On March 18, 1980, 51-year-old John Favara was driving home from work when a dazzling ray of sunlight shone through his windscreen. It was a mundane occurrence that would have tragic and extraordinary repercussions. With his vision momentarily obscured, Favara failed to see the 12-year-old boy in the path of his vehicle. The ensuing impact was fatal. The boy died.
At the time, Favara was a manager at Castro Convertibles, a furniture outlet in New Hyde Park, New York. He had a wife, Janet, and two adopted children. And they all lived together in Howard Beach – a comfortable, residential neighborhood bordered by the Belt Parkway in southwest Queens.
Favara was a straight shooter, but he was also no stranger to the mob. As a child, he had been good buddies with the son of Ettore Zappi, a capo in the notorious Gambino crime family. And as an adult, one of his neighbors happened to be a particularly vicious rising star within the same organization – John Gotti.