in the armor of the otherwise perfect Mob enforcer that made him expendable. We wanted to explain how Tony came to be the Mob’s man in Vegas, Arizona and Southern California and then lose it all and his life along with it. We changed the title, but included the Chicago Outfit’s ouster from Sin City with the story of Tony’s personal demise.

Books Make Great Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

December 18, 2016

See if any of my works tickle your fancy or satisfy your need as a gift for someone else. They are all available on

True Crime/History

Note: Fans of the movie Casino and/or Las Vegas will be interested in The Battle for Las Vegas or CULLOTTA. Surviving The Mob is a true story from the streets of New York.

The Battle for Las Vegas–The Law vs. the Mob. The real story of the era dramatized in the 1995 blockbuster movie Casino.

CULLOTTA–Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster and Government Witness. The biography of Chicago Outfit associate Frank Cullotta and his decades-long career as a master thief and Mob killer.

Surviving The Mob. The story of Gambino crime family associate Andrew DiDonato.

La Bella Mafia is the inspiring true story of a girl who overcame years of verbal, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her own family.

Policing Las Vegas. A history of law enforcement in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.


The Morgue. My very first published book is a fact-based story of a medical examiner run amok.

A three-book series featuring a male/female team of Las Vegas Metro homicide detectives Steve Garneau and Terry Bolton in the order published: Killer In Pair-A-Dice, One-Armed Bandit and Vegas Vixen.

Bumping Off Fat Vinny: A tongue-in-cheek story of three writers who want to murder their publisher.

The Rise and Fall of Tony Spilotro

December 17, 2016

Former mobster Frank Cullotta and I have completed our third manuscript together and it is currently at the publisher. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know the production schedule.

This book will revisit some of Tony’s greatest hits because they are a part of his history. It will also  provide previously undisclosed insight into Tony the man, as well as Tony the enforcer; and Frank will name the killers in several Mob murders that have remained officially unsolved.


Denny Griffin, true crime author

Possible Closure in 1981 Illinois Double Homicide Case

February 15, 2009

Authorities in McHenry County, Illinois, may be closer to solving a pair of 1981 killings thanks to a former mobster’s biography. For details please read

Larry Neumann may officially be credited with two more murders

December 19, 2008

Chicago Channel 5 and the Chicago Sun Times have broken stories that deceased mobster Larry Neumann may have been the killer in a pair of 27-year-old McHenry County, Illinois murders.

You can see the article at,mchenry-cold-case-holly-hager-121808.article or view the video at

Cullotta Interview

December 16, 2008

Las Vegas radio station KDWN has posted an interview of Frank Cullotta on its site. Please visit, scroll down and click on the Cullotta interview.