The man who hacked 72-year-old Eddie Politelli to death more than ten years ago in a shielded alley behind a pizza shop in Stevenson Ranch, more than likely, no longer matches the description given by an eye witness.
A silver-colored Dodge Magnum Station Wagon seen leaving the scene of the vicious murder at Valencia Marketplace is long gone. Dodge stopped making the vehicle in 2008.
And the $10,000 reward once offered to anyone with information about Politelli’s murder is no longer listed on the “Rewards Listing” website posted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“This reward closed and expired on September 18, 2006,” Tony Bell, spokesman for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich who initiated the reward, said Thursday.
“If we wanted to reestablish the reward, we would need to contact law enforcement first to find out the status of the case,” he said.
The status of the case is, in a word, cold.
Slain in the alley
Edward John Politelli was an acclaimed cook who worked at the Mama Mia Pizza restaurant on The Old Road until the day a young man marched directly into the shop, grabbed him and took him to the alley behind the shop and killed him.
On Thursday, a visit to the restaurant, revealed just how much time has passed.
The shop is still there, owned by someone other than the man Politelli worked for, where an employee said he knew nothing about the murder or the victim.
But, as the cold case gets colder, Santa Clarita Valley’s pizza shop murder of 2006 is not forgotten by the detectives assigned to the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau.
One of Eddie Politelli’s blood relatives told The Signal Thursday a homicide detective called him just four weeks ago, a couple of months after the unsolved murder crossed the one decade milestone.
“He said the two detectives who were on it are no longer on the case,” the relative said Thursday. “He said there was a new detective looking into it.”
Detectives who at one time cast a wide net to catch Politelli’s killer told The Signal in 2012 that they were waiting for a clue.
Four years later, the clues are even scarcer.
Relics of a murder
Based on empty cardboard box – believed to have contained the machete found near Politelli’s lifeless body – LASD homicide Detective Charles Morales described the murder weapon as a Nicholson 18-inch machete.
The machete has never been found.
Described as a clean-shaven, the suspect was a Latino man in his late 20s, 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds.
He would now be in his late 30s.
At the time he wore a white T-shirt, blue jeans and a black sweatshirt, and hoisted a backpack on his shoulder.
A police sketch prepared in 2006 by the Sheriff’s Department was drawn based on witness accounts, primarily that of Politelli’s boss, former Mama Mia Pizza restaurant owner, Anthony Sposato.
Sposato – who saw Politelli being hacked to death and who was later able to share descriptive details of the killer with a police sketch artist – has since died of natural causes.
Whether or not the newly-assigned detective can find the man who killed Politelli, the killing goes down in local history as one of the most vicious killings Santa Clarita Valley has ever seen.
In his investigative narrative of the injuries suffered by Politelli that day, Lt. Dana Bee of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner listed seven distinct wounds.
Politelli suffered cuts to his left ear, defensive cuts to the fingers on his right hand, a stab wound to the left chest, stab wound to his lower abdomen, superficial cuts to his lower back, a vertical stab wound to the middle of his body at the solar plexus and a stab wound to his chest bone.
The attack was calculated, fast, efficient and brazen.
June 12, 2006
Shortly after the sun came up on June 12, 2006, Eddie Politelli arrived at the Mama Mia Pizza shop in Stevenson Ranch.
About 8:10 a.m., a produce-delivery man arrived with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. As was his way, Politelli waved him over for coffee.
The two men sat, sipped and talked at one of the restaurant’s small tables before the delivery man returned to his truck.
The next person to enter the restaurant was Politelli’s killer.
He ushered Politelli through the kitchen to the back room and then out the back door to a stone-walled alley; an alley invisible from the road to the west and the strip mall to the east.
Shortly before 8:30 a.m., restaurant owner Sposato made his way through the kitchen and noticed the back door open.
Sposato overhead Politelli pleading with someone in the alley: “Don’t hurt me. I don’t have anything.”
Afraid to go through the back doorway, Sposato went out the front door and around the south side of the restaurant.
In the alley behind his shop, Sposato saw a man armed with an 18-inch machete standing beside Politelli, who pleaded for his life: “Tony, help me. He’s got a gun.”
When Politelli bolted from his attacker, the man grabbed him by the back of his shirt, pulled him back and then threw him to the pavement.
That’s when the attacker began hacking Politelli to death with the machete.
When the killer was done, he walked north out the other end of the alley, got into a gray Dodge Magnum station wagon and fled.
That was ten years, four months and two days ago.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt