Strangers kept looking at them but Vince Mora and his brothers didn’t care.

Their tears flowed freely at the front of the St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church at St. Clair Ave. W. and Dufferin St., where they sat with their mother, Pina.

Just a few feet from the Mora boys was the gold and black casket holding their father, Enio Mora.

He had taken several .22 caliber bullets to the head before he was dumped in the trunk of his gold Cadillac in the Weston and Teston Roads area near Highway 400 of Vaughan on Sept. 12, 1997.

Enio Mora’s hands were bound behind his back and his artificial leg was detached and placed behind his 260-lb body.

He was 47.

His widow Pina clutched two of her three sons tightly when it was time to leave the church behind the casket.

The boys wore large crucifixes around their necks.

It was the same church where Enio and Pina had been married 18 years before. Father Joseph Dal Ferro of Woodbridge was presiding over the funeral. He was the same priest who officiated at their wedding.

In life, Mora earned a tough reputation, made even tougher when he lost a leg to a shotgun blast when someone robbed his social club on Harbord Street, near the University of Toronto.

The club was considered a front for illegal gambling.

Small-time thug Anthony Carnevale was the prime suspect in the robbery and shooting.

I have never made it to court.

Carnevale was shot dead in the Keele Street basement apartment of his parents’ home in January 1980, shortly after Mora was fitted for an artificial leg. He was killed with a shotgun blast, just like the weapon that cost Mora his real leg.

Mora then rebounded to have a hand in a number of illegal rackets including building trades scams, loansharking and protection of illegal gambling houses and laundering money in the Caribbean.

Legitimate activities of the North Park Drive resident included selling life insurance, operating a snack bar on St. Clair Avenue West, working as a building contractor and running a drywalling firm.

“It (Mora’s murder) sure wasn’t a surprise,” said Ron Sandelli, former head of Metro police intelligence who worked on cases involving Mora and other mobsters for more than a decade.

“He had his hand into so many things.”

None of that was mentioned on the morning of his funeral.

“I never mentioned his life,” Dal Ferro told the Star.

“I just tried to mention the value of faith to help build a better future where there is no hatred.”

Sobs of one of the school-age Mora boys could be heard for half a block as the casket was carried from the church for burial at noon at Holy Cross Cemetery in Thornhill.

One gray-haired mourner was so distracted during the service that he had to leave the church, followed by his daughter.

Not everyone was so shaken.

A dozen plain-clothed police officers studied and photographed the approximately 200 mourners, who included Peter Scarcella.

Scarcella was the godfather to one of Mora’s sons.

Scarcella was also the former driver to mobster Paul Volpe, who was murdered in 1983.

Volpe had wound up in the trunk of a luxury vehicle — a BMW — as well.

There was the suspicion that Mora was taken for his final ride by people he considered friends.

Some veteran police officers suspected Mora played a role in luring Volpe to his death and now the same grim tactic was carried out on him.

Whatever the case, it is clear that neither Volpe nor Mora were killed by street criminals.

They wouldn’t use a Cadillac or a BMW as coffins when they could drive the luxury cars away themselves.

Volpe’s murder remains unsolved.

Mora’s body had been mistaken for that of a slaughtered animal, like a pig, a calf or a sheep when it was found by a retired dairy farmer driving past the open trunk.

While Mora’s family members at the church for his funeral were clearly distracted, others there seemed almost casual.

Some mourners strolled into the church 25 minutes late for the one-hour service.

Others left midway to chat with each other under trees that shaded them from the bright sun and police and media cameras.

There was just one truck full of flowers and three limousines in the 60-car procession, considered small for someone of such high mob stature.

Sgt. Bruce Powley of York Region Police said he suspects many of Mora’s high-profile criminal contacts chose to pay their respects privately at the funeral home, away from police and media attention.

Mora’s business associates weren’t co-operating with police, Powley said.

In the courts, Mora had successfully fought attempts by Canadian authorities to deport him from the GTA to his birthplace of Italy after he was convicted for drug trafficking and weapons possession.

He won his battle to stay in Canada after arguing that his deportation could cause an undue hardship to his wife and three young sons.

Investigators had plenty to think about after the discovery of Mora’s body in the trunk.

Mora’s gangland-style slaying in Vaughan was the third that year in York Region and the second within weeks.

Baker Frank Loiero was gunned down and left in his van at the Woodbridge Mall at Highway 7 and Martin Grove Road in January, while Giuseppe Congiusta, 32, was shot to death near a gambling club at an industrial mall at Finch Avenue and Weston Road on Sept. 5.

The next fall, Mora’s long-time associate, Johnny (Pops) Papalia was shot to death outside the office of his soft drink company on Railway Street in Hamilton.

Police officers probing Mora’s murder attended Papalia’s funeral visitation on Barton Street in Hamilton, including a van full of camera people.

In Mora’s case, his long-time friend Giancinto Arcuri, 72, was charged with his murder.

Arcuri said at his trial in November 2002 in Newmarket that he met with Mora in a York Region real estate office on Sept. 11, 1996, to talk about Mora’s wish to buy an exercise treadmill.

That was just hours before Mora was murdered and stuffed into the trunk of his gold Cadillac.

Mora wanted an exercise treadmill like one Arcuri used to try to recover from a heart attack, Arcuri testified.

Arcuri, a retired fish salesman and paver, was a friar-looking five-foot-five man, who limped to the witness stand. He testified through a Sicilian-language interpreter, even though he has lived in Canada since 1942.

Arcuri told court he considered Mora to be a close friend.

“In September 1996, did you have any reason to be mad at him?” Arcuri’s lawyer, Joe Bloomenfeld, asked.

“Never,” Arcuri replied.

“Did you kill Enio Mora?” Bloomenfeld continued.

“No,” Arcuri said.

“Did you have anything to do with Enio Mora getting killed?”

“No,” the grandfather replied.

Arcuri said he couldn’t be positive that a shirt that contained his DNA and Mora’s blood was one of his own, saying, “I have 50 shirts.”

He also said he also couldn’t be sure that shoes found near Mora’s body were his own, saying, “I have 40 pairs of shoes.”

Arcuri was sure that his own health wasn’t so good.

“I don’t see well today,” said Arcuri, when asked to comment on a crime scene photo.

That seemed accurate, as a lens of his glasses over his left eye was covered with a patch.

His said his memory also wasn’t so good.

“I don’t even remember what I did last night.”

The jury was suitably impressed.

Arcuri shed tears and his family cheered when he was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in December 2002 by a Newmarket jury.

“The family is very, very happy and so am I,” Bloomenfeld said outside the courtroom. “I don’t think he would have survived in prison.”

Four years later, Mora’s son Vince survived a gunman’s attack outside a social club in a strip mall at 253 Jevlan Avenue in the Highway 7 and Weston Road area in June 2006, when he was 26 years old.

Vince Mora was one of three men who were sitting at an outdoor table when a black sport utility vehicle with tinted windows and shiny wheel trims pulled up and a man in his 20s jumped out and opened fire.

Vince Mora was hit in the arm and abdomen and a 55-year-old Bolton man was caught by a bullet in his abdomen. They recovered from their wounds under police protection.

A 56-year-old Vaughan man who was with them was treated for gunshot wounds and quickly released from hospital.

Police would not comment on the motive for the attack.

Meanwhile, the murder of Enio Mora remains unsolved.

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