SCRANTON — Neil Pal is now guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy for the shooting death of Frank Bonacci.
Pal had been on trial at the Lackawanna County Courthouse, accused of helping Jason Dominick kill Bonacci last July.
After the verdict came down, Bonacci’s family gathered outside in victory.
“Now I can start concentrating on the way Frankie lived, not the way he died, every day seeing the pictures of his dead body,” said Robin Bonacci, Frank’s mother.
“We always believed that Neil Pal was the mastermind and if it wasn’t for Neil Pal that Frankie would be alive today,” said Frank Bonacci, Jr., Frank’s father.
Jason Dominick was convicted last month of third degree murder for shooting Bonacci.
In Pal’s trial, prosecutors accused him of plotting with Dominick to kill Bonacci, even providing Dominick with a gun.
Prosecutors said the two men tried to cover the crime by sending Bonacci’s body down a ravine inside Bonacci’s SUV.
Pal and Dominick even helped Bonacci’s family and friends search for him for a week, pretending he had just gone missing.
Joyce Piccolino and Douglas Long were the ones who coordinated the search parties right from the start.
“When Frankie first went missing, we didn’t know where he was going so we said, ‘we’re Frankie’s voice, you’re Frankie’s voice, you’re coming here, helping us.’ We don’t know where he is and the whole community came together to search for him,” said Piccolino.
While Pal was not accused of being the gunman, the jury still found him guilty of first degree murder.
For Bonacci’s family, they said the jury saw Pal for what he was.
“Everything seemed to have centralized around Neil and Jason Dominick wouldn’t make a decision without Neil, I know that,” said Frank’s father.
“Jason may have pulled the trigger, Neil was the mastermind,” said Frank’s mother.