Monday, March 18, 2002 | 9 a.m.
A former New Yorker who claims he shot a man to death because the man was a mob enforcer out to kill him has been declared competent to stand trial.
District Judge Jeffrey Sobel issued his ruling in the Anthony Cuccia Jr. case Friday after listening to the testimony of two psychiatrists from the Lake's Crossing state mental health facility in Sparks.
Cuccia was sent to Lake's Crossing several months ago after Sobel became concerned about Cuccia's mental health. Defendants must be able to aid their attorneys in their own defense and understand the nature of the charges against them.
Cuccia will be back in court Thursday because he wants to represent himself at his trial. Sobel must decide if Cuccia understands all of the possible consequences should he be allowed to do so.
Several months ago Cuccia represented himself, but when the competency issue arose, he was appointed an attorney.
Cuccia, 60, is accused of gunning down Philip Greenspan, 59, inside the sports book at the Stardust hotel on Feb. 7, 2000.
According to court records, witnesses said Cuccia walked up to Greenspan and shot him after saying, "Take this to Nikki."
Cuccia, in a 52-page voluntary statement, told police that Greenspan was a mob enforcer who was planning to carry out a long-standing hit on him. The "Nikki" he referred to was Nick Corazzo, an alleged associate of mob boss John Gotti, court records say.
Prosecutors have said they have no reason to believe Greenspan was affiliated with organized crime or even knew Cuccia, although they once lived in the same New York borough.