The Dark Tale of the Porn Star, the Dead Millionaire and the Tortured Beauty Queen

The twisted tale of a male stripper from San Antonio who became Miami's biggest porn star before being accused of murder and torturing a teenage beauty queen.

This morning, the first thing Del Brocco did was pick up his gray 2009 Porsche Carrera and drive it to a car wash in Pompano Beach. He then headed to his beachfront townhouse, which his maid had spent the past two days polishing.

Del Brocco ate dinner by himself at Kelly's Landing in Fort Lauderdale around 8 p.m. Then he set about buying some drugs. Between 9 and 10 p.m. he met a local dealer near a Burger King at 17th Street and Federal Highway and bought ­cocaine and pot.

Next, Del Brocco did the rounds at his favorite strip clubs. At first, he was disappointed that his favorite dancers weren't performing. But at Boardwalk on North Andrews Avenue, Del Brocco spotted someone even better taking the stage: a fix-foot-one-inch stud whom the announcer introduced simply as Champ.

John Snavely made his fortune when he moved from San Antonio stripper to Miami porn-movie star.
Joseph Laney
John Snavely made his fortune when he moved from San Antonio stripper to Miami porn-movie star.
Millionaire Samuel Del Brocco was found dead — stabbed half a dozen times in the chest — shortly after meeting John Snavely.
Joseph Laney
Millionaire Samuel Del Brocco was found dead — stabbed half a dozen times in the chest — shortly after meeting John Snavely.

How, exactly, John Snavely and Samuel Del Brocco started talking that night isn't clear. But Broward County detectives believe Del Brocco plied the young stripper with coke and weed while at the club. Then, sometime around midnight, Snavely forced his footballer's frame into Del Brocco's Porsche and the two drove back to the millionaire's Pompano Beach pad.

They had never met before, but both had experience with such late-night liaisons. Authorities believe the evening played out like this: Snavely demanded $500 in cash up-front before numbing himself on more of Del Brocco's booze, cocaine and marijuana. Del Brocco then demanded that the younger man start dancing.

Maybe Del Brocco got too touchy for Snavely's liking. Or perhaps the stripper cut his performance short, angering his host. But something sparked an argument between them. Snavely stomped out of the bedroom. When he got to the downstairs kitchen, he paused. He could easily keep going, down the stairs, into the garage and home. Instead, he pulled open drawers until he found what he was looking for: a long butcher's blade.

Snavely burst into the bedroom. He thrust the knife into Del Brocco's chest, sinking its blade over and over again until the older man collapsed near his bed, according to an arrest affidavit. As Snavely walked back downstairs, his size-12 Nikes left a bloody trail. It wasn't until he reached the kitchen that he realized his hand still gripped the murder weapon. Snavely wiped off the knife, threw it under the rug and walked into the night.

When the popular Del Brocco didn't answer his phone the next day, people in D.C. became worried. Carlos Larraz feared that his diabetic friend had suffered a seizure, and called the cops. When they arrived Sunday evening, Broward County deputies found the front door ajar.

Suspicion initially fell on four friends Del Brocco had named in his will, but all had alibis. So the investigation returned to the evidence left at the scene: the bloody footprints and trace amounts of DNA collected from the half-smoked joint and a can of Diet Coke. Detectives believed the killer was a male stripper, but the DNA didn't match any known suspects.

It would take cops three years to trace the crime back to Champ. In that time, Snavely would rise to the top of Florida's porn industry. Secretly, however, he would simultaneously descend into a madness made of drugs, jealousy and his own terrible secrets.

On the surface, Snavely's life was picture-perfect. He had the cars, bling, drugs and women that he'd always wanted. He had completely become Champ.

But those closest to him saw a shadow descend on Snavely. "The kid was carrying serious weight," says one of his best friends at Dancing Bear. "He wasn't a secretive person, but he was always watching his back. He didn't tell even his closest friends everything, obviously."

Snavely was haunted by other forces as well. He had thought that switching to straight porn would be simple. Instead, his gay porn work followed him wherever he went. He avoided the subject but would explode when confronted about it on set. "The porn world is more judgmental than the normal world," Snavely's friend says. "Champ definitely wished he had never done the gay porn."

Maybe it was sexual self-doubt that drove Snavely's porn exploits. Perhaps it was just the relentless pursuit of cash. Either way, he kept cranking out scenes despite his spiraling drug use and late-night stripping scams. The show had to go on.
_____________________

Champ had sex with hundreds of women on-screen, often chasing them off-set as well. But one was different from the rest. In January 2011, Snavely showed up to a porno shoot and found himself opposite a buxom brunette with a button nose and beautiful brown eyes. She didn't seem tired or jaded or worn out like the other women. She was fresh. She was a beauty queen.

She was 15 years old.

"John was definitely my first love," says the girl, who we will call Amber. "This hasn't really been easy for me."

Amber won't say whether she and Snavely had sex on set. (The Broward County sheriff's office is investigating.) But she will tell New Times about the two years she spent with Snavely: 24 months of jealousy, drugs and dark secrets.

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4 comments
wolfieg2000
wolfieg2000

So  tired  of  hearing  about  the Vulgar Pigs   of  the  World  and  their  excuses  and rationalizations  of  their  conduct.

wordlover
wordlover

I'm totally hooked now.  The words taunted me and I succumbed to them.  

 
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