Philly Mob’s Sicilian Phase Was Quite A Mess: The John Stanfa Era Hit List (1990-1994)

Sicilian-born Mafioso John Stanfa came to the United States in the 1970s and was placed by New York’s Gambino crime family in the Philadelphia mob under don Angelo Bruno. Stanfa was acting as Bruno’s driver on the night he was assassinated in March 1980. The Gambinos installed Stanfa as boss of the Bruno-Scarfo crime family in 1990, hoping to calm the waters in a syndicate reeling from the bloody Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo era and the ripple effects still being felt by the Bruno slaying in South Philly a decade later. The opposite happened. Stanfa couldn’t connect with the family’s younger members and pretty quickly had an insurgence on his hands, fighting a war with upstart gangster Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino, the son of jailed Scarfo underboss Salvatore (Chuckie) Merlino. Skinny Joey was being backed by Stanfa’s old rival from the Bruno days, Ralph Natale, who he met in prison and secured support from the Genovese, Colombo and Lucchese crime families out of New York, in a move to unseat Stanfa by force. The power play worked and when Stanfa was busted for murder and racketeering in early 1994, Merlino and Natale had control of the Philly mob. The Stanfa Era Murder Timeline (1990-1994) May 24, 1990 – Louis (Louie Irish) DeLuca January 29, 1992 – Felix (Little Felix) Bocchino May 29, 1992 – James (Jimmy Brooms) DiAddorio November 29, 1992 – Francesco DiGiacomo January 7, 1993 – Rod Colombo January 28, 1993 – Mario Riccobene August 5, 1993 – Michael (Mikey Chang) Ciancaglini September 17, 1993 – Frank (Frankie Bronze) Baldino January 19, 1994 – Nicasio Zagone *Gigi Capello

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