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Biography for
Billy Batts (Character)
from Goodfellas (1990)

The content of this page was created by users. It has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.

Warning! This character biography may contain plot spoilers.

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William 'Billy Batts' Devino (January 19, 1921 June 11, 1970) William Paul DeVino was a made member of the Gambino Family and a longtime friend of boss John Gotti in the 1960s. After spending six years in prison, Devino was murdered by Tommy DeSimone, with the help of Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill after the fact.

Born in Brooklyn, little is known about Devino's early life. In 1959, he became an associate of the Gambino crime family and was made in 1961. Devino met Jimmy Burke in 1962 and was on friendly terms with him. He also knew Tommy DeSimone and Henry Hill from when they were children. Devino was a protegee street soldier for Carmine Fatico and later Gotti, during the early days when Gotti was a habitu of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens. In 1964, Devino went to Bridgeport, Connecticut to complete a drug deal for Joseph "Joe The Crow" DelVecchio and Oreste "Ernie Boy" Abbamonte. Upon his arrival, Devino was arrested by undercover police for possession and exchange of narcotics. He was later convicted and sentenced to 6 years in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.

On June 9, 1970, Devino was released from prison. Two days later, while celebrating his release at a bar called The Suite in Jamaica, Queens, Devino ran into Tommy DeSimone. Devino had not seen DeSimone since he was in his early teens. Devino remarked that DeSimone used to shine shoes. DeSimone took this remark as an insult, but held his anger in check.

The common belief, perpetuated by the movie Goodfellas, is that Devino was murdered for insulting DeSimone at the Suite. However, the real reason for the Devino murder was that Burke had taken over Devino's loanshark business while Devino was in prison. According to Hill, Devino had been 'squawking' to Joe Gallo, about getting his enterprises back from Burke. Not wanting to give the business back to Devino, Burke decided to kill him instead. Hill also said that Devino was insulting DeSimone because he wanted to impress some mob associates from another crime family who were in the bar. Devino was too drunk to be able to fend off anybody on the night he was killed.

After setting off to dispose of Devino, the trio had a minor collision with a van on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens. Soon after, the sound of thudding in the trunk made them realize that Devino was still alive. They then stopped at DeSimone's mother's house to collect a knife, some lime, and a shovel. She made them drink coffee, chat and have some breakfast while the critically wounded Devino was still in the trunk. Upon arriving at an isolated piece of land in Connecticut owned by Ralph Atlas, a friend of Burke's, the trio opened the trunk of the car, killed Devino, and buried him under a dog kennel. In The Real GoodFella, Hill said that they "didn't actually shoot him, they just stabbed him, thirty or forty fucking times, fucking horrible." However, in Wiseguy, Hill does not mention a knife. In the movie Goodfellas, Devino is shot and stabbed.

Six months after Devino's burial, Atlas mentioned to Burke that he was going to develop the property where Devino was buried. Burke ordered Hill and Tommy to dig up Devino's half-decomposed corpse and dispose of it. Hill has told various versions of the night Devino was killed, including burials in Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, and Connecticut. In Wiseguy, Hill said the body was crushed in a mechanical compactor at a New Jersey junkyard.

It is believed that Tommy DeSimone was murdered on January 14, 1979, partly as revenge for his part in the Devino murder - Devino was a made man, and therefore "untouchable." without family permission. It is unknown if this was the sole reason. John Gotti may have wanted revenge for the killing of Ronald Jerothe, because had the Gambinos known the full story of Devino killing with Burke and Hill as participants, the two would surely have been killed as well.

In the book Gangsters and GoodFellas, written by Hill, it states that Devino's birth name was William Paul DeVino. However, FBI Agent Edward McDonald informed an aide to Hill that Devino's name was really Billy Batts and nothing else.

Devino is portrayed by Frank Vincent in the film Goodfellas.


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