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June 20, 2022

As the Coin-O-Matic Turns - Federal Hill 1966 - Willie Marfeo & Angelo Di Palma Hits - Plus a Little Louis Manocchio


On July 13, 1966, Willie Marfeo was murdered in a telephone booth in the Federal Hill section of Providence. His murder has never been solved. We discuss the events leading up to his murder and its aftermath.

Happy Birthday to Louis Manocchio who turns 95 this week!

For a transcript of this episode visit our website. Follow us on Twitter for sneak peeks of upcoming episodes. You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook.

Questions or comments, email lara@doubledealpodcast.com or nina@doubledealpodcast.com

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Thank you for listening!

All the best,

Lara & Nina

Transcript

Lara:

Hi everyone! It’s been 14 episodes since we visited Raymond’s realm!

 

Nina:

Oh yeah, New York State of Mind. And if you haven’t checked out that episode, the link is in the show notes. You should also check out our episode about the Marfeos and their criminal histories. It will give more context to today’s episode. 

Lara:

Family Feud at its finest! Before we get into today’s story, we’ve got a couple of things. First, Nina’s FOIA request for Buddy McLean’s FBI file has been denied because the records supposedly have been destroyed.

Nina:

 

It is sooooo frustrating! I’m hoping for a little divine intervention like we had in our Howie Winter request.



Lara:

 

I still like to think that one of our listeners helped us, but we still don’t have anything in our hands, just a potential records response.




Nina:

 

I have hope!




Lara:

 

Speaking of hope, I’m still waiting on dad’s recordings. The company out in Colorado who is digitizing them had a hardware issue. Looks like another week.

Nina:

 

Ugh. Seems like its taking forever.



Lara:

 

Tell me about it!

 

Ok, our other item isn’t completely unrelated to today’s episode.



Nina:

 

Not at all! We didn’t plan this, but coincidentally, this week is Louis Manocchio’s 95th birthday.



Lara:

 

Well happy birthday Louis!



Nina:

 

I doubt Louis is listening to us!



Lara:

 

Hey you never know! Maybe Louis is waiting to hear what we have to say about his activities in the ‘60s.



Nina:

 

You mean besides sitting in the car with your dad and Pro outside of the Rib Room in Braintree?



Lara:

 

The visual of that story always makes me laugh, but we have to wait for the season finale to tell that one. I know you’re itching to get into the whole “Baby Shanks/Baby Shacks” thing but let's wait until a little later.

 

Nina:

 

Oh man! You suck!



Lara:

 

Hey, be nice! We’ll get to it!

 

Besides Louis and his nickname, the murder of Willie Marfeo on July 13, 1966 will be our primary focus today. The later murder of Willie’s brother Rudy in 1968 would be the catalyst for the undoing of Jack Kelley’s reign as a criminal mastermind and will feature prominently in the end of season one and the beginning of season two of this podcast.



Nina:

 

Raymond’s desire to kill Willie supposedly for running an unsanctioned dice game and illegal gambling operation on Federal Hill in Providence was the reason given by the Feds for Willie’s murder. According to transcripts from the wiretap at the Coin-o-Matic and statements from other informants Raymond wanted him dead since at least the summer of 1964, but Henry Tameleo’s tax problems forced Raymond to put Willie on the back burner. 

 

I also want to say again for the 100th time, Raymond didn’t have a local hitter!



Lara:

 

Calm down! 

 

Let’s talk about Henry’s tax case and the surrounding events of the summer of ‘65.

 

On June 25th, 1965 Tameleo surrendered to the federal authorities. He was charged with conspiring to violate federal gambling tax laws. At the arraignment hearing later that same day, Tameleo pleaded innocent to the 8-count indictment. Andrew and Louis Manocchio, Angelo DiPalma, Rudy Sciarra and 8 other men had already been arrested on similar charges and held on $1,000 bail each. When DiPalma was arrested at Narragansett Park where he worked the cops found $6567 in cash on him.



Nina: 

 

It was at about this same time that the wiretap at Raymond’s picked up Louis Taglianetti discussing a “hit” with Raymond. SA Kehoe reported in his memo to Hoover that although he wasn’t sure who Taglianetti wanted to murder, he assumed that it was Willie Marfeo given the context. Kehoe’s note on the subject concluded: “This group has been attempting to kill Marfeo for over one year, but has not been successful, as yet.”

 

No recommendation was given by Kehoe about what the Feds intended to do about it either.



Lara:

 

When did they ever do anything about it? How many times did they hear that someone was going to be killed and they didn’t lift a finger?



Nina:

 

Too many times!



Lara:

 

Exactly!

 

Speaking of murders that might have been preventable let’s talk about Jackie Nazarian.



Nina:

 

Jackie Nazarian had been dead for almost three years at that point. Rudy Sciarra was the main suspect.



Lara:

 

Sciarra was accused, arrested or indicted for nearly every murder that took place in RI throughout the ‘60s and beyond!. The Feds hounded him up until the time he died.



Nina:

 

We need to back up a bit here, though, because it’s been twenty episodes since we talked about Jackie Nazarian’s murder, and it gets very confusing, very quickly. Half the time I can’t even keep it straight in my head.

 

The Marfeos were related to Jackie Nazarian by marriage. Jackie’s wife, Sarah, was the daughter of Gaetano Baccari and Angelina Barone. Two of her sisters were married to Marfeos. Her younger sister, Angelina, to Savino Marfeo, and her older sister, Rosie, to Joe Marfeo. Joe “Buffy” Baccari and Rudy Marfeo were also brothers-in-law through their wives, the Curria sisters. During the Nazarian murder trial, a witness claimed that Willie Marfeo had been at the scene when Rudy Sciarra killed Jackie. According to Anthony Ricci Jr, Willie had tried to pull the two men apart but failed in his efforts and that’s when Jackie got shot. After the Sciarra case ended, Willie was charged with Jackie’s murder, but the government couldn’t get an indictment.



Lara:

 

We should also review the March 1965 murder of John Barbieri just briefly, since he was also related by marriage to the Marfeos. Barbieri was allegedly involved in a hot car ring that Raymond’s brother, Joe Patriarca, was also a member of. Ten days before he was killed, Barbieri had pleaded innocent to an auto larceny charge and had been released on bail. Gerry Ouimette would eventually be charged with Barbieri’s murder in 1981. If you want more details, check out Episode 33, “The Hit Parade of 1965”. 



Nina:

 

Also during the summer of 1965, there were other efforts supposedly made to secure a hitman to take out Willie! Raymond had to look outside of New England for a hitter, which leads me to one of my favorite hitter theories: Gregory “the Grim Reaper” Scarpa. If you listened to New York State of Mind, you might remember that Raymond contacted Scarpa. Scarpa was a made member of the Profaci family which would later become the Colombo family. 

 

Greg Scarpa was also not Sicilian. So much for the story that you had to be Sicilian to be made. His father was from Campania and his mother was from Bari. In fact, the Scarpa family were from the same town as the Cuomo family.



Lara:

 

Wasn’t Scarpa’s mom from the Bari region like Raymond’s family?



Nina:

 

Yes! I need to see if there’s some connection back there between the Patriarca family and Scarpa’s mom. I’m betting there was.

 

Lara:

 

Highly probable. 

 

Scarpa officially became an informant on November 21, 1961. In an FBI 302 dated July 29, 1965 informant number NY-3461-C-TE, Gregory Scarpa reported that he was contacted, presumably by Nicky Bianco, to go to Providence at Raymond’s request. Scarpa told his FBI handler that he knew Raymond personally and was familiar with how he operated. The odd request was that Scarpa demanded that his handler accompany him on his trip to Providence where he would likely spend a week. He wanted to be ensured that his handler was nearby at all times. 

 

About a week later, Scarpa contacted his handler, and reported that he’d received another phone call from Nicky Bianco. Nicky told Scarpa that they were still waiting to get the ok from Raymond about Scarpa’s trip to Providence. Nicky also indicated that they’d found another way to take care of Willie Marfeo since Willie was “not important”. Scarpa reiterated that he would not make any move without Raymond’s express approval. Nicky reassured Scarpa that Raymond would understand his sentiments and stated that Scarpa should wait to hear from Raymond.



Nina:

 

A few more days passed and Nicky phoned again. He claimed that Raymond was in Saratoga and would be gone for a few weeks but that Patriarca would contact Scarpa when he returned home to Rhode Island. Nicky repeated that they’d found another way to take care of Willie but that they might have something else for Scarpa to do. But it wasn’t his skill with a gun that they needed. Rather they were hoping to use him to smoke out the informant in Raymond’s midst. Little did any of them know, Raymond and Jerry Angiulo were informing on themselves!

 

FBI SA Charles Reppucci asked around, but according to his sources, Raymond hadn’t changed his routine at all, and was certainly not in Saratoga. In fact, it would only be another month before his wife, Helen, would pass away from the cancer that had been slowly killing her for years.



Lara:

 

Say what you want to say about Raymond, but he took care of his wife and visited her almost daily when she was hospitalized.

 

Back to Willie. At about the same time his brother-in-law, John Barbieri, was murdered, Willie Marfeo was once again charged with illegal gambling activities, and released on $500 bail. 

 

Let’s fast forward to 1966. On April 6, Angelo DiPalma, who had pleaded no contest in November of ‘65, was sentenced to 6 months probation.

 

Louis “the Fox” Taglianetti’s tax trial began on April 21st, 1966. 

 

Just a few days later, Louis Manocchio and a couple of the other men who had been arrested the previous June changed their pleas from innocent to guilty on the charge of violating the federal gambling tax. Sentencing was scheduled for the following month. Rudy Sciarra also pleaded guilty to the same charge, although he’d only been named as a co-conspirator and not a defendant.  

 

On April 26, Raymond was subpoenaed over Taglianetti’s tax issues. He was asked to produce the payroll records of the National Cigarette Services Inc. Louis was on the books as a salesman, and Raymond claimed Louis drummed up a third of their cigarette vending machine business. The trial would drag on throughout the summer. In September Louis was sentenced to 7 months and fined $3000. 



Nina:

 

And Louis’ trial would bring the wiretap at the Coin-O into the public eye. In December, the FBI was forced to admit that they’d installed the illegal tap in March of 1962.

 

Let’s get back to the summer of ‘66. Willie Marfeo’s life had been threatened several times in that period and the police claimed that they had even taken him into protective custody. Willie had a record going back to 1941. 

 

In October of 1942, Rudy Sciarra, Willie Marfeo and Angelo DiSarro were arrested for a b&e at the West Exchange Warehouse. The liquor theft had taken place in April of 1941. Willie had several priors at that point, mostly for driving offenses but also attempted larceny. Rudy Sciarra enlisted in the army on March 1st of 1943, presumably to avoid a jail sentence. But Willie Marfeo continued on his mini crime spree. With Rudy in the service, he found a partner in crime in Rudy Sciarra’s brother, Dante. They were both arrested in July of 1943 for breaking into 5 freight cars in the Harris Ave Freight Yard. By August, Willie had broken out of jail and was on the lam. Two months later he was recaptured and sentenced to 3 years. 



Lara:

 

In the middle of 1964, Willie Marfeo was arrested for receiving $6000 worth of stolen men’s suits, but the charges would be dropped later in the summer.

 

Then in October, Willie’s name was in the news again. This time because of his relationship with Joseph Schiavone who was almost a murder victim himself. According to Schiavone, he noticed that his car motor was skipping, so he took it in to the mechanic to get it checked out. When the mechanic popped the hood, he found an eight inch stick of dynamite with a cap and two wires coming out of it. One wire was hooked up to a spark plug, and the other to the alternator bracket to ground it. The mechanic told Schiavone to call the cops, but instead he placed a phone call to Willie Marfeo.

 

A few days later, Schiavone’s father-in-law showed up at the Coin-O-Matic complaining about the bombing attempt. Patriarca said he was sure nobody in Providence would have done it since he’d banned the use of bombs except during labor disputes. He also speculated that since Schiavone was back on the street and shylocking, it was probably one of the people he was trying to collect from. And it was his opinion that the culprit was either a “sneak” or a “nut”. He promised Schiavone’s father-in-law that it wasn’t anyone from Connecticut either.

 

This was the same day the hot car racket ring with John Barbieri and Joe Patriarca came to light. John Barbieri, Willie’s brother-in-law, would be found dead just four short months later. As for Schiavone, he was shot to death point-blank a decade later, but we’ll get into that next season.



Nina:

 

The primary source of Willie’s income and misery was a club he ran on Atwells Ave in Providence, RI across from the Korner Kitchen Restaurant that was located at 376 Atwells. Everyday, Willie would make his way to the restaurant at around 11:00 am for coffee and pastry. On the morning of July 13, 1966 as Willie, two companions and the owner of the Korner Kitchen were enjoying their coffee and conversation, a lone man entered the restaurant and tapped Willie on the shoulder. The gunman ordered the other men to lay face down on the floor and Willie was ordered outside at gunpoint. After being forced into a phone booth directly outside of the restaurant. He was shot once in the head, once in the shoulder, once in the chest and once in the torso. Bullets were lodged in his brain, lungs and spleen.

 

The three witnesses all said they had never seen the killer before and couldn’t provide a clear description.



Lara:

 

That afternoon, Willie’s brother Thomas was hospitalized with hysteria after hearing about his brother’s murder. Savino Marfeo suffered  a heart attack after a scuffle with the police upon hearing of his Willie's death. Savino would remain hospitalized until August 5th.





Nina:

 

Didn’t Savino also have a heart attack when their brother Rudy was killed a couple of years later?



Lara:

 

Yes! I suspect it’s another one of those stories like Larry Baione feigning illness during his last trial only to sit up in his bed to tell the court to fuck off.



Nina:

 

I would have loved to have been there to see that! Like he was rising from the dead.

 

After Willie’s murder, the FBI set out on an internal CYA campaign. Decades later during the congressional hearings into the corruption in the Boston FBI field office, the following information was released:

 

"The June 22, 1965 entry is a very long detailed recitation of the plan to murder Willie Marfeo. Patriarca is clearly the principal involved in planning the murder. "The killers are named as Barboza and Cassessa... Patriarca states that he would love to kill Marfeo himself."

 

The wiretap overheard the conversation between Patriarca, Tameleo, and Barboza on June 22, 1965 in which Patriarca hired Barboza to kill Marfeo and recorded it in the log. 

However, the conversation was not picked up on the tape recorder through some inexplicable mechanical failure. Accordingly, the Bureau Supervisor in Boston [meaning SA John F. Kehoe] who regularly reviewed the logs and tapes, in noting that the tape had failed to record the conversation, did not incorporate the information in any memoranda, airtel, or Bureau report, nor did the Bureau supervisor disseminate the information to other agents.



Lara:

 

Information about an attempt by someone other than Barboza to kill Marfeo was disseminated to SAs Rico and Condon. We assume that had to be the Scarpa mission.

 

"It should also be noted that SA Rico... did receive information on July 1, 1965 from a live informant that Patriarca had hired Baron to "hit" Willie Marfeo."  





Nina:

 

The “live informant” was clearly Jimmy Flemmi who was still laid up in the hospital recovering from the attempt on his life by Spike O’Toole.

 

But nothing about this story that is in the Congressional report makes sense. They’re alleging that this conversation took place at the Coin-O on June 22nd, but all we have is Kehoe’s word for it. And if it didn’t record, how would he know? He was only getting the recordings sent to him in Boston. He wasn’t sitting at the girls school every day listening to it live. 

 

This is same stunt he pulled with the Teddy Deegan murder. All they really had was Jimmy Flemmi’s allegations. And there was no way they could put Jimmy on the stand. 

 

Don’t forget that the wiretap mysteriously gets shut down with no explanation less than a month after this conversation allegedly took place. Even though J Edgar Hoover had approved it for another six months in May.



Lara:

 

Fed magic baby!

 

You might recall that back in 1964, Raymond allegedly paid off Joseph JR Russo for killing two men in Massachusetts. Kehoe sat on his hands and did nothing to pursue what actually could have been a real case. Unless that was also a lie. We both maintain that Kehoe was intel laundering and using information from live sources and inserting it into his reports as if it had come from the wiretap. 

 

Back to Providence in the summer of ‘66, things were not quiet on Federal Hill. On Friday, July 29th Rudy Marfeo’s second floor apartment was set on fire. The following morning, Willie’s nephew Joseph was shot in the leg while standing in his driveway.



Nina:

 

Then on August 7th at 12:40 am an attempt was made on Rudy Marfeo’s life by his brother-in-law Joe Baccari, & Joe’s nephews Raymond and Louis. Four shots were fired into Rudy’s apartment while he was sitting in his living room watching TV. The three Baccaris were arrested on attempted murder charges, and Joe Baccari was also charged with assaulting a police officer and illegal possession of a firearm after he attacked a cop during questioning at police headquarters. The following day they pleaded innocent to all of the charges.

 

A little over a week later, Rudy Sciarra was charged with illegal gambling.

 

Then on September 6th, Willie’s nephews, Anthony and Savino Marfeo were charged with assault and battery after beating Leonard Derois and Carl Santili. 

 

Lara:

 

Maybe those two boys shot Joseph?



Nina:

 

Maybe, but either way the charges were eventually dropped because the witnesses refused to testify against them.

 

The following month on October 6 Frank A. Melei Jr. son of Frank A. Sr. and Emma Melei was found on the sidewalk outside of Rudy Marfeo’s apartment with a bullet in his head. Rudy Marfeo’s daughter Charlene called the police saying she found him lying there. He was transferred to the hospital but later succumbed to his wounds. 

 

After a brief investigation, the police determined that Frank had been shot in the apartment at close range about two inches above his right ear with a .38 caliber revolver. The killer was a 16 year old whose name was never released. 



Lara:

 

Tragedy.

 

On  November 16, Angelo DiPalma was shot to death in front of his mother’s house. His was the fourth gangland murder of the year in Rhode Island. Like the others he was killed with a .38 and shot multiple times. There were bullets lodged in his heart, liver and a kidney. DiPalma had a record dating back to 1951 for charges ranging from gambling to possession of stolen goods. The police found a large sum of money in the home in addition to the $500 that was in his pocket. His widowed mother, Leonilda, said they were going to use that money to move back to Italy along with Angelo’s wife Alice Souza and brother Anthony. 



Nina:

 

As for the other two murders earlier that year, as you said both men were killed with a .38. On 

February 22nd,  Errol Bassett’s body was discovered in Johnston, RI  after he had been missing for two weeks. There were multiple gunshot wounds to his face. On March 6th, Edgar Paul Caycedo was found shot to death in his car behind a dairy store at 266 Atwells Ave on Federal Hill. No one was ever arrested, but the patterns make me think it was the same hitter.

 

Which I guess puts an end to the Scarpa speculation. I can’t see Scarpa running to Rhode Island on four different occasions to kill what appear to be pretty low-level guys. 

 

But I do want to know what SA Charles Reppucci was doing with all the time he seems to have had on his hands since he certainly wasn’t investigating or solving cases. I guess he was just counting down the days to retirement and his new job at the Attorney General’s office.



Lara:

 

No comment!!!!

 

To finish off 1966, Rudy Marfeo was finally in court after nine postponements on charges of running a red light! And Louis Marfeo was once again arrested on gambling charges. The charges were dropped against the Baccaris in the Rudy Marfeo apartment shooting. 

 

The following year Rudy Sciarra would be charged with the murder of Willie Marfeo only to be acquitted. The authorities would later put Angelo DiPalma’s brother Anthony on the stand to testify against Rudy Sciarra and Raymond on loan sharking charges. No one was ever convicted of Willie’s slaying.

 

Now since there will be much more to come about him in future episodes, here’s your chance to tell us more about Louis Manocchio!



Nina:

 

Baby Shacks Manocchio! 



Lara:

 

Baby Shanks! I always heard his nickname as Baby Shanks and all of the old FBI reports and news articles referred to him by Shanks, not Shacks!  Not the first nickname to be butchered. Like Slim Kazonis becoming Skinny. They’re both still alive, and I wish they would straighten their nickname issues out.



Nina:

 

I can’t help with that! Wikipedia still has it as Baby Shacks! I’d try to change it but I’m sure it’d just get shot down by one of their crazy editors. So it’s just going to have to stay that way.

 

The best part, though, is that the Feds used the bogus name in their indictment against him back in 2011. So now it’s official! 

 

But how do you think he came by the nickname “Baby Shanks”?



Lara:

 

I have two ideas. One, a shank is the area between your knee and ankle, Louis is on the shorter side so that would be a “nice” theory. The other is the verb to shank someone, to stab someone. Usually with a shiv, you know a narrow knife that you would jab someone with. I always think of that as a prison word, so maybe Louis earned it during his prison stint in the ‘50s.

 

Now tell us the Shacks theory.



Nina:

 

This sounds apocryphal, but it’s funny, so we have to share it. I put it up on Twitter too. 

 

A newspaper article from 2012 claimed that Louis got the name Baby Shacks because he had an older relative named “Shacks” who was a bit of a player. 



Lara:

 

Ah like shacking up with someone! Got it. I suspect Louis was a bit of a player too. That whole doctor broad story and all! But I’m still sticking with Shanks!



Nina:

 

Enough of the nickname war. Let’s give Louis’ mini-bio.

 

Luigi Manocchio was born in Providence, RI on June 23, 1927 to Maria Marino and Nicola Manocchio. His father was born in Italy and came to the US in 1911 to join his father, Andrea, who had been living in the US since 1898. 

 

Sometime in the early 1920s, I can’t find the original story in the newspapers, Nicola was arrested for breaking and entering at night and larceny. He was sentenced to six years in prison, but it’s unclear how much time he actually served. In the 1925 census, Maria and their son Andrew are living with her parents, so I assume Nicola was in prison. However, nearly 32 years later the arrest would come back to haunt him.

 

In 1954 the Attorney General of Rhode Island tried to get Nicola deported citing the newly enacted McCarran-Walter Act. But the governor swooped in to save the day and pardoned Nicola Mannochio. The State Senate approved the pardon a week later. Nicola passed away May 24, 1964.



Lara:

 

Nicola probably was still wrapped up in the life. There was an explosion in the apartment building he and his wife were living in 1952. It was said to be from an oil drum that was ignited, but I’m not a big believer in coincidences. 

 

Louis was an MP in the Army and received an honorable discharge in March 1947.

 

Louis had a record dating back to 1948. Mostly motor vehicle violations, gambling, robbery and weapons charges. In January of 1948 he was arrested on assault and battery charges after a brawl in the Caruso Cafe. In December of 1952 Louis was pinched along with Terrance Biafore and Max Inserra for a $4000 payroll robbery at a jewelry plant that landed them in jail 10 minutes after the heist. They were each given the minimum five year sentence by the judge.



Nina:

 

Our listeners might remember that Biafore and Inserra were related and both connected to Chicago organized crime. The Manocchios bought Max Inserra’s home when he left Providence and Louis’ mom was living in it.

 

After gaining his freedom, Louis was picked up with Willie Marfeo, Nicky Bianco, Jackie Nazarian and others by the authorities to be photographed as suspicious persons. That’s where those photos of all of them lined up in their overcoats come from.



Lara:

 

Now that makes sense. Knew it was a lineup of sorts. 

 

As we mentioned earlier, Louis was picked up on gambling charges in June of 1965 along with the rest of the guys. Each of them pleaded out the following year. Then in February of 1967 he pleaded guilty to a second set of gambling charges. Later that year Louis was shot during a gun battle on Atwells Ave. on November 30th. Luckily for Louis he survived. The bullet hit him in the neck requiring hospitalization, but he was as good as new in a few days.






Nina:

 

Joseph Schiavone, who we discussed earlier, was picked up and charged with assault with intent to kill and illegal possession of a weapon. He would later be cleared of all charges in March of 1968.

 

We will have lots more to come about the Marfeos, Meleis, Sciarra and Manocchio!



Lara:

 

Next week Nina and I are continuing on our RI journey. We’ll be discussing the events leading up to the Rudy Marfeo and Anthony Melei murders, the hit on them and the immediate aftermath.

 

Thank you for listening as always! 



Nina & Lara:

 

BYE!!!!