Phil Corbin took pride in his link to Kansas City’s notorious Cammisano mobsters. Maybe that’s why he’s dead.

Badda Bam! 

Phil Corbin took pride in his link to Kansas City’s notorious Cammisano mobsters. Maybe that’s why he’s dead.

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He was an average student, first at Garfield Elementary and Northeast Junior High in the old northeast neighborhood and then at Winnetonka High School, near Worlds of Fun, after a family move.

The move didn't seem to affect Corbin much. He could make friends anywhere. But he did have a special place in his heart for the children and grandchildren of Kansas City's old Italian families.

"He might have been closer to the Italian circle than me and my other brother," Vince says.

Corbin took that loyalty to an extreme. After two of his favorite relatives died in 1995 and 1998, Corbin had their names tattooed on his arm with the name Cammisano in large letters.

Tracey Burns remembers the first time she saw the tattoo, which wrapped around Corbin's sizable biceps. She was only mildly surprised. The tattoo fit with the other peculiarities she'd seen from Corbin and his Italian friends.

"Most of the guys he hung out with were Italian," Burns says. "It was a very different environment for me. They all seemed to know each other."

They treated one another differently than other young men her age. They were respectful and polite. And they devoted time to their appearance. Corbin in particular was always cleanshaven, and his clothes were always pressed. He wore gold chains around his neck, paid for manicures and pedicures, and looked good even in a simple T-shirt and jeans.

"He had an image he wanted to pro-ject," Burns says.

Burns met Corbin on July 4, 1994, when both were newly out of high school. He was introduced as "Fat Phil," a nickname she didn't call him.

The couple moved in together in early 1995, living with the middle Corbin brother, Mike, in a rental house across from the old Kansas City Museum on Gladstone Boulevard. But Corbin was moving a little too quickly toward marriage and children for Burns' comfort. "At 19, you're kind of not so much into that," she says now. But the two remained good friends for years after they broke up.

By the late 1990s, Phil had started hanging with a hard-partying clique that had evolved from two camps -- one Italian, one Mexican. The two groups initially had problems with each other before settling their differences, according to "Danny," one member of the group who was willing to talk to the Pitch as long as his real name not be used.

The posse typically bypassed the huddled masses queued up outside Kansas City's hottest clubs and beelined for the VIP section, trailing women behind them.

"Someone in our crew always knew somebody -- the owner of the bar or the manager or whatever," Danny says.

Corbin fit right in. "When we would go out, he was always cool, always in a good mood," Danny says. "To me, he wasn't like the Italians that try to be badass. But he was just ... he was cool."

Danny never heard Corbin drop the Cammisano name. He suspects he wouldn't have known anything about the connection if he hadn't seen Corbin's tattoo while Corbin changed clothes at Danny's place once. By the summer of 2000, Corbin was in love.

Rebecca was a former pageant queen from St. Joseph with Cindy Crawford looks and enough personality to compete with Corbin's. He thought enough of Rebecca to bring her to his mother's. He even told Burns about her.

"That was the first girl he ever called me and said, 'Hey, I met this girl. I can't wait for you to meet her,'" Burns says.

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