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Mob Boss, 7 Mafia Associates Convicted of Murder

April 6, 1989

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Mob boss Nicodemo ″Little Nicky″ Scarfo and seven associates could become the nation’s first Mafia members to get the death penalty after being convicted of killing another gangster, authorities said.

A jury deliberated about three hours Wednesday before returning guilty verdicts on murder, conspiracy and a weapons violation in the 1985 slaying of Frank ″Frankie Flowers″ D’Alfonso, who failed to show Scarfo proper respect.

The conviction gave the 60-year-old Scarfo and his co-defendants the prospect of execution or spending the rest of their lives in prison.

Scarfo, who heads the Phildadelphia-Southern New Jersey Mafia, is already serving a 14-year sentence in a $1 million extortion case and faces at least 40 more years in a federal racketeering case.

Common Pleas Court Jury members had said they could return the death penalty if necessary. Assistant District Attorney Charles Grant said he would seek that sentence on grounds the murder was deliberate and premeditated.

The jury was to begin hearing testimony in the penalty phase this afternoon.

No other U.S. Mafia member has been sentenced to death, organized crime investigators say. One mobster, Louis ″Lepke″ Buchalter, was executed in the 1940s, but he led Murder Inc., a group of mercenary hit men, not an Italian Mafia family.

Robert F. Simone, Scarfo’s lawyer, expressed concern about the penalty phase in light of the jury’s quick verdict.

″I don’t think I’m going to get much sympathy from a jury that didn’t even want to deliberate a case that affects the lives of eight people,″ Simone said.

The defense lawyers said that they would file appeals within 30 days.

The prosecution’s case focused on two informants. One, Thomas DelGiorno, has testified against Scarfo several times in the past two years. He received a 20-year sentence for his role in the D’Alfonso killing and other convictions.

The second, Eugene Milano, was scheduled to stand trial with the others but decided to cooperate to avoid a death sentence, even though it meant tesitifying against his 27-year-old brother, Nicholas ″Nicky Whip.″ Eugene Milano pleaded guilty to third-degree murder.

The defense attorneys branded the informants as liars.

Attorney Joseph Santaguida, who represented 31-year-old defendant Frank Narducci Jr., said the jury ″just couldn’t have examined the credibility of the witnesses so quickly, but obviously they believed them.″

After the jury foreman announced the first verdict, for Narducci, Narducci’s wife, Sandy, ran screaming from the courtroom.

″Stop it 3/8 Stop it 3/8 You should all die 3/8″ Narducci’s mother, Adeline, yelled at the jury.

″Like my father died 3/8″ D’Alfonso’s daughter, Gina, shouted back.

Scarfo still faces charges in New Jersey with Nicholas ″Nick the Blade″ Virgilio in the 1978 slaying of Somers Point Municipal Court Judge Edwin H. Helfant.

Besides Scarfo, Narducci and Nicholas Milano, the others convicted were Joseph Ligambi, 48, and Narducci’s 26-year-old brother, Philip, who were identified as the shooters; Francis ″Faffy″ Iannarella, 32, accused of supplying the two murder guns; Salvatore ″Chuckie″ Merlino, 47, and his brother Lawrence ″Yogi″ Merlino, 32.

During the trial, which began March 17, the two informants testified Scarfo gave the order to kill D’Alfonso because he lacked respect and refused to share profits from illegal operations with the mob. D’Alfonso was shot on a south Philadelphia street near his home.

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