California Professional Firefighters

Help Keep Murderous Arsonist Behind Bars

Fallen LA City firefighter Tom Taylor

On March 11, 2015, another parole hearing will be held for a convicted murderer whose 1981 arson fire took the life of one of L.A. City's bravest.

Once again, firefighters are being asked to write letters to help keep him behind bars. 

WATCH: The arson murder of Brother Tom Taylor.

In 1981, Catanio was paid $2,500 to set fire to a North Hollywood restaurant, Cugee's Cafe, as part of an insurance fraud scheme. In the course of fighting that fire, eight Los Angeles City Firefighters were injured and one, Thomas Taylor, lost his life. Brother Taylor, a second-generation Firefighter, was only 34-years old when he was killed. He left behind a wife and two children who grew up without a father. Catanio, then a 42-year-old barber in Van Nuys, was arrested eight months later. He was sentenced in 1983 to 25 years to life in prison for murder and federal mail fraud.

Since his conviction, Mario Catanio has consistently shown no remorse for his crime and he has never apologized for the actions that took Brother Taylor's life. Furthermore, Catanio remains a risk to public safety more than three decades after his conviction on murder and burglary.

In 2012, the State Parole Board granted his request -a decision that was an affront to every firefighter and law enforcement officer. Through the efforts of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 and California Professional Firefighters, Governor Brown reversed the parole request of arsonist-for-hire Mario Catanio and kept him behind bars. One year later, a concerted effort led by UFLAC and CPF garnered stacks of letters, helping to persuade the Parole Board to uphold Brown's action.

Because Catanio is able to continue applying for parole, the his case will again be up. Make no mistake: Mario Catanio remains a serious public safety threat and he deserves to stay behind bars.

This past week, the City of Los Angeles adopted a resolution introduced by Councilmember Krekorian urging the parole board to deny the release of Mario Catanio so that he will continue to serve his lawful sentence as a consequence of his role in the death of Apparatus Operator Thomas G. Taylor.

It is critical that the Parole Board hear from firefighters and the public who oppose the parole of Mario Catanio. 

With the pending hearing on March 11th, we need your help once again to keep a potentially dangerous criminal from being released onto the streets.

Write a Letter to the State Parole Board

We encourage you to write a letter to the State Parole Board urging that Inmate Catanio be denied parole because he is still a serious threat to society.

Letter Writing Requirements

1) Use plain stationary - Stationary with letterhead or a logo printed on it will not be accepted.
2) Sign your letter - Unsigned letters will not be read by the parole board members.
3) Subject or Re: Line - Your letter MUST reference the inmate's name, CDC #, and date of hearing as follows:

Inmate: Mario Catanio
CDC #: C-77711
Date of Hearing: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Only your letter must list this information. Do not add this information to your envelope.

4) Mailing deadline - Your letter must be mailed no later than February 25, 2015.
5) Address envelope as follows -

Board of Parole Hearings
Attn: Pre-Hearing Correspondence
P.O. Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036

Letter Writing Tips

The purpose of a parole hearing is to determine if or when an inmate can be returned to society. Under normal circumstances, the panel or the Board shall set a release date unless it determines that the gravity of the crime (offense), or the timing and gravity of current or past convictions, requires a more lengthy period of incarceration to ensure public safety.

You can use the salutation: Dear Chairman and Parole Board Members.

Your letter can include certain details of the crime and Catanio's actions that you want the panel to know about.

Your letter should remind the board that Catanio remains a threat to society, the Taylor family, and the City of Los Angeles.

Your letter will remain confidential by designating so on the envelope and at the top of your letter.

Click HERE to view a sample letter of opposition. Please use this only as a guide. Try to put the letter into your own words.

Background Information

WATCH: CPF Firevision - Keep Arsonist Behind Bars

Governor Brown's ruling denying parole to Mario Catanio from December 2012

Tom Taylor's story from the L.A. Fire Historical Archive

"Fireman's Comrades Mourn Death"

"Family, Friends, Co-Workers Remember Beloved Firefighter"