February 9, 1993 |
Confessed South Jersey hit man Willard "Junior" Moran heard about the murder of Mario Riccobene last week while sitting in a special wing of a federal prison somewhere in the United States. And even though he's been away from the Philadelphia area for more than a decade, Moran - like Riccobene, a cooperating government witness - knew immediately what it was all about. "It was a message to all of us," Moran, the triggerman in the 1980 murder of union boss John McCullough, said in a telephone interview.
January 13, 1993 |
Rod Colombo lived in the fast lane. And that, law enforcement investigators are saying, makes it all the more difficult to determine how he ended up dead on a quiet, residential street in Audubon last week. Colombo, 29, had been living in South Philadelphia for the last year, according to authorities and family members. But his roots go back to the West Coast where he grew up and where, four years ago in Los Angeles he was tried and acquitted in the murder of a suspected drug dealer.
September 23, 1993 |
He was, they said, a South Philadelphia bon vivant, a happy-go-lucky gambler, a legendary bartender who was known everywhere and knew everyone. What he wasn't, they added quickly, was a gangster. "No way," said a friend yesterday as he left the funeral Mass for Frank J. Baldino at St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church on South Broad Street. "This guy wasn't involved with this stuff. This never should have happened. " This, of course, was the Friday night ambush in the parking lot of the Melrose Diner that left Baldino, 50, riddled with bullets and slumped over the wheel of his late-model Cadillac.
March 13, 2001 |
His name was Butchie. He was a low-level wiseguy who back in 1975 was suspected of skimming money from an organized-crime bookmaking operation in North Jersey. So his friends lured him to a social club on Hudson Street in Newark, offered him a drink at the bar, and shot him twice in the back of the head. Then they dumped his body in a grave already dug in the basement of the club. They poured acid over the body, covered it with dirt, and patched the hole in the floor with cement.
April 11, 1993 |
Rosario Bellocchi, the suspected mob hit man charged with murder in Camden County last week, was angry. The Sicilian-born pizza maker stood with his hands cuffed behind his back during a March 29 preliminary hearing. A Montgomery County District Court judge had just refused to lower his $250,000 cash bail in a mob-related kidnapping case when he shouted: "What am I, an animal? I'm in jail, I didn't do nothing . . . What did I do?" Who Bellocchi is and what he has done are, in fact, two central questions in a broader organized crime investigation that sources say is aimed at bringing down reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss John Stanfa.
May 1, 1990 |
John Gotti's son, John A. "Junior" Gotti, was married two weeks ago, and the New York tabloids went crazy. Blaring headlines and breathless stories were built around bits and pieces of information - some factual, some little more than gossip - about the 26-year-old bridegroom and his 21-year-old bride. There was even more about the wedding reception, a splashy affair at the Helmsley Palace in Manhattan, where, it was later reported, 240 guests were served tenderloin of beef, stuffed veal loin, pasta, shrimp, seared medallions of veal and lobster, mousse and fresh fruit.
June 16, 1993 |
Some of them extort money from innocents. Some bring in heroin from overseas. Some use Bart Simpson's face or Nike sneakers as a kind of drug dealer's code. And some stomp their victims' skulls with a technique they call "sidewalk cracking. " They number more than 700, with enough members - 14,000 - to populate a small town, and enough ethnic backgrounds to rival the United Nations. They have their own language, methods of communications, rules and morals. They are underground societies that operate on fear.
September 27, 1998 |
Central Pennsylvania is full of pleasant surprises. We've frolicked at old-fashioned Knoebels Amusement Park and toured quaint Victorian towns, including Boalsburg and Bellefonte. And then there's charismatic State College and its exciting neighbor, Penn State. Now we can add to our list of "discoveries" Penn's Cave, which calls itself "America's only all-water cavern and wildlife sanctuary. " The sights certainly are unique, especially the one-mile boat ride through a limestone cavern filled with magnificent natural formations.
August 31, 1989 |
A reputed leader of the Junior Black Mafia was rearrested yesterday on conspiracy and assault charges in connection with a February gangland shooting that is believed to be part of a continuing citywide drug war. Aaron Jones, 27, identified by police sources as the street boss of the violent drug ring, was held yesterday on $3 million bail after an arraignment on charges related to the Feb. 21 shooting of Richard Isaac. Jones was arrested yesterday morning after he appeared in City Hall for a hearing on an unrelated weapons offense.
October 9, 1994 |
They talked of cutting out the tongue of a young South Philadelphia mobster, and of burying him and two others in quick-dry cement. They mocked an old bookie who begged for his life after a package containing a dead fish and a bullet arrived at his door. They spoke of crushing a trash tycoon in his own compactor. They ridiculed an informant who had been divorced by his wife and disowned by his family. They considered recruiting hit men from Sicily or New York to rub out dissidents in the Philadelphia underworld.