Prosecutors plan to use a new tool at their disposal against alleged Philadelphia mobster Anthony Nicodemo.
The District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia has opted to use an indicting grand jury in the murder case against Nicodemo. Using an indicting grand jury to bring charges against the alleged mob soldier over a public forum preliminary hearing. The use of this indicting grand jury is to avoid any chances of the witness or victim intimidation which has become an ongoing problem in the city. Grand juries generally hear evidence from the prosecution in the case and are made up of 23 member panels instead of standard 12 member trial juries. This also allows victims and witnesses in the case to testify outside of the public eye. But defense attorneys say this secrecy almost guarantees the prosecution an indictment on the cases criminal charges. Once an indictment is granted then the case would move on to trial.
Nicodemo is charged with the daytime shooting of Gino DePietro in South Philadelphia. Nicodemo was arrested on murder charges on December 13th while several other reputed Philadelphia mobsters were on trial for racketeering charges. Some believe there may have been a connection between the trial and murder. Prosecutors claim that Nicodemo holds the rank of soldier in the Philadelphia crime family. Nicodemo was scheduled for a preliminary hearing today before a Municipal court judge but it has been canceled after the prosecutions chose to take the case to the indicting grand jury. A status hearing has now been set for March 11 before a common pleas court judge.
With reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph Ligambi and reputed capo George Borgesi headed for a retrial many mob insiders are keeping a close eye on the Nicodemo case. Some believe there is a chance the government may be able to convince him to cooperate as he faces murder charges. If he were to turn rat he could possibly supply the government with key testimony against Ligambi and other Philly mobsters on still unsolved mob hits.