Mafia Not Mentioned in Nicodemo Getaway Driver Trial

Motive is missing from Nicodemo's trial, but do prosecutors
have one of their own?
After all that, Anthony Nicodemo was only the wheelman and not the shooter in what one police investigator described as the "dumbest" mob hit ever seen.

Only that no longer seems to be an accurate appraisal, as prosecutors at Nicodemo's murder trial, which opened yesterday before a Common Pleas Court jury, have made no mention of the Mafia and are not even alleging that it was a mob hit, which certainly wasn't the case back then.

Some may recall that the hit took place smack, dab in the middle of the second trial of  Philly mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi. Ligambi was let go after both efforts ended in mistrials, which may be the reason that prosecutors essentially whacked the mob as a motive for this trial. (Although as we note below, this whole trial could be a sham to gain leverage on Nicodemo to roll on Ligambi, which would mean the end of the line for the elderly mob boss keeping a low profile these days.)

Prosecutors perhaps do not view the Mafia as a powerful enough driver for the case to result in a guilty verdict. Or, maybe they decided to leave it up to the jurors to decide whether the killing was a mob hit. Prosecutors are certainly using the terminology often associated with gangland hits, mentioning "street executions," "burn phones," "associates."
G. Robert Blakey says jurors expect motive.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo told the jury of seven women and five men that the evidence would show that DiPietro, 50, was "executed in the street" by an assailant who is still at large, and that Nicodemo's job was to drive him and toss the gun. He said Nicodemo was involved in a "conspiracy to assassinate" DiPietro, and that as the driver, he was just as guilty as the shooter. He also noted that a pre-paid phone, a "burn phone," was found that showed four calls that occurred from the time of the shooting up until the police arrived at Nicodemo's home, all of which were traced to another burn phone, he said.

Zarallo also said a "close associate" of Nicodemo, Domenic Grande, fit the description of the shooter who wore black clothes and a mask and gloves, according to two witnesses. The shooter was described as short and stocky.

Zarallo said the evidence would be sufficient to find Nicodemo guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. He faces 30 years to life if convicted of the first degree murder charge. He is also facing conspiracy and weapons charges.

As Philly.com reported: "One thing I cannot answer is why," Zarallo said. "I wish we could, but there are certain things people hold within their hearts and within their heads. And one thing the commonwealth doesn't have to prove is motive."

They may not have to offer a motive, but the jury is certainly going to want one. Might have been better to go with the mob hit scenario, for prosecutors anyway. Bet this was a thorny issue among members of the prosecution team.

As G. Robert Blakey himself told us: "Link the hand to the body equals guilt if you can produce a motive, though one is not required, save to answer the jury's question: Why?"

In his opening, defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle portrayed Nicodemo as the victim of an aborted carjacking. Nicodemo was driving his black Honda Pilot SUV when a masked, gloved gunman jumped into his car, stashed the murder weapon in a pocket behind the driver's seat, then jumped out and ran.

DiPietro, a known drug dealer, was gunned down on South Iseminger Street shortly before 3 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2012, as he stood next to his pickup truck, parked near his home.

Among the trial's first witnesses was James Noone, who had delivered mail on that route for 20 years and said he knew DiPietro.

As Philly.com reported: Noone said he had parked his mail truck in the 1200 block of Johnston Street when he heard a shot. He said he walked around the corner and looked down Iseminger, where he saw a masked man standing over the body of a man near a gold pickup, firing rounds into him.

Another witness, Louis Houck, said he was walking along South Camac Street when he heard four or five shots and saw a masked man run south from an alley and jump into the back of a black Honda Pilot. He said he memorized the tag number, HTK-1942, and reported the information to police arriving at the scene.

Zarallo said that within minutes, police had identified the vehicle and were at Nicodemo's house, where he was taken into custody.

Zarallo said a .357 Magnum revolver was found wrapped in clothing in the back of the driver's seat. Zarallo said ballistics tests showed the revolver fired the shots that killed DiPietro.

Nicodemo was initially charged with first-degree murder in a gangland shooting that one police investigator called the "dumbest" mob hit he has ever seen.

A former federal prosecutor agreed, calling the broad daylight slaying of DiPietro Wednesday afternoon "amateurish" but indicative of what the Philadelphia crime family has become.

Nicodemo was taken into custody less than 30 minutes after the shooting. Witnesses had spotted him fleeing the scene in an SUV and gave authorities the license tag number. The vehicle was registered in Nicodemo's name and listed at his address, a few blocks from where DiPietro was gunned down.

The married father of two young children was arrested at that home without incident. He was charged with murder, conspiracy and weapons charges Thursday afternoon after a ballistic test linked a gun found in his car with a bullet fragment from the murder scene. Police also found gloves and a ski mask in the vehicle, a black Honda Pilot, according to an investigative source."

Police in South Philly believed at the time that the shooting of a 50-year-old man was a mob-sanctioned hit, which occurred hours after prosecutors rested their case in the trial of reputed Mafia boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi.

According to George Anastasia on Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog:
Law enforcement sources who have been following the case shook their heads and rolled their eyes. Nicodemo, they pointed out, has been held without bail since his arrest on the day of the shooting. Yet this is the first time he has offered any explanation of what happened. If, in fact, he was the victim of what amounted to a carjacking, they said, then he could have offered that explanation when they came knocking on his door minutes after DiPietro was killed.
Anastasia revealed other interesting tidbits:
  • At the time of the shooting, several sources said DiPietro was suspected of cooperating with authorities in ongoing narcotics investigation. 
  • Nicodemo has been identified by New Jersey authorities as a suspect in the 2003 murder of mobster John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto....Law enforcement sources have indicated that Nicodemo could work a deal by giving up what he knows about the Casasanto murder and other acts of violence that authorities believe are linked to mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his top associates.
  • The Casasanto shooting is one of three unsolved murders that occurred during Ligambi's reign. Ligambi and six associates were on trial for racketeering at the time the DiPietro murder occurred. Ligambi and two of those defendants beat the charges. 
Anastasia also wrote: "One underworld source predicted that Nicodemo would take his chances by going to trial for the DiPietro slaying, but would cut a deal if he were convicted.

"If he blows trial, he'll start talking," the source said.

Comments

  1. I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any means but something about this case is weird. I know the fbi is calling this the dumbast hit but for the last decade they've said that incident is a crafty hitman suspected of 3 gangland murders. Why would he all The sudden do a blatant hit in broad daylight in is own vehicle with a man who didn't directly concern him. Either he was set up or he let someone use his vehicle and
    they did this dumb sh*t and he doesn't want to snitch on them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right -- you don't usually see a Mafia hit happen in broad daylight on main street. Unless, perhaps it's some kind of immediate threat. The guy who was killed was an informant. Make of that what you will...

      Delete
  2. Anthony nicodemo is not the sharpest tool in the shed. The D A office admitted nicodemo is not the shooter they believe Dominic Grande is .Christ we seen a month ago Hecror scumbag pagan admitted he was the shooter and they convicted two other guys. Gonna be pretty intersting ED what these jurors do here cause he.s on his own so if he.s found guiltu i dont see him doing 30 yrs for Grande and the rest of those clowns i know they wouldnt do it for himthats a fact we.ll know after memorial day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt at all the prosecution wants him to flip but so far he hasn't, as unlikely as his defense sounds (him never saying he was carjacked). As Anastasia noted, Nicodemo has been identified as a suspect in the murder of mobster John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto....the Casasanto murder is one of three unsolved murders that occurred during Ligambi's reign; they want to put Uncle Joe away and it is clear, they have a shot if Nicodemo loses this trial and decides to turn. Bottom line: any day these proceedings could halt mid-trial, and on that day, Uncle Joe would need his lawyer.

      Delete
    2. Trust me he loses this trial he.s talking cause if he goes back on the stroeet the new boss of the borgesi ligambi crime family BOY GEORGE BORGESI WILL HAVE HIM KILLED after that stupid non sanction hit that nothing to do with the mob Anthony was probably getting a piece of the drug
      money from diepitro he found out dipitrio was cooperating with the cops they say Boy George Borgesi doesnt like his guys fucking with that shit but he was in the joint at the time of the hit

      Delete
    3. JB, I am doing a brief survey; thinking of adding a new system for comments on this blog. You are one of the few who uses a name - most comments are - anonymous - so I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, get your feedback, etc. If you feel like, email me at eddie2843@gmail.com and put the initials JB in the remark line. Grazie

      Delete
  3. Another guy who got problems if nicodemo talks is ANTHONY STAINO
    he was the buffer who relayed uncle Joes orders should be interesting

    ReplyDelete
  4. DECISIONS DECISIONS DECISIONS
    K sir ra sir ra baby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sure that comment was meant for this story?

      Delete
    2. Its meant for Anthony and Nicodemo its breaking balls cause everyone knows neither is gonna do life for this thing of ours or them other idiots. George A shut the comment section down because BOSS BOY GEORGE BORGESI AND OTHERS WHERE COMPLAINING they wanna kniw who the anonymous peoples #are .and some comments were pretty nasty its a SoPhilly thing ED

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    3. Interesting.....Might have made a good story! If the comments were still posted, anyway....

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    4. I dont know ur relationship with GeorgeA but i know him realy nice guy touch base or screen other articles that are posted sometimes the peole post on other sights because the mob comment section is on shut down u piss ur self laughing with the comments about the mob but its all anonymous because they know if they u thete email its bye bye

      Delete

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