Nicodemo retrial not until next year

It looks as if Anthony Nicodemo’s retrial in the alleged Dec. 12, 2012 slaying of Gino DiPietro won’t be happening until early next year.

At a status conference last Thursday, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart scheduled a new pretrial conference for Dec. 1 but the retrial – Nicodemo’s first trial ended May 20 in a mistrial amid rumors someone approached a juror – did not get a firm date. The trial had already lost two alternate jurors because of exposure to pretrial publicity when juror number eight was dismissed, bringing the panel down to 11. Although a criminal trial may continue with 11 jurors, both sides must agree and, in the case of the 42-year-old reputed mob soldier, they didn’t.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo said there is an ongoing investigation into possible jury tampering although no one has been charged.

DiPietro, 50, was gunned down shortly before 3 p.m. on Dec.12, 2012 as he stood by his pickup truck in the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street in South Philadelphia. Although he served prison time for drug and gun violations, DePietro’s family has denied he was a mobster and authorities have never alleged that he was a member of South Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra crime family.

In the aborted first trial, a letter carrier described a man in black, wearing mask and gloves, firing into DiPietro’s prone body.

A second witness, a pedestrian, testified that he was walking along Camac Street when he saw a masked man in black run by and jump into a black 2011 Honda Pilot SUV. The witness said he memorized the license plate number HTK1942 and told police at the scene.

Within minutes, police identified the car as Nicodemo’s and were outside his house in the 3200 block of South 17th Street.

Nicodemo was taken into custody. A search of his SUV turned up a .357 Magnum revolver wrapped in clothing behind the driver’s seat. Ballistics tests showed the gun fired the shots that killed DiPietro.

Defense attorney Brian J. McMonagle maintained that Nicodemo was driving home when he became the victim of an aborted carjacking. He said a masked gunman jumped into the SUV, apparently stashed the gun behind the driver’s seat and then jumped out and fled on foot.