Home ] Up ] Charles W. Colson ] Charlie Mahaney ] David Wilkerson ] Enrico 'Rico' Lamberti ] Frank Costantino ] [ Frank Daniel Rossi ] Garland "Pappy" Eastham ] Joanne Angelo Moeller ] Mickey Evans ] Rob Grill ]

 

Frank Daniel Rossi

 

Frank Daniel Rossi

1943 - 2012

 

A Tribute to Frank Daniel Rossi

I will forever be indebted to all that Frank Daniel Rossi did for me. He helped and believed in me at a time in my life when I was at my bottom not knowing what was going to happen next. Facing years in prison God moved mightily on Frank to step in to prove what a mighty Savior, Lord and King we serve.

I can never find the words to properly describe how I feel about what Frank Rossi did for me. I thanked him so many times over the years that every time I brought it up the first thing he would say to me in his typical New Jersey accent.: "Marty... forgetaboutit. Just praise Jesus... He is the One who did this though me, so give Him all the glory... not me."  

I really miss Frank a lot but know he is in a better place with God and one day we will see each other again. 

Below is the story of how God used former Detective Frank Daniel Rossi to touch my life. It is taken from my book, "Once Life Matters: A New Beginning - 2nd Edition"

----- 

Attending the Full Gospel Businessmen's meetings helped me out a lot. They were not held in church buildings but in the side rooms of restaurants or hotel banquet rooms. Sometimes I wondered if the members of those who gathered at the meetings I attended really knew who I was. But at least one man did.

The most important man I would meet at those meetings was Frank Daniel Rossi, an on-duty Metro Dade County Florida police detective. As soon as I met him, he asked me about my life and I explained who I was and my involvement in the music business and what I was now up against. As we got to know each other at the meetings, we became friends. Detective Rossi could see that I hadnít been saved just out of convenience, in the hope that it would get me a lesser sentence.

I asked the detective what I could expect in the sentencing part of my court hearing once I plead guilty.

"Youíre a new man," Detective Rossi said. "Donít worry about that old stuff."

I looked into alternative sentencing options, programs that could mean no prison time. I wanted to go to a Bible college in Orlando, Florida and also live at the Bridge, a residential program run by ex-convict Frank Costantino, founder of Christian Prison Ministries of Orlando.

Costantino had written a book called Holes in Time, which I had read in one day sitting in a Christian bookstore's parking lot while in Buffalo.

After Costantino's Christian conversion he went on to develop  a tremendous ministry to prisoners and ex-prisoners called the Bridge, and I wanted to be part of it.

Detective Rossi asked me if I wanted him to speak on my behalf at my sentencing hearing. He said he knew the judge after meeting him at a police function. I told him he didnít have to do that. In fact, when I told my lawyer about the detective wanting to speak on my behalf, my lawyer said he didnít want Rossi to say anything. Instead, he told me to have Rossi write a letter to the judge. However, it was way too late for that. I didnít understand why my attorney didn't want Detective Rossi to speak to the judge. But that was part of my attorney's plan as we went to the courthouse for the sentencing.

When the pivotal moment came, the judge looked around and asked, "All right, is there anybody in my courtroom who has anything to say before I pass judgment on Mr. Angelo?"

At that point, Detective Rossi stood and said: "Yes, your honor. I have something to say." He was in his full dress policeman's uniform which detectives usually only wear at very important occasions. They normally wear business suits most other times.

The judge acknowledged the detective by name without being introduced. Everyone could tell they knew each other. "What are you doing in my courtroom, Detective Rossi?" The judge asked.

In spite of what my lawyer had said, Detective Rossi told the judge how I had changed and that, "he wasn't the same Marty Angelo who was standing in his courtroom."

If that wasn't enough to get the judge's attention the Detective stunned everyone when he then went on to say with boldness: "Jesus Christ changed him into a new person. He is no longer the same Marty Angelo."

There was a hush throughout the courtroom for about 45 seconds. Everyone was just quietly sitting looking at each other wondering what just happened and if they correctly heard what Detective Rossi had just said. I myself was totally taken by surprise and stood there completely dumbfounded.

Of course the federal prosecutor in my case jumped up and shouted, "It is too the same Marty Angelo in this courtroom. We have his picture, fingerprints, and even his recorded voice from a telephone wiretap. It is the same Angelo, your honor."

Detective Rossi didn't bat an eye at the prosecutor's remarks but continued to describe what Iíd been doing: speaking to young people, going to the gospel meetings, and talking about faith in Jesus Christ. He continued: "I am convinced that the Marty Angelo in your courtroom is a brand new person and is sincere in his conversion. Jesus Christ has truly changed this man in a very powerful way."

Everyone in courtroom was in shock over what the detective was saying. Just the fact that a police officer was in court on behalf of a defendant in a criminal case was a miracle in itself. Having him speak and testify that Jesus Christ had made me into a new person was another thing. "Something like that just doesn't happen," I was later told by a federal probation officer.

The one thing that I found remarkable in what Detective Rossi said in his closing remarks to the judge was: "sending Angelo to prison would be too easy." Rossi felt the judge should sentence me to attend Bible college, be a part of Frank Costantino's "Bridge" program and produce public service announcements on the perils of drug abuse.

The judge was obviously perplexed and called for a recess so he could mull over Rossi's statement. You could tell something like this didn't happen very often in this judge's courtroom and he needed some time to gather his thoughts. I prayed that God would speak to the judge's heart and in turn speak through him to me.

At that point I sensed that everything was going to come out all right. I knew God wanted me to do something important with my life, to tell people how I had messed up for so many years, but that He was watching over me and had rescued me when my life seemed over. So I knew that whatever happened in the next few minutes would be a part of that plan.

"Well, Mr. Angelo," the judge said upon his return to his bench, "I hope what Detective Rossi testified is right and you have changed. Because Iím going to give you a break. I am putting you right where youíre needed most."

I jumped for joy when I heard that. WowÖ I thought. Probation, Bible college, and off to Costantino's program! However, the judge continued: "We have enough preachers and teachers out here on the streets. Therefore, Iím sentencing you to two consecutive three-year terms in the Federal Correctional Institution in Lexington, Kentucky. If Jesus Christ changed you then maybe you can do some good in prison. I just hope what Detective Frank Rossi said is right. Don't let him or the court down." Bang! He slammed his gavel down and immediately walked off the bench.

I stood there in total silence, frozen in time for what seemed like an eternity. After all those months of praying, never knowing what direction the rest of my life was going to be, I had finally got my answer and heard from God through the judge.

Knowing God spoke through the judge was a big relief in my heart. If God wanted me in prison then so be it. I wasnít getting off with community service, Bible college, or probation. I wasnít going to be rewarded for my conversion. No evangelizing for God on the streets to repay His intervention. No public service announcements. No freedom. I was going off to prison as a changed man filled with the Holy Ghost.

Praise the Lord, I said to myself, I can finally begin my new life in Christ.

I often wondered how much time the judge would have given me if Detective Frank Daniel Rossi hadn't testified on my behalf. I am forever grateful he saw how much Jesus Christ changed me and wasn't afraid to share it with judge.  

----------

Frank Daniel Rossi - Obituary

1943 - 2012

Rossi, Frank Daniel, 69, of Plantation passed away March 18, 2012. He came to South Florida in 1975 from Newark, NJ. He served as a police officer in Newark and retired from Metro Dade Police Dept. He continued to work in law enforcement as private and personal security to the celebrities. 

He loved going on cruises and served as a baseball umpire for many years. He enjoyed the NY Giants and was an avid Yankee fan. 

He is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, JoAnn, his loving sons, Daniel and Frank, dear daughter in law, Antonia and cherished grandchildren, Angelina Bella and Dominic Francesco. 

 

Home ] Up ] Charles W. Colson ] Charlie Mahaney ] David Wilkerson ] Enrico 'Rico' Lamberti ] Frank Costantino ] [ Frank Daniel Rossi ] Garland "Pappy" Eastham ] Joanne Angelo Moeller ] Mickey Evans ] Rob Grill ]