It was June, 2006. A day like any other. Edward John Politelli, 72 years old at the time, got to work at Mama Mia Pizza like he always did. He had no idea as he unlocked the doors to the restaurant that morning that it would be his last. The last time making his famous tomato sauce. The last time greeting the produce man. Because by 8:30 AM he’d be attacked by an unknown assailant. He was murdered in broad daylight by a machete-wielding madman–and the case is still unsolved.
The day started like any other. Ed Politelli had been cooking all his life, and he was a staple at the Mama Mia Pizza in Stevenson Ranch, CA. As usual, he started the day as the sole opener of the restaurant. He always arrived early to make his tomato sauce. On that fateful day, June 12th 2006, he’d been at the restaurant getting ready when he greeted the produce delivery man at 8:10 AM. Like he always did with those he was close with, he stopped to chat with the man. They shared coffee at a small table and talked about life.
Shortly afterward, the delivery driver left to finish his deliveries. Although the restaurant wasn’t open yet, Politelli had left the doors unlocked. That would ultimately be his downfall. Some time before 8:30, an unidentified man walked into Mama Mia’s and confronted Politelli. He held a gun in one hand and an 18-inch machete in the other. He pushed him out of the restaurant’s backdoor and into the alley.
That’s when the one witness to the murder enters the picture. Owner of Mama Mia’s, Anthony Sposato, arrived at 8:30 to help with opening the shop. When he entered the unlocked front doors, he didn’t find anything of note at first. As he reached the back of the restaurant, that’s when he knew something was wrong. The backdoor was open just a crack and he could hear commotion from the alley.
“Don’t hurt me, I don’t have anything,” came Politelli’s voice from behind the partially opened backdoor.
Sposato sprung into action. He left the restaurant through the front door then went around the building to the back alley. Standing over Politelli was a man brandishing both a gun and a machete. When Politelli spotted his boss, he cried out, “Tony help me. He’s got a gun!”
What Sposato saw next would likely haunt him forever: The unknown assailant began slashing at Politelli with his machete.
Sposato ran back around the building yelling for someone to call 911, grabbed a shovel from a work truck, and ran back to the alley. He banged the shovel hoping this would threaten the attacker and stop him. Unfortunately it didn’t. The attacker continued to wail on Politelli.
“Leave him alone. He’s an old man!” yelled Sposato. The attacker didn’t listen.
When the attacker had felt like he was finished, he promptly walked through the north end of the alley, hopped in a gray Dodge Magnum station wagon, and was never seen again.
The authorities arrived soon after, but Politelli was pronounced dead on the scene.
Anthony Sposato, the only witness, described the attacker as a white or Latino man, 25-30 years old, wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and a black sweatshirt. Sposato provided details of his looks which were used in the composite sketch above.
So many questions remain unanswered from this grisly crime. Why was the attacker so brazen? Why would he attack someone in broad daylight, and why would he favor his machete over the gun? Why has he never been caught?
Hopefully these questions will someday be answered.