Three Unsolved Hits Haunt Mob Boss "Uncle Joe"

Anthony Nicodemo's Philadelphia murder trial ended in a mistrial last month.

John Alite offered testimony on the hit
on Johnny "Gongs" Casasanto.

In addition to the murder for which he currently faces charges, Nicodemo has been identified as a suspect in the 2003 murder of John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto. Law enforcement sources have said that the young mob soldier could work out a deal using his supposed information regarding the Casasanto murder and other acts of violence, including two additional murders said to be linked to Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his top associates.

The other murder victims are Ronnie Turchi, who was hit in 1999, and Raymond “Long John” Martorano, who reached the end of the road in 2002.

In this article we take a look at the three hits that law enforcement would love to pin on Uncle Joe, one of the more successful modern bosses. He is credited with cooling down the Philly underworld following decades of  unrest. Departing jail after being held without bail during the time it took  two mistrials to run their course, Ligambi started talking about retirement.

We include insights that a source from Philadelphia shared with us...

Aside from Nicodemo, authorities reportedly have the names of other people connected to the three shootings, as well as scraps of information that could be used "to build cases" against "Uncle Joe," as George Anastasia wrote. He noted that nothing appears imminent, but that was before the possibility of Nicodemo flipping after losing big time in a trial largely considered unwinnable for one of the "dumbest mob hits ever."

Anastasia, in a 2009 article on, reported that South Philadelphia mob associate John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto "was angling to join New York's Gambino crime family in 2002, but a bullet to the back of the head short-circuited that career move.
Johnny "Gongs" fancied  himself a  ladies
man, right up until his pals killed him.

"None other than John Gotti Jr. backed Casasanto, 35, who hoped to get "straightened out" - formally initiated - after befriending the mob boss while they were inmates in a federal detention center in New York state, according to a key government witness."

John Alite, the prosecution's star witness in the then-ongoing racketeering trial of Gotti Jr. in federal court in New York City, offered the information.

Alite told authorities that, during his stay in South Jersey, he met with Casasanto several times in 2002 as well as with various leaders of the Philadelphia mob, including those suspected of ordering Casasanto's murder in November 2003.

Alite said Gotti "set up appointments for me with the bosses in Philly," including Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and Ralph Natale in 1995.

Alite said he met with Casasanto several times after Casasanto came home from prison in 2002.

Alite had served time with Casasanto at a federal prison in Allenwood, Pa., in the mid-1990s. Later Casasanto was transferred to Ray Brook, N.Y., where he met Gotti.

Alite said Gotti sent messages from prison through Casasanto's brother, Steven, who would visit Gotti and Casasanto there.

Testifying at the Gotti trial, Alite said that after Casasanto was released from prison he had sought from Alite an introduction to New York. According to Casasanto, Gotti wanted Alite to bring him to New York "to introduce him to a couple of guys . . . to get him straightened out," Alite testified. Alite said he confirmed that was true through other Gambino family associates who had heard from Gotti Jr.

But Alite said he didn't go along with the program. "I met with him after that and I said, 'Johnny, you'll get killed in New York. Every corner there's guys, not like in Philly where there's only one crew. And they fight each other all the time.'

"He was a wild kid . . . and he didn't understand the life, not New York gangster life. He might have understood the mob life in Philly. It's a big difference."

Anastasia noted: "According to those investigating his death, he was killed by people he trusted. Authorities believe he let two associates into his rowhouse on Durfor Street around 2 a.m. on Nov. 22, 2003. Minutes later he was shot in the back of the head."

Alite said he had met with Ligambi in Haddon Township, in the law office of M.W. "Mike" Pinsky, who had represented Ligambi and Alite.

Ligambi and his associates asked Alite several questions about Casasanto, "including questions about [his] behavior in prison."

Alite said he and other inmates suspected Casasanto was a jailhouse informant.

"Casasanto, who was sentenced to 97 months on a racketeering charge in 1994, was a mob outsider when he came home in 2002. He had sided with crime boss John Stanfa in the mid-1990s during a bloody war with the faction of the mob that Ligambi reputedly now heads," Anastasia wrote.

Considered  a hothead, he returned to South Philadelphia where he got into bar fights and a stabbing. He also was suspected of dealing drugs and shaking down local bar and restaurant owners.

A ladies' man, his relationships with the girlfriends or wives of other mobsters created friction within the underworld and added another potential motive for his death, authorities have said.

As if he didn't have enough of those...

A Philadelphia source told Cosa Nostra News: "Johnny Gongs was a little renegade... he was a neighborhood guy who got too big for his britches and started running his mouth off that he was fucking [a former mob boss's ex-wife]. There you have it -- the dysfunctional philly mob."

Hit on Turchi Was Classic...
There is no shortage of theories regarding the 1999 brutal gangland hit of Ronald Turchi, either, a convicted arsonist and one-time Mafia consigliere busted to capo in the mid-1990s. In and out of prison, the troubled mobster was found in the trunk of his wife's car in South Philadelphia.

He was found around noon on Passyunk Avenue near Christian Street. Turchi, naked, was shot twice in the back of the head, over which a white blood-filled plastic bag had been pulled. His hands and feet were tied with white rope.

"It was reminiscent of many mob hits of the 1980s," wrote
Turchi was found in his wife's trunk.

Turchi was considered an ally of one-time mob boss Ralph Natale, who, it was later learned, only was boss following the abrupt violent reign of Sicilian boss John Stanfa because Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and his crew of young turks who went to war with Stanfa wanted a "front boss" to keep the heat off of themselves.

Natale flipped shortly before the Turchi slaying. On the stand in February 2001, Natale said that Turchi was killed for trying to pull a bizarre move: He had paid $10,000 to a high-ranking Gambino to "buy" the position of Philadelphia mob boss.

A source told us: "Ralph was a stone cold killer but he was even a bigger liar... Joey ran the show back then and he still has guys in top positions that are loyal... As for Ron Turchi he was playing both sides, giving Stanfa info on Joey's crew and giving Joey info on John's crew. .. Ralph and Joey were on the way up after Stanfa was arrested. They might have promised Ron something, but they didn't want to share the wealth; there lies the problem. When Ralph was locked up again Turchi wanted to make a move against the younger crew. Some say Uncle Joe wasn't having any of that had him clipped.

"Turchi was always talking about being boss some day to certain people but as far as the $10,000 he didnt have 2 cents to rub together; he was a degenerate gambler. It was later learned he was working as an informant... another reason he was killed."

Turchi once controlled the lucrative numbers operation in South Philadelphia and was reported to have been circulating in gambling circles in South Philadelphia.

He'd been inducted into the Mafia in the early 1990s by then-mob boss John Stanfa. Turchi later switched sides in the middle of a 1993 mob war.

After Stanfa was arrested in 1994 and Natale took over the local mob with New York's approval, Natale elevated Turchi to consigliere. The two apparently had a falling out over a year later, however, and Turchi was busted down to capo in 1996.

During testimony in Merlino's trial one mob informant linked Ligambi toTurchi's slaying.

Long John Didn't Step Aside...
Raymond "Long John" Martorano, an aging mobster and one-time major moneymaker, was shot and critically wounded on Jan. 17, 2002.

Martorano, 74, was in his car and about to drive to a doctor's appointment that afternoon, when two
gunmen ran up on him and opened fire. He was hit several times in the chest and arms, but managed to drive the six blocks to his doctor's office before crashing his Lincoln Towncar into a fire hydrant.

He remained in critical condiction for three weeks and died on Feb. 5.

A police officer who talked to Martorano said the dying mobster didn't know who had shot him.

One law-enforcement source believed the shooting was connected to an attempt by Martorano to reestablish himself in the underworld.

Martorano was once a major methamphetamine dealer. A source told that the veteran mob soldier had been trying to move into the gambling business in South Philadelphia since his release from prison in 1999.

"He can't help himself," said an underworld source. "It's like people who can't retire. They have to have something to do. There's money in gambling. It's the easiest and it's the best money."

Ray "Long John" Martorano was supposed to retire. He didn't.
So they whacked him while he was driving. It took him three
weeks to die.

Federal and state investigators said that acting mob boss Joseph Ligambi had taken control of the gambling operations in Merlino's absence. Martorano and Ligambi, 62, were both soldiers under mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo in the early 1980s. Both were convicted of gangland murders, and both were released from prison after those convictions were overturned.

While in prison, Martorano reportedly had a falling out with Scarfo.

Martorano served more than 17 years in prison on drug-trafficking and murder charges before his release in November 1999. The release came after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling overturning his 1984 conviction in the murder of Philadelphia Roofers Union boss John McCullough. The conviction was tossed out based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Martorano once owned a popular South Philadelphia restaurant, Cous' Little Italy at 11th and Christian Streets. He also served as point man for the mob in its control of the South Jersey Bartenders' Union in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Martorano had been an associate of mob boss Angelo Bruno in the 1960s and 1970s. Bruno, who was killed in 1980, was a salesman for John's Vending, a cigarette-vending machine company run by Martorano and his brother.

Our source told us: "Long John was from the old regime and had no respect for nobody and started stepping on the wrong toes. He had no help to make a move... all his guys were in jail or dead. They were letting him earn... "

He then named a capo and soldier in Philadelphia who were responsible for carrying out the hit. We won't name the two here.


  1. Clinton CeeRay FussellJun 13, 2014, 8:42:00 PM

    It's all over for the moronic Philly Mafia. They don't have the resources or the manpower to recover from what's about to happen. At least the New York Mafia families can recover. I doubt Philly will be able to. Just my opinion.

  2. Guy always reminded me of the boss from Reservoir Dogs.

  3. Natalie guercio and Drita are smoking really love to meet them two young ladies

  4. Well put Ed ur buddy also why arent all the comments showing up.

  5. That pic is of George "Cowboy/Don't Nobody Move" Martorano,not his dad Raymond "Long John" Martorano.

  6. They have been -- some missing??

  7. They showed up ed.

  8. Sad to hear. If Karen does cone back, she should let Renee fight her own Dayum battles. Dont get involved in Renee's madness!

  9. Rumor has it karen needs this gig she.s broke they were saying is that true last time she was on she was going into the recoeding bussiness or did the brothers just turn her fat ass out then beat her for the money imagine that.

  10. Clinton CeeRay FussellJun 14, 2014, 5:39:00 PM

    The last smooth operator to lead the Philadelphia Mafia was Angelo Bruno. It was dirty the way they whacked him. And then the psychopathic Nicodemo Scarfo took over. It all started falling apart with a shotgun blast to Mr. Bruno's head. The bosses that came after him - Nicodemo Scarfo, John Stanfa, Ralph Natale, Joseph Merlino - were all out of their league as bosses of a Mafia family. They should never have risen above the rank of soldier. Joseph Ligambi seems to be an old school mobster who is low key and below the radar, but he's trying to repair an empire that crumbled long before he took the throne. There's a lot of irony in the Mafia, so who knows what the future holds. All I'm saying is that things don't look good so far.

  11. At least karen brings authenticity to the show for her being Sammy's daughter

  12. u make a very good point clinton UJ righted the ship but with his nephew out and him being the new boss its only a matyer of time before greed and shit hit the fan again

  13. Clinton CeeRay FussellJun 14, 2014, 7:15:00 PM

    Yeah I know the problem with today's gangsters is that they're not interested in creating dynasties that will survive, thrive, and prosper long after they're gone like the old bosses. The Mob no longer has any visionaries, but instead just a bunch of short - sighted greedy egotistical thugs who are only in it for themselves.

  14. was involved with this some of those guys seen what they were about and got out nothen but trouble and deceitfull ness wouldve ended up killing them or them killing me im better on my own

  15. Sorry,Ed----I was away for a few days.Back when he was in circulation,George Martorano's street nickname was "Cowboy".The "Don't Nobody Move" moniker is a nod to the incident at Meletis restaurant in May of 1981.

  16. Ronen she started out alright
    but she became a pain in the ass im sure her fathers real happy with her choice of men.

  17. Yeah, man. I wanna do unholy things to and for and with Natalie that she'd never forget...

  18. Whoa, I was taking about a game of Monopoly without following the instructions -- ya can't say that on this blog!


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