Former Philadelphia Mob Boss Nicky Scarfo Is Dead

Looks like Nicodemo D. “Little Nicky” Scarfo, known for his reign of violence over the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra in the 1980s, won't walk out of prison one day, as a source had previously surmised.

Scarfo died in a federal prison medical facility in Butner, NC, underworld sources have revealed, as reported by George Anastasia on Big Trial.

Nicodemo Scarfo dies
Little Nicky, right, Phil Leonetti, and Lawrence Merlino; Leonetti and Merlino
both flipped. Merlino died in 2001.

Anastasia noted in the story, posted around three hours earlier tonight that:
"Prison officials could not be reached to confirm the report which began circulating in South Philadelphia this morning. Scarfo had been an inmate at the medical facility for more than a year. Cause of death, which reportedly occurred on Friday, could not be determined, but sources said he had been plagued with several medical problems."

Scarfo was 87 and allegedly was doing his best to make it out of prison alive after completing his 55-year sentence for racketeering and murder charges. That was a nearly impossible goal, however, as it would've meant Scarfo living to the ripe old age of 103.

Scarfo and 16 others were convicted in 1988 on racketeering and murder charges.

In 1963, Angelo Bruno had banished Scarfo for his violent manners to a then-backwater area on the outskirts of the Philadelphia Mafia's empire, called Atlantic City.

Scarfo took over the Philadelphia crime family following the 1980 murder by nail bomb of  Philip “Chicken Man” Testa.

Testa rose to the pinnacle for what was a (very) brief run following the 1980 shotgun slaying of longtime Philadelphia Mafia boss Bruno. The old-school Cosa Nostra boss was shot and killed while seated in the front seat of his car, which was parked in front of his South Philadelphia home on that notorious night in March 1980.

(Law enforcement later questioned Bruno's driver that night, John Stanfa; law enforcement officials believed Stanfa was in on the hit. Stanfa would rise to the pinnacle of the crime family after Scarfo and end up spending his reign fighting Joseph Skinny Joey Merlino and his faction, which allegedly used Ralph Natale as a front boss, so he could be the focus for law enforcement and the media.)

The diminutive mob boss who killed scores of wiseguys.

As Anastasia noted:

Around 25 mob members and associates were killed during Scarfo's reign, most directly on Scarfo's orders.

About that same number of members and associates were indicted and jailed owing to Scarfo's poor leadership skills.

Basically, Scarfo's violent reign, including the murders and all those indicted  "wiped out a generation of potential leaders."  The Feds focused on using testimony from mobsters who had fallen out of favor with the murderous mob boss and went to the government seeking protection from Scarfo's wrath.

READ Nicky Scarfo, 87, Will Walk Out of Prison, Retired Prison Guard Quips

Scarfo transformed what was once a highly profitable and tightly run crime family into "a shell" of what it had once been.

Among the witnesses who testified at Scarfo's 1988 trial were Thomas “Tommy Del” DelGiorno and Nicholas “Nicky Crow” Caramandi. 

"Their testimony opened the flood gates, and for a time Philadelphia had the unique underworld distinction of providing more cooperating witnesses per capita than any other Mafia family in America," Anastasia wrote.

The former Philadelphia don doing what he won't
ever do again: walk out of prison.
Of all the turncoats, however, Anastasia noted that the "most embarrassing (one) to Scarfo... was the defection of his nephew and underboss, Philip Leonetti. Leonetti, a highly effective government witness who testified at several trials up and down the East Coast, had his 45-year prison sentence reduced to five years, five months and five days as a result of his cooperation."

It was supposedly to pay his nephew one last visit that Scarfo motivated himself to stay alive. Or so it was alleged.

Well, that's one less thing for Leonetti to concern himself with.