Jason Sannasardo was charged in the fatal stabbing of Michael Franzone, as well as the wounding of his friend. Franzone was attempting to break up a fight between the two.
Barbara Franzone received a phone call from Methodist Hospital around 11 p.m. July 19 asking if she was the mother of Michael Franzone. When she said yes, the hospital representative told her to come over as soon as possible.
Overcome by fear, Barbara ran from her house on the 2300 block of South 17th Street, she said Monday. When she arrived at the hospital, doctors were frantically trying to save her only son's life.
"I held his hand real tight and said, 'Mommy's here. I won't leave you,'" she said.
Instead, her 19-year-old left her.
"He was my only son. I lived for him," she said of the South Philadelphia High School graduate.
Recounting the ordeal, she breaks down with those present weeping with her. Sharing in her grief were husband, Michael Sr.; their two daughters, Savannah, 10, and Nadia, 18; Barbara's three siblings, Susan Cima, Judy DeLaurentiis and John DeLaurentiis; family friend Amy Rockwood; and Michael's friend, Justin Fiordimondo, 21.
"It gets harder every day. He didn't get a chance to live his life," said Michael Sr., who owns a business in the Philadelphia Regional Produce Terminal on the 3300 block of South Galloway Street. The hope of his son taking over that business has been dashed, he said.
John DeLaurentiis, who lives in the neighborhood, said the slaying of his nephew has left him numb. Sister Susan walks over and places a comforting arm around him. John was more like a brother than an uncle to Michael, added Barbara.
POLICE SAID FRANZONE died while trying to break up a fight that occurred at 10:30 p.m. July 19 between his 20-year-old friend and Jason Sannasardo, also 20, across the street from St. Richard Church, 3010 S. 18th St.
Sannasardo allegedly stabbed Franzone in the chest and the friend in the left arm during an argument over a girl, said Inspector Bill Colarulo of the Police Public Affairs Unit. Sannasardo's current girlfriend is the ex of Franzone's friend, said the inspector.
Homicide detectives charged Sannasardo, from the 1000 block of Mollbore Terrace, last Thursday with Franzone's slaying.
None of Franzone's family or friends said they knew Sannasardo or anything about him, but that Franzone was the type who would help his friends.
"I'm very angry. I feel like my son did not deserve that. No one has the right to commit a violent crime like that," said Barbara.
Those who knew Michael remember him as a teen that mentored neighborhood children, as well as a person that was close to his family.
"He was just a really, really good person," said Fiordimondo. "He always talked about his family. He loved his sisters."
Fiordimondo and Michael were friends for about five years and the two often would shoot hoops together. Michael excelled at sports and, when Fiordimondo first met him, he called Michael "A.I." after 76ers star Allen Iverson.
Franzone played basketball and soccer at St. Monica grade school and participated in many neighborhood basketball and baseball leagues. Aside from basketball, the teen loved to cook - and eat, his mother and father recalled with a laugh.
To further strengthen the family bond, Michael and his family would have Sunday dinner at his maternal grandparents' house at Ninth and Jackson streets.