BOSTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The former head of a New England mob syndicate was indicted on one count of murder Friday for the death of a Boston night club owner, who was also a federal witness, more than two decades ago.
Francis P. Salemme, the leader of the Patriarca crime family during the early 1990s, is implicated in the death of Steven DiSarro — who disappeared 23 years ago and whose body was unearthed by federal authorities in Providence, Rhode Island, earlier this year.
Salemme, 83, was arrested by federal authorities in Connecticut last month. He, along with Paul Weadick, 61, faces one count of murder in DiSarro’s death.
Investigators believe Salemme and Weadick helped kill DiSarro in 1993 to keep him from talking to the FBI about various crimes perpetrated by the Patriarca crime family. Weadick was arrested Friday.
According to the indictment, the FBI believes Salemme and Weadick were supporting accomplices in DiSarro’s murder — while Salemme’s son is suspected as the primary culprit. Francis Salamme, Jr., died in 1995.
Known as “Cadillac Frank,” Salemme ran the Patriarca family, also known as the New England La Cosa Nostra, until he was indicted in 1995 and convicted in 1999 on federal racketeering charges. He was also convicted of obstructing justice nine years later for lying to the FBI about DiSarro’s disappearance.
Salemme went into hiding and lived under an assumed name in Atlanta for years after his 1999 conviction as part of the Department of Justice’s witness protection program. He was given protection for turning state’s evidence against notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger — who himself was arrested in 2011 and convicted two years later on several counts of murder. He’s currently serving a life sentence.
The discovery of DiSarro’s body in June also led to the arrest of another Patriarca crime family associate, Robert DeLuca, a month later on a charge of obstructing justice. Officials say like Salemme, he also lied to authorities about his knowledge of DiSarro’s death.
An attorney for Weadick, who has already pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, said Friday that the government’s case is based on unreliable information from mafia member Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi — a gangster who was a close associate of Bulger’s.
“My client had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Steven DiSarro,” attorney Carmine Lepore said. “The government is relying on the lies of Steven Flemmi to charge him.”