FBI agents arrest Amati in Georgia

By Gus Bode

A former Herrin man and one of FBI’s 10 most wanted is in custody in Georgia awaiting extradition to Nevada where he is charged with three murders in a three-month period in 1996.

Tony Ray Amati, 21, of Las Vegas was originally believed to be in Southern Illinois because he has family here. He was arrested Aug. 29 by SIUC Police officers for driving under the influence of alcohol, but gave police the alias Shane W. Wade and was released.

Amati, also known as Phillip D. Gitlitz, Anthony Ray Jones, Debon D. Restivito and Shane W. Wade, was arrested Friday in Atlanta after anonymous tips led to his capture.

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According to America’s Most Wanted website, Amati, who had dyed his hair blonde and was wearing glasses, was living with family in Gainesville, Fla., but traveled to Atlanta as a salesman.

FBI agents found the hotel Amati was staying at in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., and arrested him without incident.

America’s Most Wanted featured Amati Feb. 21 for the shooting deaths of Michael Matta, 27; John Garcia, 49; and Keith Dyer, 22, all of Las Vegas. Each of the bodies had been shot up to 20 times with multiple weapons.

Stacey Dooley, 17, who was walking with Dyer at the time of his shooting, was also shot. Dooley survived the attack with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Also accused in the incidents are Troy Sampson and Eddie James, both of whom are in custody.

According to Las Vegas FBI Special Agent Aurelio Flores, Amati, Sampson and James broke into a Las Vegas gun store in May 1996 and stole 75 firearms.

Amati, Sampson and James were arrested Oct. 3 after allegedly trying to sell stolen weapons to under cover detectives.

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By the time police got a search warrant for Amati’s home, he had posted bail and disappeared.

Amati is charged with murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the murders.

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