Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

June 10-16, 2004

cover story

The Sleep Wit' the Fishes Tour


Photo By: Michael T. Regan

Nothing says mob like a real, old-fashioned, broad-daylight payback murder. Not severed horse heads. Not Big Pussy dead in the water or Tony Blundetto's shotgun funeral. But with many of Philly's gangsters eating prison food, and The Sopranos gone until season six starts God knows when, local mob fans probably need a fix right about now. So strap on your shoes, cement optional, and hit the streets of South Philadelphia for a tour of the city's most famous mob hits. Just remember, the men who died weren't actors. So show a little respect.

Melrose Diner parking lot (1501 Snyder Ave.): The battle for control of the local racketeering trade left 51-year-old Frank Baldino — though he was not a made member, he was thought to be allied with Joey Merlino — dead in his car on Sept. 17, 1993.

Vulpine Athletic Club (12th and Federal sts.): James "Jimmy Brooms" Diaddorio apparently liked to brag that he was close to mob bosses and that he whacked Louie Irish. Two men in ski masks rolled into the Vulpine Athletic Club on May 29, 1992, and silenced him with six shots as he talked on the phone.


Photo By: Michael T. Regan


Sixth and Catharine sts.: Joey Chang's brother, Michael Ciancaglini, and his best friend Joey Merlino were walking near their Sixth and Catharine clubhouse on Aug. 5, 1993, when those loyal to their foes opened fire. Ciancaglini, 30, was killed; Merlino was shot in the leg and backside.

29th and Mifflin sts.: In one of the crazier attempted hits in Philly mob history, mob-boss son Joseph Stanfa, 23, was wounded during a wild moving ambush in rush-hour traffic on the Schuylkill. At this intersection, police later found a van with holes in the side from which guns fired.

Passyunk near Christian: Ronald Turchi, a 61-year-old who once controlled the South Philly numbers game, was found in the trunk of his wife's car on Oct. 26, 1999. His hands were tied behind his back and a plastic bag was over his head.

1200 block of Mifflin Street: Felix Bocchino, 73, was shot to death Jan. 29, 1992, just after starting his car. It was the city's biggest mob hit since 1985.

3500 block of Lawrence Street: On Feb. 24, 1995, 29-year-old Ralph Mazzuca's body was found burning in a desolate lot. It was widely viewed as payback for a violent home invasion.

2400 block of South 20th Street: An auto-body shop owner, nobody pegged Guerino "Gino" Marconi Sr., 42, as much more than a low-level Merlino associate. That didn't stop somebody from shooting him in April 1999 outside his home.


Photo By: Michael T. Regan


1200 block of Shunk Street: Nine shots were fired into the Cadillac of after-hours bar owner and Scarfo associate Louis "Louie Irish" DeLuca, 52, on May 24, 1990. He didn't survive.

Family Grocery & Deli (900 block of Catharine): Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso, 55, stopped to light a cigarette outside of this store on July 23, 1985. A Bruno friend, he was shot five times and killed.

2117 Porter St.: Immortalized by Springsteen, Philip "Chicken Man" Testa, 56, was killed when a bomb planted on his porch detonated on March 15, 1981.

Cous' Little Italy (901 S. 11th St.): On March 21, 1980, Angelo Bruno, revered to this day as the Gentle Don, ate his last meal (the Inky says it was chicken Sicilian and rigatoni marinara) at Cous'. That night, the 69-year-old was shot to death in a car outside his home at 934 Snyder St. His driver was John Stanfa.

Sixth and Fitzwater sts.: Raymond "Long John" Martorano, 74, hadn't been out of prison all that long when he allegedly got back into the mob game. That ended Jan. 17, 2002, when he was shot near his home. He died after driving himself to Pennsylvania Hospital.

Warfield Breakfast and Luncheon Express (near Warfield and Reed sts.): Widely considered the only real mob hit ever caught on tape, a carload of gunmen burst into the Warfield on March 2, 1993. Joey Ciancaglini, 34, was shot five times but survived.


Photo By: Michael T. Regan


2200 block of South 20th Street: Anthony Turra, 61, planned on going to court for jury deliberations in his drug, racketeering and murder trial on March 18, 1998. Turra, who used a cane or wheelchair to get around, never made it. He was shot on the steps of his home.

Curtin and Juniper sts.: Frank "Chickie" Narducci Sr., 49, was shot at 10 times after returning home from court Jan. 17, 1982. The one-time Bruno driver was eulogized as a merciful man.

Bouvier St. and Oregon Ave.: A matter of minutes before his brother John was scheduled to testify for the feds against John Stanfa, Billy Veasey, 35, was shot to death on Oct. 5, 1995, near here.

Club Deco (510 N. Front St.): Last October, somebody stabbed singer Chico DeBarge outside Deco. The cops charged the brash John "Johnny Gons" Casasanto, 35, but couldn't get him to trial because somebody shot him in his home on the 1200 block of Durfor Street in November. He was also a suspect in the Raymond "Long John" Martorano hit.

Seventh and Sigel sts.: From the truth is stranger than fiction category, John Veasey, 35, survived three shots during a botched hit in a Seventh Street apartment. He fought off his attackers, made a stumbling escape and gave a statement to police after they found him near here. He admitted to shooting Michael Ciancaglini.

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