The notoriously-lethal Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo, boss of the Philadelphia mafia in the 1980s, died of natural causes this past weekend, departing this earth with a legacy of unbridled bloodlust. In less than a five year span at the height of his reign, Scarfo ordered well over a dozen murders, sending the Philly Italian crime family into a downward spiral some claim it’s yet to recover from.

Little Nicky clipped his enemies and his friends, eliminating anyone he felt, whether imagined or not, didn’t fit his twisted mold of loyalty. A portion of the body count during the Scarfo Era can be attributed to the Riccobene War, an internal feud between Little Nicky and veteran crime family faction leader Harry (The Hunchback) Riccobene, which took place throughout 1983. Riccobene survived a point-blank assassination attempt before being imprisoned on racketeering charges. Scarfo was arrested in 1987 and never saw the light of day again. The Scarfo Era in the Philly mob was brilliantly chronicled by George Anastasia in his epic book Blood and Honor (purchase a copy here).

The Scarfo Era Hit List

May 26, 1981 –Philly Greek mob elder statesman Harry Peetros is found in the trunk of his Cadillac, shot multiple times in the back of the head in a hostile takeover of the underworld business interests belonging to the area’s Greek crime syndicate.

May 27, 1981 – Philly Greek mob chief Chelsais (Stevie the Greek) Bouras and his girlfriend Jannette Curro are gunned down while eating dinner at the Meletis Greek Restaurant in South Philly as part of the aforementioned hostile takeover. Scarfo lieutenant Raymond (Long John) Martarano was present at Bouras’ ‘Last Supper” and per FBI informants, is believed to have coordinated the hit with his son George (Cowboy) Martarano and his bodyguard Frank (The Suit) Vadino.

October 6, 1981 – Local loanshark and drug dealer John Calabrese is killed leaving popular South Philly restaurant Cous’ Little Italy, shot to death by Scarfo hit men Thomas (Tommy Del) DelGiorno and Francis (Faffy) Iannarella for refusing to cough up street tax on his rackets.

January 7, 1982 – Philly mafia captain Frank (Chickie) Narducci is gunned down as he exists his car in front of his house, punishment for taking part in the assassination of Scarfo’s predecessor and friend Phil (The Chicken Man) Testa in the spring of 1981. Testa’s son Salvatore (Salvie) Testa pulled the trigger.

February 22, 1982 – Philly mafia soldier and longtime Little Nicky rival, Dominick (Mickey Diamond) DeVito is found in the trunk of his car, hogtied and shot three times in the back of the head.

March 15, 1982 – Young Philly wiseguy and pizza parlor owner, Rocco Marinucci, the driver for Phil Testa’s underboss Pete Casella and the man that placed and activated the nail bomb that killed the Chicken Man, is shot to death in a South Philly parking lot by Salvie Testa, who leaves his victim’s mouth stuffed with firecrackers as a message.

January 27, 1983 – Local mob associate and narcotics trafficker Robert Hornickle is killed by the Scarfo syndciate’s Ciancaglini crew – headed by Joseph (Chickie) Ciancaglini – in a beef over a botched drug deal. Philly wiseguy and Ciancaglini underling Ronnie (Cuddles) DiCaprio was convicted of the Hornickle homicide in a racketeering and murder case.

April 29, 1983 – Philly mafia soldier Pasquale (Pat the Cat) Spirito is killed behind the wheel of his car, shot in the back of the head by Scarfo hit man Charles (Charlie White) Iannece for dragging his feet on murder contracts he had been assigned to carry out.

November 3, 1983 – Harry Riccobene loyalist Sammy Tamburrino is shot to death while inside his South Philly convenience store by Scarfo hit men Phil Narducci and Nicholas (Nicky Whip) Milano in front of Tamburrino’s screaming mother.

December 6, 1983 – Harry Riccobene’s half-brother and top lieutenant Bobby Riccobene is shotgunned to death in front of his house by Scarfo hit man Faffy Iannarella and like the Tamburrino hit a month earlier, in front of his mom, who Iannarella knocked unconscious with a blow to the face by the butt of his shotgun.

December 14, 1983 – Harry Riccobene’s nephew Enrico Riccobene, the son of Harry the Hunchback’s other brother and main lieutenant Mario (Sonny) Riccobene, commits suicide by shooting himself in the head in his jewelry store walk-in safe when he hears Scarfo hit men were mulling around in the vicinity.

September 14, 1984 – Philly mafia captain and Scarfo’s de-fact sergeant-at-arms, Salvatore (Salvie) Testa, the mob prince son of slain Godfather “Chicken Man” Testa, is killed on Scarfo’s orders because Little Nicky’s growing jealousy of the younger Testa’s popularity. Testa is set-up by his own crew and shot to death by Scarfo hit man Salvatore (John Wayne) Grande inside a South Philly candy store.

February 8, 1985 – South Philly numbers lottery king Frank (J.R.) Forlini is killed in an effort by Scarfo to gain control of his policy business. Forlini’s body is found shot to death behind the wheel of his truck in the parking lot of a Delaware County K-Mart store.

July 23, 1985 – Seasoned South Philly racketeer and Scarfo rival, Frank (Frankie Flowers) D’Alfonso, is gunned down by Scarfo hit men, Phil Narducci and Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi. Narducci and Ligambi were convicted of the murder that earned them their mob buttons, but the convictions were eventually tossed off the books.

January 17,1987 – Local mob associate and drug dealer Frankie Russo is found shot to death in suburban Bucks County after reportedly stealing 15 gallons of P2P – the main ingredient in cooking crystal meth – from a Scarfo-backed narcotics trafficking ring overseen by Philly mafia member Albert (Reds) Potani.

*The list of Scarfo Era hits doesn’t include the many murders Little Nicky participated in carrying out or helping plan in the years prior to him becoming boss of the Philadelphia mafia such as the 1963 stabbing of a longshoreman in a fight at a local diner, the 1978 slaying of municipal court judge Edwin Helfant or the 1979 killing of mob associate Vince Falcone, where after the deed was done Scarfo proclaimed that he wished he could bring Falcone back to life so he could kill him again.

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