Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Old Time Gangster: Pete Caprio Testifies in Ligambi Trial

Mobsters don't change.

Well, maybe they do, but certainly not Pete "The Crumb" Caprio. This week, he testified in court that he had no conscience. The 83-year-old mobster showed up in court this week as a witness against mobster Joseph Ligambi, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

Apparently, his cohorts barely knew he was still around, from the statements they made in the courtroom as he entered. According to The Daily News, the judge had to ask the mobsters to silence themselves, as they expressed shock at his appearance, asking "that guy is still alive?"

Caprio broke down the Mob Code to the jury, explaining how a baseball bat was an effective manner of resolving unpaid debts. He spoke of his murders and his history of violence, saying that the mob doesn’t exist without violence.

“They’re gangsters, just like me,” Caprio said, drawing a parallel between himself and Ligambi’s crew. And that’s a parallel that prosecutors hoped to jump on.

Except for the fact that Ligambi and crew weren’t on trial for murder. Their charges revolved largely around racketeering and loan-sharking.

It’s tough for prosecutors to use this evidence without relevance to the case. His colorful description of mob life might have sway on the jury — prejudicial sway for the defendant. In many cases, that ends up being grounds for appeal, later on.

But with Caprio’s description came the fact that violence and loan-sharking go hand-in-hand. While Ligambi isn’t on trial for heavy violence charges, Caprio’s testimony might shed light on how serious even those loan-sharking charges are.

Ligambi was the purported mob boss in Philadelphia. But despite Caprio’s testimony on mob affairs, he admitted on cross examination that he knew little about Ligambi’s operations, reports The Associated Press.

Will Caprio’s statements and testimony be prejudicial to Ligambi? Time will tell, as the jury will decide on the fate of Joseph Ligambi.

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