Entrepreneur Enrico Forti says he owes a life sentence in a Florida jail to being Italian. “If I were Anglo-Saxon I would’ve never seen the inside of a courtroom,” he told Italian daily La Repubblica. “Here they seem to think a successful Italian is necessarily a member of the Mafia.”
Forti, whose friends call him “Chico,” was convicted of murdering real-estate mogul Anthony “Dale” Pike in Miami on February 16, 1998. Forti, ex-windsurf champ and game show contestant from Trento, was the last person to see Pike alive. In a panic, he told police he hadn’t seen Pike despite the fact the two were at odds over a deal Forti had made with Pike’s father. The misstep cost Forti dearly–he eventually told the truth, was convicted for fraud in the hotel deal, acquitted– and then charged with murder in May 2000.
Friends and family in Italy have recently launched a media blitz to drum up funds for a retrial. Forti, who pleaded not guilty to the shooting death, has been interviewed on radio programs, newspapers, been the benefactor of a windsurf tournament and launched a web site which tells the story from his point of view.His lawyers, who say evidence was circumstantial, hope at the very least to have the life sentence (without possibility of parole) commuted to give Forti, 42, the possibility of serving time in Italy.
The story contains any number of elements worthy of a mystery novel. In 1997, Forti bought the houseboat where the murderer of Gianni Versace, Andrew Cunanan, was found dead. Forti planned to produce a TV documentary on whether Cunanan had committed suicide (as police maintained) or whether he was killed. The houseboat was damaged and eventually destroyed because it was a safety hazard–Forti maintains it was destroyed as a cover up. “You’re the Italian who said the Miami police are corrupt?” Forti recounted. “Now you’ll pay.”
Add to the scene US detective Frank Monte, who sustains Forti was a “troubleshooter” for Versace’s dealings with difficult siblings Santo and Donatella. Monte ascribes his insider knowledge to an investigation he carried out for Versace in 1996 concerning the death of a family associate. As for the murder, police say Pike came to Miami to confront Forti about the sale of a hotel in Ibiza, Spain that the Italian had negotiated with his elderly father. When police questioned Forti, he said Pike never arrived in Miami.
Later he told police he left Pike at a restaurant. After a complicated, month-long trial with an intricate weave of documents and satellite testimony from Spain, Forti was found guilty of first-degree murder in June of 2000.Hard to tell where the truth lies–but Forti’s case seems destined to become another crusade against the US justice system, which Italians deem inhumane and often overly harsh.
After years of battle and public pressure, Italian Silvia Baraldini was granted the right to serve the rest of her sentence in a Roman jail in 1999. For Italians, Baraldini was unjustly jailed for ideological reasons; for US authorities she was a dangerous terrorist. She served 19 years of a 43-year sentence to date, but the controversy continues. Baraldini was granted house arrest by Italian authorities in the spring of 2001 to undergo treatment for breast cancer– despite the seriousness of her illness, the US government insists that she be returned to prison by September.
“One Chance for Chico” official site, in English & Italian.
Updates on the Baraldini case. In English.
I have followed this case closely and there are many facts that have been left out. The police had another suspect in custody, a suspect who owned the murder weapon used in the murder, and they let him go. This suspect had been on the run and hiding from police since the time of the murder, he was found living out of his car 2 weeks after the murder. He was in a bidding war for the hotel and he defrauded Pike out of over $100,000 and that’s why Pike Jr. was coming to Miami, to confront this other man about the money he had taken from his father. I don’t understand how police could let this man go when everything pointed to him. He had motive, he owned the murder weapon which was found at his residence, he fled and hid from the police as soon as the murder occurred, and as soon as he was questioned, he was let go and he fled the country. The US Justice System is so unfair. I have personally met Chico and spoken with him at the institution where he’s at, and I am convinced he is innocent and deserves to be free, or at least given a new trial, with proper legal representation (his attorney from the original trial was working for the prosecution), and most of the witnesses that were called to testify on his behalf only spoke Italian and a translator was not provided for the jury. If this does not scream unfair trial I don’t know what does.
Arlene is mistaken, I believe. The German bought the gun but it was paid for with Forti’s credit card. He did not flee the U.S back to Germany. He was jailed for 3 years for fraud and then deported back to Germany. Further, the German had 7 people who testified as to his whereabouts in the window of time in which Pike’s son was killed. I think the U.S. Justice System did it’s job.
Arlene fell all herself for Forti, a thief and murderer. He is right where he belongs and should – will – rot in prison for the cold-blooded murderer he is. And – for the record – the US justice system is the fairest on the planet.
Arlene al igual que tu creo que el Sr. Enrico Forty es inocente en la muerte de pike Jr(o aparentemente es la sensación que transmite el dictamen judicial), caigo en esta conclusión por que el Sr.Canon es un estafador profesional, y esto conlleva a que sea un gran manipulador mental, de tal consideración que es capaz de estafar a personas e instituciones y eludir la carcel responsabilizando a el sr. Forty de un crimen que no cometió, pero también cabe destacar que toda esta historia fue un intento de estafa de ambos (Sr. Canon y Sr Forti), ya que el señor Forti nunca debió picarse con el sr Canon por el áfan de conseguir la confianza de Tony pike (padre), sabiendo la trayectoriae intenciones de éste, ya que en cuyo desenlace los únicos perjudicado fueron el Sr. Forti (cadena perpetua) y Pike Jr (Víctima).
Opinión obtenida, tras la retransmision de una serie americana de sucesos, en la cadena de televisión “La Sexta”,
Arlene seems to be in lala land.The entire story she stated are all the things Forti actually did.If i had to take an educated guess Forti & Arlene will soon be getting married and opening a joint savings account.
I was in the court room for most of the trial and in my opinion there was an overwhelming amount of evidence that would find Forti guilty as charged. I also concluded that the other guy Canon also was involved. But Forti had the most reason to commit the crime.
As for Arlene, she should know that in prison everyone is innocent.
Compassion is a good thing, but don’t be fooled by charm and don’t forget the victim! I wasn’t in the courtroom or at the murderscene so have no clue as to his guitl. I’m shocked to realize however that I can get so much information about Forti, when I’m more interested in Dale Pike who it seems has become a statistic but was in fact a human being who touched many lives (including mine)
Come gli americani pretendono di giudicare secondo le proprie leggi i reati commessi dai propri cittadini (vedi gli americani che uccisero Nicola Calipari, quelli che uccisero 20 persone giocando ai top gun sul Cermis – per fare un esempio di assassini al 100%), rendeteci i colpevoli italiani che avranno un processo equo in italia, come i vostri lo hanno avuto in casa loro (chiedetevi che vita facciano e se ricordano le vittime)
Arlene I agree with you. The US system is very unjust. AND THEY IMPRISONED THE WRONG MAN!!!! Let’s stop always trying to cover up the wrong that the US does, it has happen several times before. If the person isn’t from this country the US is quick to convict them, but when the incident happen with the American young lady in Italy who murdered the young British lady, what did the US do?? Blame it an the Italian and the African that were there. Becuase they just couldn’t put the “AMERICAN” in jail….this system is so screwed and the US swear that they world revolves around them. FREE FORTI!!!! LUI NON FATTO NIENTE MALE!!!!
Angie, your argument is not logical but emotional. If you are so anti-American that you allow your emotions to guide your logic, I pity those that are around you. You sound very immature.
And it seems to me that the American girl who murdered the young British roommate wasn’t glorified in the press in America, and did you see any protesting over that issue in America? No, you did not, because the Americans assume that the Italian courts got it right…and accept–like the mature country we are–that she must pay for her crime.
If you are so anti-American, I hope that you don’t live in America. If so, we would love for you to leave.
Forti is a liar and he deserves what he got… he knows who killed Dale Pike and i hope he suffers for the rest of his horrible life…
So, maybe any one can tell me now what might have been the reason for Chico Forti to kill Dale Pike?
And why had there not been any prooves but circumstantional evidence only? And even if he knew who was the killer, this is no reason to keep him in jail!
To you Arlene am sure if the dead man (Dale Pike) was your brother, father or husband you never would be this heartless like the cold blooded murderer Enrico Forti (Chico). If you must Know the Gun found in Thomas’s house was not the gun that killed Dale pike. But have you ever ask yourself why Enrico Forti Decided to pay for the gun with his credit card or why was he going to pay for a hotel worth 5 million with 25 thousand and forged documents ready to claim the hotel in the event of Toni’s death? (Does that sound like a motive?)
Are you so cold and hearthless that you could close your concience up suporting this common crook whos desperacy turned him into a murderer? Just in case you don’t know there are others who are also following the story with a clear and a zeroed opinion.
From start to finished everything Enrico Forti said where all lies have you ever ask yorself why all the lies.(Does that sound like he has something to hide?). The only thing an inteligent mind should be trying to figure out is what possible conspiracy there is between Thomas and Enrico, becaues there is certainly one though not yet proven. Note that this conspiracy was from the begining before they even invited Toni Pike to the USA.
But if Enrico Forti refuses to confess and maintain his fake innocence, then let him die there like the common crook that he is. As for you Arlene open up you mind and your concience and speak for the justice of the innocent murdered young man Dale Pike.
Claudia if you truely believe what you said please find out what an accessary to a crime is and what are their reward, just in case you may change your mind
This case is probably why the idiot jury in Perugia gave Amanda Knox a life sentence. She is not guilty of the crime. I think the Italains saw this a retaleation by giving her a life sentence. SMDH
Forti is absolutely guilty. It’s true there was another person who was quite possibly involved in the murder, however… Like it has already been said Forti has done nothing but tell lies from the start. Not to mention, he paid for the murder weapon with his own credit card ( Idiot!) it is really sad how greedy people can be. He could be living the good life on Williams Island driving around in his range rover. Instead , he is someones girlfriend in the Florida Prison System…hope it was worth it, Forti!
I am really surprised about all the comments regarding Forti, when NONE of you have NO facts at all. I am a part of a TV documentary that will light up BIG things around this case. So please do not speak about facts if you do not know.
And I know that Chico Forti will be free in a while.
See you guys in Miami… T
Thomaz… contact me. I worked at the prison for some time and I knew Enrico.
I agree with your reply:”I’m shocked to realize however that I can get so much information about Forti, when I’m more interested in Dale Pike who it seems has become a statistic”(-December 8th,2008-)
Then dear Chantal help us to know something more about Dale, what kind of person was he? what was his life like?
Statistic becomes human…
Let us know.
In France we use to say: “Il vaut mieux un coupable libre qu’un innocent en prison”, the american jails are plenty of presumed innocent people.
With no strong scientific evidence, keep Chico in prison is an injustice.
And now? Amanda Knox has been freed after that even Hillary Clinton had intervened. Rudy Guede was the only one convicted of “complicity in murder.” In Italy there are three levels of courts, in the U.S. after the first remains in prison forever. The American newspapers have said that the Italian justice system is medieval. But in the U.S. for a case like this probably would have given the death penalty. In Italy it is the feeling of always being broken by American power. This does not mean being anti-American but is asking equal justice for all. Now Amanda should work for second trial is guaranteed even at Forti.
Forti is clearly guilty beyond ay reasonable doubt. He deserved his conviction.
I think he is guitly. A 22 caliber pistol was bought with his credit card a few days before the murder. Pike was shot with a 22 caliber pistol. he lie to his wife that very day before lying to the police, saying he had not encountered Pike. Later he admitted this circumstance to the police. The day after the murder he washed his car. He intended to cheat the victim’s father, and threfore Allan Pike wanted to prevent it.Sand of the beach where the body was found, was in his car. Pike was Australian, he did not know anyone in Miami and had come from Spain to meet Forti. Upon arriving at the airport, he was taken from Forti at the airport and after that he suddenly disappeared. The next day he was found with two bullets in the head. Forti’s mobile was in the area of the murder that evening.
Isn’t it enough?
Forti deserve to die in jail; thanks to Florida.
This man is a murderer and a con man, how would anyone expect to pay 25000 dollars for a hotel with the reputation of pikes. I think anyone who believes this thug is innocent is living in a dream world.
I think Mr Forti is guilty, he is a liar. He lied to his wife, to his lawyer, to the father of the victim and to the police. He told all those people that he went to the airport to pick up Dale Pike (the victim), but he said Dale Pike never showed up and they didn’t meet. Forti said this for four days, until the police showed him camera recordings of him meeting the victim inside the airport. He then admitted he met the victim, who was shot in maximum 3 hour time after landing.
I’m italian and I don’t believe in Forti’s innocence. His lies are the evidence of his guilty
While I was not at the trial and am not privy to all the evidentiary material in this case there have been many murder convictions with far less material than was available in this case. Forti claims that Pike made a phone call from a pay phone which could not be traced. A very convenient ploy to add mystery to the murder. Forti claims that the identification of pike and other material found by Pike’s body was planted to point to Forti. Not being a master criminal Forti probably panicked after murdering Pike and left material that he should have destroyed. There was a lot of blood on Pikes shirt which means a strong struggle ensued during the murder. A random robbery shooting would have been a mere shooting more than likely. A cell phone tower ping showed Forti’s car going in the opposite direction he should have been going to pick up his wife’s relative, which was another reason he got careless because he was on a tight schedule. The gun used to shoot Pike was bought with Forti’s credit card, which in many case would have been enough for a conviction. Forti was very popular and had a great reputation so he was able to convince his friends and others that he was just too pure to have committed a murder. I find the odds staggering that someone other than Forti could have killed Pike almost immediately after Forti had picked him up at the airport. I could see him lying to his wife for being late, but he rolled the dice by not mentioning to police that he had in fact picked up Pike at the airport and had text communications with him which he had denied. The web is just to tight to make Forti innocent. Too many extraordinary elements would have had to taken place for anyone else to have killed Pike.
Forti is a loser, a fraud, and a killer. He’s right where he belongs, in a prison for life . No need for people like him in society.
There are new facts you should check..
Guilty, that’s it
My name is Audey I am going to pray to a very close friend of mine to free Enrico forti from prison.ASAP if he is innocent and only if he innocent.
Miami Police Department is corrupted. They lied during the entire trial and didn’t have any proof that Chico Forti did that. Incompetent police officers who manipulated the documents and the jury.
Regarding the jury: they didn’t give a sh** about the trial, they just wanted to go home.
One of the jury actually, after 20 years said she was forced to vote for Chico Forti’s guilt.
One of the biggest lawyer in NY who evaluated the documents and the trial said that whole thing was wrong.
I wanna see you guys being in that court room and being judge by 12 idiots who don’t know what they are doing and find you guilty of something you haven’t done!!!
Miami Police, you are garbage!!!