That trial is set to resume today after a recess for Columbus Day. Federal authorities, reacting to the Billy Veasey shooting, delayed John Veasey's court appearance last week and have declined to say when they will call their star witness. But John Veasey, an admitted hit man who turned informant last year, is likely to make his trial debut today or tomorrow, according to several sources.
Those same sources said that John Veasey was permitted a private viewing of his brother's body Sunday, but that, for security reasons, he was not permitted to attend either the wake Sunday night or yesterday's funeral services.
John Veasey, 29, has been jailed in protective custody since surviving a January 1994 mob hit, which federal authorities say was ordered by Stanfa.
The murder of Billy Veasey - friends describe him as a tough guy with a heart of gold, but police say he was involved in gambling and other racketeering activities - is believed by most investigators to be a message
from the mob.
Most say it was an attempt to intimidate potential witnesses, both those scheduled to testify and those who might be considering cooperating with authorities.
"I wouldn't want to comment on that," said Peter Scuderi, a lawyer and a friend of Billy Veasey's who attended yesterday's service.
Scuderi, standing outside Calvary Temple Church after the funeral, described Veasey, 35, as "Mister South Philadelphia . . . He had a rough side, but if you knew him, you would have liked him."
Between 50 and 60 people attended the 9:30 a.m. service at Calvary Temple, at 20th and Geary Streets.
For most, including Veasey's wife, Darlene, and several other family members, the day began at the Pennsylvania Burial Co. in the 1300 block of South Broad. There, on Sunday night, more than 200 people had turned out for Veasey's wake.
Shortly after 9 a.m. yesterday, a 20-car funeral entourage headed south on Broad Street from the funeral home. With Veasey's wife, oldest son, Billy Jr., and other family members riding in a limousine behind the hearse and with two open cars packed with flowers in line behind them, the procession wound past the landmarks familiar to all South Philadelphians.
The hearse drove by Passyunk Avenue and the Melrose Diner, South Philadelphia High School and Methodist Hospital.
It crossed Oregon Avene at Broad, just four blocks from 18th and Oregon, where Veasey was gunned down. Then came Marconi Plaza, with dozens of American and Italian flags in commemoration of Columbus Day, and the stadium complex.
The hearse turned right on Hartranft Street, traveled six blocks to 20th Street, then turned right again for the one-block drive to the entrance of Calvary Temple, the Assemblies of God church where Billy Veasey and his wife were married.
With television cameras and newspaper photographers recording the event, pallbearers carried Veasey's coffin into the church for the hour-long service and back to the hearse for the final ride to Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill.
Among those attending the service were nearly a dozen classmates of Billy Veasey Jr.'s from Episcopal Academy. Veasey Jr., a standout athlete like his father, is attending the prep school on an ice-hockey scholarship, according to several family friends.
"He's just a really good kid," said one police investigator on hand to observe the funeral.
The service included a eulogy by Doug Ress, another lawyer friend of Billy Veasey's, and a sermon by the Rev. Edward E. Menaldino, pastor of Calvary Temple.
Mr. Menaldino, in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon, said he spoke to the family about "how God understands their suffering."
And of Billy Veasey's murder, Mr. Menaldino said, "Some people mark this occasion as something heroic or macho, but the point I tried to make was that strength and heroism is in bringing life, not in bringing death."