Nicodemo retrial in suspected hit not until next year

Anthony Nicodemo had a mistrial this year.
Anthony Nicodemo had a mistrial this year.
Posted: June 18, 2014

It looks as if Anthony Nicodemo's retrial in the 2012 slaying of Gino DiPietro in South Philadelphia won't be happening until early next year.

At a status conference hearing late last week, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart scheduled a new pretrial conference for Dec. 1, but the retrial - Nicodemo's first trial ended May 20 in a mistrial amid rumors that someone had approached a juror - did not get a firm date.

Before the mistrial was declared, the jury had already lost two alternates because of exposure to pretrial publicity. When juror No. 8 was dismissed, the panel was reduced to 11. Although a criminal trial may continue with 11 jurors, both sides must agree. That did not happen in the case of the 42-year-old reputed mob soldier.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo said there is an ongoing investigation into possible jury tampering, although no one has been charged.

DiPietro, 50, was gunned down shortly before 3 p.m. Dec. 12, 2012, as he stood by his pickup truck in the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street.

Although DiPietro did time in prison for drug and gun violations, his family denied he had any connections to the mob. Furthermore, authorities have never alleged that he was a member of South Philadelphia's La Cosa Nostra crime family.

Before the trial opened, Minehart ruled that prosecutors could not talk about a connection to organized crime unless they could prove that it had been a mob hit.

Consequently, in his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo did not mention organized crime, nor did he offer a motive. Instead, Zarallo said that DiPietro was "executed in the street" by an assailant who was still at large, and that Nicodemo's job was to help the shooter escape and ditch the weapon.

Nicodemo was taken into custody at his home the day of the murder, and a search of his SUV turned up the .357-caliber Magnum revolver used to gun down DiPietro.

Defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle has maintained that Nicodemo was the victim of an aborted carjacking by a masked gunman who apparently stashed the revolver in Nicodemo's vehicle.


jslobodzian@phillynews.com

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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