This year would have been Louis Balancio’s 38th birthday.
This year would have been his 17th as an alumnus of Mercy College.
Would have. Yet it’s not.
Instead, this year the Balancio family is still left pondering why Louis was taken from them, killed outside of a bar in Yonkers in what seems to be a lifetime ago.
The questions of why have never been answered completely, but for at least a couple of years the Balancio family had a measure of redemption. Anthony DiSimone, an alleged member of the Tanglewood Boys, was charged with the murder of their son and put into prison.
What seemed like the justice the Balancio family was looking for instead turned into what the family has described as a shameful display by the New York court system. A technical loophole has DiSimone, who pleaded guilty to the murder of Balancio, walking free down to a reduced charge of reckless manslaughter two months ago.
“We feel disgust that the system changed the rules,” said Jeff Balancio, the victim’s father and former Yonkers city councilman.
The strange loophole came to light when the jury, which once convicted DiSimone of murder with depraved indifference, also acquitted him of second-degree murder. The higher courts ruled that depraved indifference is inappropriate, which throws out the conviction, but leaves the acquittal on the higher charge. Prosecutors had nowhere to go but to lower the bar. DiSimone took that deal, agreeing he stabbed Louis Balancio 13 times and accepting time already served as his punishment.
Dorothy Balancio, a professor of psychology at Mercy College, read a statement during the re-trail on Dec. 13 showing her pain and inability to understand how someone could do something so sadistic to her son.
“This depraved sociopath swore before you, Judge Adler, that he stabbed Louis multiple times in order to kill him, casually confessing as if it were to a shoplifting charge,” said Dorothy Balancio. “I observed that this sociopath pled guilty with cold indifference showing no emotion in his face, having absolutely no remorse.”
During the re-trail, Dorothy, her husband Jeff, and son Jeffery all took the stand to read their own victim’s impact statement, explaining that the deal DiSimone was able to get doesn’t have any merit, and he should still be locked away.
Louis’s brother stated he felt the world change around him after the loss of his brother. “Since 1994, all of our family’s birthdays and holidays have been sad reminders of the void in our lives. Those landmark events were overshadowed by countless vigils, trials and court appeals that have been staggered throughout the years,” said Jeffrey from his statement during the re-trail.
“For six years we were up against a wall of silence and obstacles at every turn. I lost my ability to trust anybody. I push anybody close to me away for fear I would lose them at some point as well. It happens in an instant. Once night you go to sleep, and the world changes around you.”
Supporters of DiSimone claim he was a fall guy. The judge did not agree, but said a three to 10 year sentence is now all the law allows. With the seven served, he will soon become a parolee.
DiSimone must still report to a state prison for official release, and will have to report to a parole office. The judge issued a permanent order of protection that he stays away from the Balancio family.
The Balancio family will continue to fight for their son no matter how long he’s gone in their eyes, trying to right a wrong that happened.
“There are two politicians who are interested in starting a ‘Louis’s Law,’” said Dorothy Balancio. “Hoping to have the safe effect Jessica’s law did for sex offenders, Louis’s Law would make confessed depraved murders register for their actions.”