January 2, 2021 – New York mobster Joseph (Little Joe) Perna implicated indicted Philadelphia mob figure Domenic (Baby Dom) Grande in two murder conspiracies in a conversation with Lucchese crime family turncoat John Pennisi according to Pennisi’s new Sitdownnews.com blog.

Grande, 41, is out on bail awaiting trial on racketeering and drug charges spawning from a federal case that dropped in November. He’s not accused of any acts of violence in the case, but local and federal authorities believe Grande was the triggerman in the last Philly mob slaying, the December 10, 2012 rubout of convicted drug dealer Gino DiPietro. Grande’s buddy, mob soldier Anthony Nicodemo is doing 25 years in state prison for being the getaway driver in the DiPietro hit.

Pennisi claims Grande also accompanied Nicodemo on the 2003 John (Johnny Gongs) Casasanto hit, per what Perna spilled to him on a car ride back to New York following a 2016 visit to Philly and introduction to Grande. The Lucchese’s Perna crew has close ties to Philly mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino.

Nicodemo rose through the ranks of the underworld as Merlino’s bodyguard and driver. Merlino lives in Florida, allegedly stewarding his Pennsylvania crime syndicate from afar, utilizing layers of protection in the form of buffers, intermediaries and street bosses.

Pennisi was made in 2013 in a Staten Island, New York basement by Lucchese acting boss Matty Madonna, considered a Bronx gangland legend dating back to the 1970s. He was placed in the crime family’s Brooklyn crew, which by then was headquartered out of Staten Island.

Pennisi flipped in 2018 after coming to the conclusion the Lucchese crime family had a murder contract on his head. He’s been the star witness at three trials in New York in the past 14 months. Pennisi’s blogging has reportedly upset the U.S. Attorneys Office.

A February 2016 daytrip to Philadelphia to eat, drink and pass a message to Bruno-Scarfo crime family administrators, was the subject of Pennisi’s most recent blog post.

-Their first stop was to visit Joey Merlino’s main go-between, Raymond (Ray Wags) Wagner, at Wagner’s house. Wagner is allegedly one of South Philly’s biggest bookies.

-Next they went to a diner and met with Merlino’s underboss Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone, consigliere John (Johnny Chang) Ciancaglini and Baby Dom Grande, introduced to him as a captain in the organization. Pennisi delivered a message to Ciancaglini from Colombo crime family capo Joe Amato. Mazzone is under indictment with Grande.

-On the drive back home, Perna told Pennisi that Grande and “his partner,” Anthony Nicodemo were responsible for a pair of Philly mob hits.

“Anthony is doing 25 years for the kid, Dom. The kid did the work and the partner took the bid. Like a champ. Twenty-five to fifty fucking years. They did another piece of work together, the guy who was fucking Joey’s wife. His crew calls him Diablo (Spanish for “The Devil”), you think he’s going to let a guy get away with fucking his wife.”

Merlino, 58, is often referred to as “El Diablo” or “Lucifer” within the ranks of his crime family. “Johnny Gongs” Casasanto was a street rival of Merlino’s alleged to be having an affair with Skinny Joey’s wife when Merlino was away in prison serving a dozen years for racketeering. Casasanto was murdered by a pair of gunmen inside his South Philly residence in the early evening of November 23, 2003.

Nicodemo, 49, has been identified as a suspect in the Casasanto murder in federal records. Grande’s name has never surfaced publicly as linked to the Johnny Gongs hit until Pennisi’s bombshell blog post this week. At the time of the hit, Grande was 24.

Mob insiders in Philly say Grande is being groomed by Merlino and Mazzone to one day take over the organization. Grande’s dad, uncle and grandfather were all button men in the Bruno-Scarfo clan.

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