Iannarella was born in 1946 in Philadelphia and served in the military as a young man and joined the Philly mob as an associate upon his return home.
Iannarella was the suspected killer in the death of John Calabrese in 1981, and took part in the unsuccessful attempts to kill mob figure Harry Riccobene in 1982, he also planned and supervised the attempted murder of Riccobene associate Frank Martines in 1983, drove the getaway car after the murder of Riccobene associate Salvatore Tamburrino in 1983 and killed Robert "Bobby" Riccobene in December 1983 in front of his mother with a shotgun. Iannarella helped supervise the 1984 murder of mob captain Salvatore Testa, supervised the unsuccessful attempt to murder drug dealer Steven Vento Jr. and was involved in illegal gambling and extortion.
In 1987, Iannarella and his alleged co-conspirators were arrested for the murder of mob associate Frank D'Alfonso. Iannaerella was also charged with racketeering. On April 5, 1989, Iannarella and his co-defendants were convicted of murder. They were all sentenced to life in prison. On May 9, 1989 Iannarella was sentenced to 45 years in prison for racketeering. Iannarella accepted the sentence without a visible reaction, turned and waved to his family and friends in the audience and was led away in handcuffs by federal marshals.
In 1992, the State Supreme Court overturned the murder convictions for all the defendants and the case was retried. On February 21, 1997 all the defendants were acquitted, but only one (Joe Ligambi) was released from prison as the others still had racketeering sentences to serve. Iannarella was released from prison in February 2016.