PHILADELPHIA -- Associates of reputed crime boss Nicodemo Scarfo stalked rival mob captain Salvatore Testa for months before enlisting Testa's best friend to lure him to his death, an admitted hitman testified Tuesday.
Mobster-turned-informant Thomas DelGiorno, testifying in the federal racketeering trial of 'Little Nicky' Scarfo and 16 alleged associates, said Joseph Pungitore reluctantly agreed to join the plot to kill Testa during the summer of 1984.
DelGiorno said the son of slain mob boss Philip 'Chicken Man' Testa fell from favor earlier that year when he broke his engagement with the daughter of a high-ranking mob official and began gaining too much power.
'He was forming his own crew, running around the city doing what he wanted,' DelGiorno said. 'He was generally getting too big.'
Scarfo reputedly succeeded Philip Testa as boss of the crime family that controls mob interests in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J.
DelGiorno said he and defendant Francis 'Faffy' Iannarella were assigned to supervise a plan for defendant Charles 'Charlie White' Iannece and mobster-turned-informant Nicholas 'Nicky Crow' Caramandi to kill Salvatore Testa.
DelGiorno said he supervised and participated in several failed attempts to gun down the 28-year-old mob leader.
'He knew he had done something wrong and by nature, anyway, he was pretty smart and careful. He was suspicious.'
Under orders from Scarfo, DelGiorno said he forced Pungitore to help set up his best friend. If he refused, DelGiorno said, Pungitore was told his father and two brothers would be killed.
'I told him that we were going to kill Salvie ... and that he had to help us. He was going to set him up. He was upset about it and said he thought that everything was settled and alright. I said that obviously everything was not alright,' DelGiorno said. 'He was left without a choice.'
DelGiorno said Testa was lured to a sweet shop in South Philadelphia where defendant Salvatore 'Wayne' Grande shot him twice in the head. Testa's body was dumped in a ditch in rural southern New Jersey.
As a result of the slaying, DelGiorno said, Joseph Grande, Iannece and Caramandi were initiated into the mob.
Caramandi is expected to testify later in the trial against Scarfo who, along with his co-defendants, is accused of a wide variety of crimes including homicide, illegal gambling and loansharking.