Mafia Prince: Inside America’s Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Costra Nostra-Philip Leonetti

LeonettiMarch 21, 1980-Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno is shot to death while sitting in the front passenger seat in a car in front of his house.  The ruling commission in New York appoints Philip “Chicken Man” Testa as the new boss and Nicodemo Scarfo as the underboss.   Less than a year later, Testa himself is murdered when a bomb explodes under his front porch.  After meeting with the commission, Scarfo becomes the new boss and his reign would prove to be the deadliest in the family’s history.  Guided by paranoia and a never-ending thirst for blood, Scarfo weaved a path of destruction that would bring down not only himself but nearly the entire organization before being arrested and convicted due in part to the testimony of his nephew and former underboss Philip Leonetti.  Leonetti, whose defection is perhaps the biggest in mafia history, gave testimony that sent dozens of mobsters to prison and played an indirect role in the conviction of the teflon don himself, John Gotti.  Scarfo continues to serve out his sentence at the Federal Medical Facility in Butner, North Carolina with a projected release date of January, 2033 when he will be 103 years old. Now in his mid-eighties, his life is far removed from his days running the streets of Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

Leonetti, who grew up idolizing his uncle while learning the tricks of the trade, has been a long time member of the witness protection program living with a new identity.  And to this day, there remains a contract on his life. This is his story about being a “mafia prince” in the mob and his ultimate decision to defect and testify against his uncle.  Disillusioned by his uncle’s vindictiveness, street life and the murder of his friend, mob captain and son of Philip Testa, Salvatore “Salvie” Testa, his descent into defection came gradually but steady.  And at the very moment when he agrees to be a cooperating witness, he passes the point of no return.  And as we learn about Leonetti and his past, we are exposed to the deadly life on the streets of mafia member.  Leonetti doesn’t ask for forgiveness but he does show gratitude for being given a second chance in life and does attempt to sway young men away from a life that is most often a road to nowhere.


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