Alleged mobster charged with murder in S. Phila. slaying

Police at the scene on the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street. Victim Gino DiPietro had a mob past, his son said. He may have been cooperating with authorities.
Police at the scene on the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street. Victim Gino DiPietro had a mob past, his son said. He may have been cooperating with authorities. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 15, 2012

Anthony Nicodemo, a reputed mob soldier, was charged Thursday night in the daytime slaying Wednesday of Gino DiPietro outside his home in South Philadelphia, city police said.

Authorities matched a bullet fragment found on DiPietro's clothes with a gun found in an automobile registered to Nicodemo, a police source confirmed Thursday.

Nicodemo, 41, of the 3200 block of South 17th Street, was charged with murder and related offenses.

Also Thursday, a federal judge said he would individually question the 15 jurors in the federal racketeering trial of seven alleged Philadelphia mobsters when court resumes Tuesday to see if they had been exposed to news coverage of the slaying.

DiPietro, 50, was gunned down in the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street shortly before 3 p.m. A black Honda SUV was seen speeding away, and police later matched the description with Nicodemo's 2011 Honda Pilot, which was parked in the block where he lives with his wife and two children. A gun was found in the Honda.

DiPietro's son Julian, 22, reacted to the news of the ballistics match by saying of Nicodemo, "Hope he rots" in prison.

Julian DiPietro and his brother, Gino Jr., were at their father's home Thursday evening, going through family memorabilia, when the news broke.

Julian DiPietro said his father had left the mob life behind and was a hardworking man who delivered auto parts for a living. His father had just come home from work when he was fatally shot.

"About six years he had that job, staying out of trouble and being a family man," said Julian DiPietro. "His past is his past."

At Nicodemo's home in Packer Park, a woman answering the intercom did not respond to a reporter's attempt to ask questions. The house was decorated with Christmas lights and inflatable teddy bears.

A neighbor who did not give his name said Nicodemo lived there with his wife and two children and was a good neighbor. Other than that, "I don't know anything," the neighbor said before going back into his house.

The shooting of DiPietro brought an element of surprise to the trial of Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six underlings as it ended its eighth week of testimony with the conclusion of the prosecution's case.

The jurors were not present in court Thursday, a day reserved for lawyers for the seven alleged mobsters to argue motions for judgments of acquittal, a usual move once the prosecution's case has ended. U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno said he would rule when the trial resumes Tuesday.

But before Thursday's session ended, Ligambi's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs, brought up the DiPietro killing and how it might affect the jury.

Jacobs told Robreno he was worried because DiPietro's name had been mentioned in testimony and some media reports speculated about a link between the shooting and the trial.

DiPietro's name may be familiar to jurors. One of the last wiretapped conversations prosecutors played for the jury involved DiPietro.

George Anastasia, a former Inquirer reporter and an expert on organized crime now blogging about the Ligambi trial for the website BigTrial.net, said that if DiPietro's slaying was linked to the Philadelphia mob or any of the defendants, it would undercut the defense's theory of the case: that the mob is a nonviolent, modern organization far removed from the storied days of violence and hit men.

Anastasia said DiPietro, a convicted drug dealer, was rumored to be cooperating with law enforcement.


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983, bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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