Reputed Mobster's Son Found Hanging, In Critical Condition
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Reputed Mobster’s Son Found Hanging, In Critical Condition

November 2, 1988 GMT

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ The teen-age son of reputed underworld boss Nicodemo ″Little Nicky″ Scarfo was in critical condition today after he was found hanging by the neck while father was on trial on racketeering charges.

Mark Scarfo was discovered by his mother Tuesday afternoon at the former offices of Scarf Inc., the elder Scarfo’s concrete business here, officials said.

The youth was brought to Atlantic City Medical Center in a coma, said Sherry Spatz, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

″He went into cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated by paramedics,″ Ms. Spatz said. ″He’s unconscious and he’s in critical condition.″

News of the injury reached federal court in Philadelphia late in the afternoon and brought a halt to the elder Scarfo’s trial. His attorney, Robert Simone, said the trial might be postponed for several days.

The elder Scarfo, reputed to be the longtime crime boss of South Jersey and the Philadelphia area, and nine others are charged with running a criminal enterprise that included murder, extortion, drug dealing, loan sharking and gambling.

Simone said the hanging was a suicide attempt, and Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz said all evidence pointed to a suicide. He declined further comment. But the prosecutor’s office’s major crimes unit was investigating before ruling out a homicide attempt.

Dr. Sekander Ursani, an emergency specialist at the hospital, said he found no visible sign of injury on Mark Scarfo except for a bruise on his neck.

Simone gave the youth’s age as 17, but the hospital listed it as 18.

Scarfo was on full life support systems, although he was able to breathe on his own, Ursani said. He said a breathing machine was being used to help keep his lungs clear of fluids.

Simone said there was no sign of brain damage, but Ursani said it was too early to tell if the lack of oxygen caused serious injury.