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"We're finished!" Samuel Del Brocco shouted. The words crashed off the walls of the $2 million mansion, careened across the 500-square-foot swimming pool, and spilled into the quiet Washington, D.C. suburb. "Get your shit and get out!"
Justin DeVinney said nothing. He just seethed with rage.
They were an odd couple. Del Brocco was a 60-year-old diabetic with color-treated hair. Recent weight-loss surgery had left skin drooping off him like a hound dog. DeVinney, on the other hand, was a Calvin Klein ad come to life — tall and handsome and muscular. The only hint that he had cracked 30 were the crow's-feet around his pale blue eyes.
They were uncle and nephew, neighbors assumed. Mentor and protégé, co-workers thought. But then there were the rumors: They were lovers.
Whatever their relationship, it was suddenly over. After Del Brocco's tirade, DeVinney climbed into his Escalade and drove away. Del Brocco told friends that DeVinney had been ungrateful and swore he would cut the younger man out of both his company and his $6 million will.
He never had a chance. Just days after the fight, Del Brocco was found stabbed to death inside his Pompano Beach townhouse.
For three years, DeVinney would be the main suspect in Del Brocco's murder. Last summer, however, DNA evidence led detectives to a drug-addled Miami porn star named John Snavely, who faces a strong case when he goes to trial later this year.
But court documents also paint a troubling picture of DeVinney's relationship with Del Brocco and open a window into the millionaire's secret South Florida life of sex, drugs, lies, and sugar babies. They also offer ample ammunition for Snavely to mount a defense on the stand.
Del Brocco was born in upstate New York in 1949. He was a handsome Italian kid with olive skin and soulful eyes. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Hollywood, Florida. It was the '60s and the Beatles were busy reinventing pop music, and he dreamed of his own stardom. He was a good singer. More important, he was driven.
Del Brocco moved to D.C., where he earned a master's degree in psychology from Loyola University Maryland and went to work at an elementary school as a special ed counselor. He didn't give up on his musical dreams, though. At the school, he met a young teacher named Jan Schafer, and the two soon moved in together. He formed an eight-piece disco-inspired band called the Sammy Del Brocco Show. Jan sewed Sam's tight polyester costumes.
For 13 years, Del Brocco toured the country with his band and often Schafer too. A few of Del Brocco's songs even broke onto national radio. But by 1985, he had realized he would never be a pop star. Instead, he moved back to D.C. and started a marketing company with his drummer, Bob Sprague. Driven by Del Brocco's obsessive meticulousness, PCI Communications soon snapped up bigger and bigger clients.
PCI was the Sammy Del Brocco Show, part two. The small company revolved around the singer turned CEO and would make Del Brocco a wealthy man. But it would also fuel his darker side. Friends say he became more controlling, particularly over Jan, as he became richer.
"Their conversations didn't seem like husband-and-wife conversations," says Jackson Bain, a retired newscaster and close friend of Del Brocco's. "They seemed more like employer and employee."
By 2003, Del Brocco's business was booming. He flew from one city to the next, juggling a rapidly growing list of clients. To his friends in D.C., it seemed as if all he did was work. But his trips out of town offered him an escape from the carefully marketed life he had assembled in Washington. The first hint that there was another side to Sam came in September 2003, when he returned to the capital with a handsome hunk in tow.
Del Brocco introduced the tall, square-jawed 25-year-old as Justin DeVinney, PCI's newest employee. They had met in a hotel bar in New York and begun talking about business, Del Brocco said. DeVinney was a model and bartender but wanted to make better use of his college degree. Impressed, Del Brocco offered him a job.
It's unclear how Del Brocco and DeVinney actually met. But what is certain is that the two hid the younger man's true background. Originally from Rochester, New York, DeVinney had posed nude for Playgirl and other softcore porn publications while also performing as an exotic dancer, according to police depositions.
One of DeVinney's employers was a company called BG East. Advertising itself as "gay-oriented wrestling," BG East produced videos that depicted buff men in Speedos pinning, choking, and, in some cases, blowing one another. "You did a wrestling match and they would depict it in a way [that] was homosexual and sell it," DeVinney would later tell cops.
In D.C., however, Del Brocco didn't mention DeVinney's risqué wrestling resumé. Instead, he handed his handsome apprentice a cushy job for $36 an hour. DeVinney made nearly $100,000 his first year — an amount that would climb to $377,000 only six years later — yet no one else at PCI knew what, exactly, he did.