Anthony Nicodemo a reputed soldier in the Philadelphia mafia saw his murder trial come to an abrupt end. He was on trial for the 2012 murder of Gino DiPietro who was shot multiple times in broad daylight on the streets of Philadelphia. Just last week attorney’s for the Philly mobster put forth a defense claiming the defendant was an unwitting getaway driver after he was carjacked by the shooter. Many believed that after seeing the evidence which included the murder weapon found in Nicodemo’s car that it was a long shot for a common sense jury to buy the defenses story. But after having to dismiss two jurors in the case leaving the panel with only 11 members judge Jeffrey Minehart declared a mistrial.
Last week saw one alternate juror dismissed in the case with another on Tuesday morning for what was called routine reasons. But the third juror which had to be dismissed and caused a mistrial to be declared raised concerns. After the juror dismissals reports of possible jury tampering surfaced and an investigation was immediately opened by authorities. A law enforcement source said its too early to determine whether or not a juror had been approached but confirmed at least one Nicodemo family member was already questioned.
The police source also confirmed that a conversation in the hallway of the courtroom which was overheard did contribute to the concerns that a juror may have been compromised. One of the dismissed jurors was a resident of South Philadelphia resident but it is still unclear as to if he had been the target of the jury tampering. Nicodemo is still being held with out bail and a status conference has been scheduled for June 12 and the District Attorney’s office is expected to retry the case.
Law enforcement sources said that the next panel of jurors in new trial could be sequestered or a possible change of venue could even be considered although it would be an extreme measure. Instead of the two alternate jurors selected in this trial up to six could be added to the next panel to further shield the jury. Jury tampering is not an uncommon occurrence when it comes to mafia trials over the years. Decisions on all of those issues are likely to be made in upcoming weeks as a new trial is setup.