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Mario Merola Edit Profile

lawyer

Mario Merola, American Lawyer. Bar: New York 1949, United States Court 2nd District Court of Appea circuit) 1982, United States District Court (southern district) New York 1982. Served to Lieutenant United States Army Air Force, 1942-1945; Member of New York State Bar Association, Bronx County Bar Association, Bronx County Criminal Bar Association.

Background

Merola was born on February 1, 1922 to Italian immigrants in the Woodlawn neighborhood of the Bronx. His father was a barber, while his mother was a garment industry worker.

Education

Bachelor of Arts, New York University, 1947; Bachelor of Laws, New York University, 1948; honorary Doctor of Laws, College Mount St. Vincent, 1980.

Career

He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1941 and became a combat navigator, flying a total of 55 missions into territory under occupation by Nazis in Europe. He eventually returned to New York and obtained his law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1948. Merola's career in public service began in 1957, when he began working as an attorney for the New York City Department of Investigation.

In May 1960, he was hired as an assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney's office, and prosecuted cases there until 1964. He was elected as a Democrat to the New York City Council in 1964, and was re-elected two times, serving until 1972, representing the Bronx. Bronx District Attorney\r\nMerola was first elected Bronx District Attorney in 1972, and was re-elected three times, serving a total of 15 years until his death in October 1987.

Merola had a reputation for political independence and outspokenness during his time as District Attorney. Merola was also able to attract bipartisan support during his election campaigns. He received the endorsement of both the Republican Party and the Liberal Party during his final campaign for re-election before he died.

Merola prosecuted a number of high profile cases, the most notable one being the "Son of Sam" case, where he successfully convicted David Berkowitz for multiple homicides and got him a term of life in prison for his crimes. Another notable case during his tenure was the prosecution of former United States Secretary of Labor Raymond J. Donovan on charges that he stole $7.4 million from a subway construction project. Donovan, a Republican, was ultimately acquitted, and accused Merola of prosecuting him on political grounds.

Merola's office was responsible for the prosecution of a white police officer for the shooting death of Eleanor Bumpers in her apartment, a 66-year-old black woman with a history of mental illness. The officer was later acquitted. Merola married Tullia Palermo in 1949, and they had three children together: Michael, Elizabeth and Marilou.

On October 27, 1987, Merola had a massive stroke, and passed out on the dining-room floor of his Woodlawn home. He was taken to Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, where he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, less than 12 hours after the stroke. In February 1988, Mayor Edward Koch renamed the Bronx County Courthouse to the Mario Merola Building to honor Merola.

Achievements

  • Bar: New York 1949, United States Court 2nd District Court of Appea circuit) 1982, United States District Court (southern district) New York 1982.

Membership

Served to Lieutenant United States Army Air Force, 1942-1945. Member of New York State Bar Association, Bronx County Bar Association, Bronx County Criminal Bar Association.

Connections

Married Tullia Palermo, August 21, 1949. Children– Michael, Marylou Merola Zappa, Elizabeth.

father:
Michael Merola

mother:
Lucia (Morano) Merola

spouse:
Tullia Palermo

child:
Elizabeth Merola

child:
Michael Merola

child:
Marylou Merola Zappa Merola