To Free Or Not? Son Of Slain Mob Associate Is In Jail, Wants To Attend Rites

Posted: April 15, 1999

The son of a murdered mob associate wants to attend his father's funeral.

Trouble is, the son is in jail awaiting sentencing in a stabbing case and prosecutors are afraid he'll bolt.

A judge ruled yesterday that Gino Marconi Jr., 20, convicted in February of stabbing a man eight times, could be freed on $50,000 bail to attend services tonight and tomorrow for his dad, Gino Marconi, who was gunned down last Saturday in a South Philadelphia mob-style ambush.

The matter will be reconsidered by the judge today after the district attorney's office won a stay of his order yesterday.

"If you release him or set any kind of bail, it would be a big mistake," Assistant District Attorney Jerry Teresinski told Common Pleas Judge Webster Keogh yesterday, as more than a dozen Marconi family members scowled at him. "I think he'll run."

Gino Marconi Sr., 42, an auto-body shop owner described as a low-level associate of reputed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, was shot to death outside his home on 20th Street near Porter Saturday night by a man armed with a .22-caliber rifle.

A friend, Patricia Miley, 31, was hit three times in the chest and critically wounded.

Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the hit.

While defense attorney Michael Wallace asked that the younger Marconi simply be able to pay his respects to his father, law-enforcement officials argued that the South Philadelphia felon - scheduled to be sentenced in the stabbing case on April 28 - is a serious flight risk.

They also claimed Marconi could seek retribution for his father's death - or go after his stabbing victim, a young man who is still nursing serious chest wounds.

Teresinski suggested that if Marconi is allowed to attend the funeral he be escorted by sheriff's deputies.

But even after Teresinski's pleas, Keogh set bail at $50,000 and required only that Marconi Jr. check in by telephone each day.

Keogh also initially denied Teresinski's request for a 24-hour stay to appeal to state Superior Court.

"We asked for a 24-hour stay so as to avoid a situation where he could post bail," a frustrated Teresinski said after the first hearing.

But yesterday afternoon, when Teresinski returned to ask Keogh to reconsider his decision, Keogh agreed to a stay and set a hearing for today at 12:30 p.m.

Cops believe at least one gunman shot the elder Marconi, then torched a van parked in front of the Marconi home. Police believe the van may have been used by the killer to stake out the home.

Teresinski said four pounds of marijuana, eight guns and $40,000 in cash were seized from the dead man's home.

The younger Marconi, a South Philadelphia native, was convicted in February of an April 1998 stabbing on Mifflin Street near South 28th.

Police said Marconi and the victim, Ian Coen, 21, had been feuding for about a year. They didn't say what the feud was about.

On April 16, 1998, Marconi and Coen met on Mifflin Street and fought. After the stabbing, Marconi escaped in his car and police later tracked it to his father's auto-body shop, cop sources say.

Coen was taken to St. Agnes Hospital, where he spent six weeks recuperating.

Police sources say that while Coen was hospitalized, Marconi Sr. offered him money not to testify, but Coen ignored the offer and went to court.

The stabbing wasn't the younger Marconi's first brush with the law.

As a juvenile, he was arrested for aggravated assault, though records show the charges were later withdrawn.

As an adult, Marconi was arrested for carrying a gun, officials say. He was found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, but the charge was later overturned in Common Pleas Court, according to law-enforcement officials.

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