'60 Minutes' to show 2 images of former Phila. mob hitman

Former mob hit man John Veasey's biography details his work for one of the city's mob organizations, the hits he carried out, the attempt on his life, and more.
Former mob hit man John Veasey's biography details his work for one of the city's mob organizations, the hits he carried out, the attempt on his life, and more. (JON ANDERSON / Philly.com)
Posted: March 18, 2013

Convicted Philadelphia mob hit man John Veasey claims in a CBS News 60 Minutes report to be aired Sunday evening that he's a changed man, driving a church school bus and regularly attending worship services as a born-again Christian in a middle-class suburb.

Yet the program observes Veasey, who has married and works as a successful salesman of luxury cars in an undisclosed location in the Midwest, is still exhibiting some of his former underworld bravado.

He explains in the program how he instigated a barroom fight that resulted in his guilty plea for misdemeanor battery.

"I waited for him to take his drink, and I sized him up and I hit him with a good punch and the glass went through his face," the 60 Minutes website quotes Veasey as saying. "The only reason [the battery case] is big for me [is] because I'm a killer. You think about how many of your friends had a barroom fight growing up."

Veasey was a key player in the South Philly mob wars of the 1990s. Aligned with then-Philadelphia mob boss John Stanfa, Veasey participated in multiple murders and attempted murders, including the attempted killing of mobster Joseph "Skinny Joe" Merlino. In that August 1993 ambush, Michael Ciancaglini, another mobster, died on the sidewalk.

In October 1995, on the day that Veasey was scheduled to take the stand in the criminal trial of Stanfa and seven codefendants, Veasey's brother Bill was gunned down as he left his home on Bouvier Street near Oregon Avenue, shot in the head and the chest.

Veasey hasn't exactly kept a low profile of late.

He recounted his brutal career in some detail in an e-book written by former Inquirer reporter Ralph Cipriano and TV reporter Dave Schratwieser, expanding on the testimony that he gave during the Stanfa trial, and told a similarly sordid story on Philly.com.

Despite Veasey's claim that he has turned over a new leaf, 60 Minutes quotes a Philadelphia woman, Kathy Ciancaglini, whose husband, John, was acquitted of the murder of Veasey's brother, as saying that Veasey has left intimidating messages on the couple's voice mail.

Veasey says in the 60 Minutes report that even as he worked as a hit man for the mob in the 1990s, he volunteered as a Boy Scout leader. According to the program, the "irony" never occurred to him.

"I never really thought about it like that," Veasey is quoted as saying. "I mean, I would drive by and I'd have the kids in my station wagon and then at night, I might be in the Cadillac."

He said he would hunt down people at night that he had been ordered to kill, according to 60 Minutes.


Contact Chris Mondics at 215-854-5957 or cmondics@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|