Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi turned state's evidence against his fellow South Philly mob associates in 2001. Though he's had enough of the witness protection program, he can't go home again.
"I hated reporters," he says. "I hated cops."
The camera's off. Horsehead and Schratwieser are staring at each other at close range. "I don't know you from a can of paint," Horsehead tells the TV reporter.
"I'm a straight-shooter dude," Schratwieser says.
It was during the mob wars of the '90s when Horsehead says he was ordered to kill TV reporter Geraldo Rivera by former mob boss John Stanfa, who's now serving a life sentence.
Stanfa had just made the papers as the acting mob boss. Rivera had decided to ambush Stanfa at his warehouse to ask if it was really true.
Rivera and a camera crew stormed the warehouse and got into an obscenity-laced confrontation with Stanfa.
"Get out of here," Stanfa yelled at the TV reporter on tape. Horsehead says a furious Stanfa later ordered him to kill Rivera, who couldn't be reached for comment for this story.
"Geraldo Rivera, I saved your life, and I almost got killed for it," Horsehead says. He says that if Rivera had returned to Philadelphia, "You and your cameraman would've never left that city alive. I'm not gonna go into detail about that, but he was going to kill you and two other reporters from Philadelphia."
The other reporters Stanfa wanted to whack, Horsehead says, were George Anastasia of the Inquirer and Kitty Caparella of the Daily News. Horsehead says the angry mob boss told him in broken English, "If that spic ever comes back, we're gonna make sure he never leaves this town alive."
Stanfa then explained to Horsehead that he wanted the job done like mob hits are carried out in Italy: by gunmen on motorcycles.
Horsehead said he had to tell the mob boss, "This isn't Italy. With all due respect, we can't kill reporters."
Stanfa's response, says Horsehead, was, "I don't give a fuck."
The plot to kill Anastasia by throwing a grenade through the window of his house was previously disclosed by other mob informants. Any plot to kill Caparella is news to her.
"I wasn't informed," she says.
The Rivera allegation is also new. Asked about alleged mob plots to kill the three reporters, David Fritchey of the U.S. attorney's office says, "I really have no knowledge about any of those matters."
Horsehead's father was right about one thing: Horsehead needed structure in his life. He found it in jail, where he had plenty of time to work out, improve his eating habits and play lots of pinochle.
Horsehead went to jail weighing 230 pounds, and came out 50 pounds lighter. He also didn't age much. "I tell 'em I'm 40," he says, and people tell him, "You don't look 40."
On jail, he says, "It's like you're in purgatory. You're like in limbo." It's a tough setting to see your family for visits.
PW's Summer Guide 2014