PHILADELPHIA -- Mob defector Eugene Milano testified Tuesday that he and his brother were members of a five-man hit squad dispatched by Mafia chieftain Nicodemo 'Little Nicky' Scarfo to kill a disrespectful mobster.
Milano, 29, avoided eye contact with his eight former co-defendants as he detailed his role in the slaying of Frank 'Frankie Flowers' D'Alfonso and told of the deal he made with the FBI to escape prosecution in the case.
'I wanted to go on with my life,' Milano said. 'I wanted to turn my life around. I wanted to just go on and live a truthful life.'
Milano's brother, Nicholas 'Nicky Whip' Milano, appeared shaken as the government witness entered the packed courtroom and revealed that he tried to have homicide charges against his sibling dropped in return for his testimony.
'I tried to make a deal to get my brother out of the case,' Milano said in a shaky voice.
Milano admitted under cross-examination that he was willing to testify against his brother to stay out of jail and avoid a first-degree murder conviction and a possible death sentence.
'I don't want to testify against my brother but I have to,' Milano said. 'I didn't expect him to be in the courtroom today.'
Milano testified that he, his brother and three of the defendants stalked D'Alfonso and participated in three aborted attempts to slay the flower shop owner.
D'Alfonso, 55, was shot to death by two unidentified gunmen on July 23, 1985, as he paused on a South Philadelphia street corner to light a cigarette.
Milano said he and slain mob captain Sal Testa brutally beat D'Alfonso in 1981 on orders from Scarfo. Milano testified that he did not know D'Alfonso but agreed to the beating because Testa asked him to participate.
Lead defense lawyer Robert Simone, who represents Scarfo, 60, said outside the courtroom that he wanted the jury to see 'the nature of the animal that's up there testifying.'
'He says, 'I beat the guy up, I don't know why. I beat this guy up. I didn't care if he died. I'm testifying against my brother, so what. I tried to make a deal for him, I couldn't, so I'm testifying against him. I don't want to go to jail,'' Simone said. 'This is the nature of the animal. He'll do anything to stay out of jail.'
Milano, who was one of the original defendants, broke ranks with the others on the on the eve of the trial. Each of the defendants could face death sentences if convicted of first-degree murder.
Milano pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge of third-degree murder in return for his cooperation and faces a prison term of 10 to 20 years.
Milano was convicted on federal racketeering charges last November, along with Scarfo, and is expected to be sentenced in that case after he completes his role as a government witness. As part of his plea agreement, Milano will serve the two prison sentences concurrently.