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Feb. 14, 2022

Dying To Be Made - Joe Barboza - The Early Days


Self-proclaimed contract killer for the New England Mafia in the 1960s, Joe "The Animal" Barboza would go on to become the FBI's star witness in multiple murder cases. His perjury put numerous innocent people in prison for life. Barboza was placed in Witness Protection and continued to murder with impunity, until his own demise.

Episode 23 - Jerry Angiulo

Episode 19 - Top Echelon Informant Program

Bonus Episode - Dorothy Barchard

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

Thank you for listening!

All the best,

Lara & Nina

Transcript

Lara:

Hi everyone! When we left you last week, we mentioned that we weren’t eager to profile Joseph Barboza, as so much has been written and recorded about him. But since we’re profiling specific men and events to highlight the connections between them and dad’s world, we decided we had to include a stand alone episode about him. I chose the title “Dying to be Made” because Barboza wanted nothing more than to be a made member of the mafia, and his not being Italian made that an impossibility. He had some fantasy that if he became “the best hitman” he would be made an exception to that rule. People died so he could be made, which of course never happened.

 

Nina:

And you have to assume that he turned State’s evidence not because the mob was trying to kill him, but rather as his revenge for being made an outsider no matter his insane efforts to become part of the fold.

 

Lara:

If you’ve been listening throughout this season, you’ve heard some stories about Barboza already. Today we’ll give more details about those events, but if you want to go back and listen to those episodes, we’ll put the links in the show notes. We’ll also include some maybe lesser known details about him.

Before we get into his background, I want to mention that no matter how vile, depraved and ruthless some of the men we are profiling may have been, they were still human. They had families, friends and lives outside of their criminal activities. We’ve received emails from descendants of both the law enforcement officers and the criminals we’ve been profiling. All of them willing to share further information about their loved ones. Some of our listeners might not agree that we share anecdotes and more light-hearted stories about these men, but it was part of their lives. As the daughter of one of “those men”, I always try to keep in mind when writing these episodes that children and grandchildren of our subjects might be listening, as well as the relatives of their victims. We’re here telling their stories. Yes, we share our opinions, but we’re not here to be their judge and jury.

But in the case of Barboza, it is very difficult to humanize him. His nickname “the Animal” says it all. This individual killed for the sake of killing and bragged and boasted about it. The lives he took, both with a gun or whatever weapon or with his perjured testimony, were not mob beefs that were being settled. They were irrational, paranoid and erratic actions taken by someone who had no right walking the streets. I recently read an article written about Barboza where the author stated he would never harm women and children. What utter bullshit. He was willing to burn Spike O’Toole’s house down with his sick mother in it, and said it would be her fault if she died in the fire. He terrorized a family in a car that accidentally cut him off, smashing the windows while threatening to rape the man’s wife and kill their children. Later he used an 18 year old girl to dispose of the body of one of his victims, and then wanted to go back and kill her. 

 

Nina:

It is impossible to have any sympathy for Barboza, but the system not only failed him but it failed his victims by failing to protect them from him. The man was clearly unhinged. A prime example of what I mean is F. Lee Bailey’s account of what happened when Wimpy Bennett brought Barboza to his office. Bailey asked Barboza to remove his hat. Barboza flipped out because Wimpy, who was bald, was allowed to keep his hat on. Bailey kept his hand on his .38 in his desk drawer while Barboza made obscene threats, and stormed out of his office. He returned with tears streaming down his face pleading for Bailey to represent him or he would go to the can again. Bailey would later say that Barboza was the worst human he’d ever met.

 

Lara:

Well, he would have known. Bailey defended more than a few.

I also want to note that we will not be covering the murder of Teddy Deegan and its aftermath in this episode. We are dedicating episodes 29 and 30 to Teddy, his murder and the men who were wrongfully convicted of his murder. We’ll end today’s episode when Barboza entered the witness protection program. Later this season and into the beginning of season 2 we’ll be covering the aftermath of his treachery.

Ok, let’s get into Joe’s story.

 

Nina:

Joe was born on September 20, 1932 in New Bedford, Massachusetts to Joseph Barboza Sr. and Palmira Camilla, both of whom were first generation Americans, whose parents had immigrated from the Azores. From all accounts, including Barboza’s own, Joseph Sr. was an abusive father and husband. The former boxer was quick to lose his temper and raise his hand to his wife and kids. 

 

Lara:

It should come as no surprise then that Joe was arrested at 13 years of age in 1945 for breaking and entering, and sent to Lyman Reform School. In December of 1949, Barboza and his friends were arrested for breaking into 16 houses in New Bedford. They had stolen watches, money, booze and guns. He was sentenced to five years and a day for the b&e’s in February the following year.

 

Nina:

There must have been something in the water in Boston in December of ‘49. How many of these guys that we’ve covered recently got arrested that month? David Glennon, Richard Barchard, Louis Arquilla, and now Barboza! And one woman to link them all! Dorothy Barchard!

 

Lara:

Hey, they were very busy!

 

Nina:

Well, Joe wasn’t too busy after that since he was sitting in the Concord Reformatory along with Richard DeVincent and Bernard Zinna. If you listened in last week, you might recall their names. We’ll get into them a little later.

 

Lara:

With too much time on his hands and near the end of his sentence Joe led a prison revolt and escape. He and six other inmates were getting drunk and high off of goofballs. For our listeners who don’t know what a goofball was they were usually barbituates of some kind. The escapees would later claim they purchased the booze and goofballs from a guard prior to their rampage and escape. They beat up a gas station attendant in Concord, stole his car and nearly blinded him in the process. Barboza and two others headed to Revere Beach to hit up a bar for a couple of drinks before making their way to the Orient Heights train station in East Boston where Barboza and his two companions were arrested.

 

Nina:

On May 19, 1954, Joe was convicted for his short lived prison escape, and sentenced to 10-12 years. His fellow escapees' sentences ranged from 2.5 to 8 years. He was made chairman of the five man Inmate Council. But that didn’t keep him out of trouble. In November of 1955, Joe slugged a prison guard in the jaw. He and two other inmates were placed in solitary. The guard would seek charges of assault against Barboza the following day.

 

Lara:

A couple of months later on January 19th, Dr. Daniel Levinson gave Joe a psych evaluation. His report stated that Barboza had an IQ between 90 and 100, and could perform a moderately skilled occupation. The following month, he was moved to Walpole State Prison. Along with him was Frank Martin Feeney and 6 other “trouble makers.”

 

Nina:

Two years later, in March of 1958, Joe was once again subjected to a psych eval. This time Dr. Saltzman diagnosed Barboza with a “sociopathic personality disturbance, antisocial reaction…. There is always a great possibility of further antisocial behavior in the future.” A much more accurate analysis of Joe’s mental state.

 

Lara:

Less than 4 years into his 10 to 12 year sentence, Joe was released. On July 12, 1958 he married Philomena Termini. And the following month he began boxing again. He was scheduled for another fight on September 8, but instead he was arrested two days before, during an attempted B&E. He was charged with the B&E and for possession of burglary tools in the Bristol County courthouse. But he wasn’t sentenced until November 14, when he was given 3 to 5 years. It is unclear whether he was released on bail or held because he was still on parole.

 

Nina:

Our big question is did he kill Vincent “Bittie” Vazza? 

A diminutive former boxer and reportedly a strong arm loan shark, Vazza was last seen at about 10:30 in the evening of September 9th. The authorities narrowed down the time of death to between that time and 6:30 the following morning, when a woman reported seeing Vazza’s car parked on Bremen Street in East Boston near the docks, where he ran his operations. The car remained in that location until Friday afternoon when Vazza’s brother came to retrieve it after getting a phone call from a neighbor. Ralph Vazza told the cops that he noticed that the back of the car was riding low as he turned into his driveway. When he went to open the trunk, Ralph found his brother’s beaten body, strangled to death with a rope or an electrical appliance cord. Vazza had been struck twice in the back of the head which probably incapacitated him prior to the strangulation. His wallet was missing but a 3 carat diamond ring and expensive gold watch were still on his person. The authorities believed that the wallet wasn’t stolen for the money but for a contact list. The Revere police speculated that he had been “murdered in a house and then his body placed in the car early Wednesday morning.” 

 

Lara:

It’s a tight timeline considering Barboza was picked up on the 6th, but the method and association makes us both suspicious. Do any of our listeners know if Barboza was on the street at that time?

You might recall from episode 19 that Vinnie Teresa was arrested in that same month for conspiracy to violate the Small Loans Act. 20 secret indictments were handed down to ten men. The Staties said that the accused had bilked more than half a million dollars in exorbitant interest rates and forced many of their victims into crimes to pay their debts. Considering that Vinnie and Barboza were tight with each other, we strongly suspect that it was Barboza who killed Vazza or someone in Barboza’s crew at Vinnie’s behest.

 

Nina:

The MO is so similar to the Hannon murder in 1964. But either way, Joe was back on the street by September 1960, when he was arrested for making threats. He paid a fine and moved on. He got a job as an assistant manager at Scooterland. In June 1961, he was fined for having no inspection sticker on his car. In May of 1962, he was arrested for speeding in Dorchester and fined.

You’ll recall that later in 1962, Jack Kelley found Barboza and Dorothy Barchard in their mutual lawyer’s office. Dorothy fled the room in some state of undress, and Barboza was hanging their attorney, John Fitzgerald, out the window by his ankles.

To relieve the tension in the room, Jack made a joke, and got Barboza to free Fitzgerald. Barboza plopped Fitzgerald on the floor and asked if he had seen Dorothy. Jack proceeded to tell him she ran down the hall. Barboza and Fitzgerald continued their relationship as did Dorothy. It would later cost Fitzgerald his leg.



Lara:

Joe divorced Philomena on April 22nd the following year. She was 16 years his senior. They’d met while he was in prison, when she began writing Joe letters. In Joe’s twisted mind he believed that since she was Sicilian, if he married her that would help him get made. So much for that scheme. Shortly after the divorce, Joe remarried in Maine. His new bride was Jewish, and Joe had to have a bris in order to convert. He would later say that his circumcision was the most painful experience in his life. Following his bris, and possibly a trip to the mikveh, he was married by a reform rabbi and took the surname Barron. What that had to do with his conversion is beyond me, but he would continue to use that surname.

 

Nina:

No comment!

Besides his loan sharking operation, Joe was also technically employed from 1964 to 1966 as a salesman at the Shawmut Insurance Co., and he was the payroll clerk at the Blue Bunny Lounge and Duffey’s. His salary was $100 a week. I assume he was working to satisfy his parole requirements. But that didn’t take up all of his time. Supposedly in December of 1964, Buddy McLean recruited Barboza to track down Punchy McLaughlin, but that didn’t pan out. On January 25, 1965 Joseph Francione became the 18th victim of the gangland war in the Boston area. He was found shot to death in his kitchen in Revere, MA. He was an ex-con and had been questioned previously about the Plymouth Mail Robbery. Just like in the Brinks case, pretty much every half a wise guy in the area was brought in for questioning.

 

Lara:

I wonder what the exact dollar amount was that was spent on the Brinks and Plymouth investigations. Surely it was more than what was actually stolen.

 

Nina:

Well, we know the authorities spent something like three times as much as what was stolen to bring the Brink’s case to trial. You have to figure it was a similar amount in the Plymouth job.

On February 2, 1965 the wiretap at the Coin-O-Matic picked up Raymond and Henry Tameleo gossiping to one another about the recent murder of Joseph Francione. They speculated that Joe was the killer.

Barboza made a trip of his own to the Coin-O-Matic on May 18, 1965. He was there to ask permission to burn down a triple decker in order to kill Spike O’Toole. He was gunning for Spike because he was aligned with the McLaughlins, and Barboza was with Buddy McLean.The story that Buddy met Barboza in Norfolk isn’t possible. Barboza was paroled in April of ‘62, and Buddy didn’t arrive at Norfolk until October of ‘62. So much for that tale. Anyhow, Barboza had been unable to catch Spike off guard. Now keep in mind that Spike had been living with Dorothy Barchard and Dorothy had been sleeping with Barboza and was also still carrying on with their attorney, John Fitzgerald. So who knows what the real motive was, but I doubt it was his bromance with Buddy. Barboza told Raymond that he planned to pour gasoline in the basement of the house and set it on fire and thus either kill Spike by smoke inhalation or fire, or in the event he climbed out a window, Barboza would have two or three individuals there with rifles to kill him as he emerged from a window or door. 

 

Lara:

Upon questioning by Patriarca, Barboza said that he had planned to cut the telephone wires so that Spike could not call for assistance and also to ring false alarms in other sections of the city so that the engines could not respond quickly. He also explained that the third floor apartment was vacant but the first floor apartment was apparently occupied by Spike's ill mother. This caused no concern to Barboza who stated it was not his fault that the mother would be present, and he would not care whether the mother died or not. Patriarca told Barboza that he didn’t think it was a good idea to carry out the hit that way, and attempted to dissuade Barboza from killing innocent people. It was unclear whether Barboza accepted Raymond's objections, but Raymond was vehemently against that type of killing.

 

Nina:

Well, he didn’t accept Raymond’s judgment because less than two weeks later, the police received a phone call at about two in the morning. There were two men parked in a car on Spike O’Toole’s street in Dorchester. Someone had removed pieces of paper from a trash barrel, piled it against the wooden three decker where Spike was living with his mother and ignited it. But the fire burned itself out, and Spike remained inside. The two men who were parked outside fled, but the police caught one of them and accused him of unlawful possession of a firearm. 

 

Lara:

On June 1st two men, one from Braintree and one from Norwell, were brought into court for illegal possession of a shotgun. They were the two that were spotted outside of Spike’s home. The Braintree man was fined $200. The following week the man from Norwell was sentenced to 1 year. Spike finally went on the lam in July, hiding out on the Cape from both the cops and the assassins.

 

Nina:

On July 9, 1965 Barboza killed Romeo Martin. We will get more into Romeo’s background and his murder in future episodes. Romeo’s claim to fame was that he escaped from prison by hitting a home run. He just kept on running. The police finally caught up with him as he was attempting to climb inside the second floor window of a college girls’ dorm in Roxbury.

 

Lara:

When I was little and I’d hear the guys talking about Romeo, I thought it had something to do with Shakespeare!

 

Nina:

Stop!!

 

Lara:

Spike wasn’t the only lamster in the bunch. Jimmy Flemmi was also on the lam as of September 4, 1965. The following week Barboza was arrested for beating up a cop with a pistol in the Ebb Tide Lounge in Revere. The judge in the case accused the MDC police of using high handed tactics against Barboza and his co-defendant. He reduced their bail from $25,000 to $2000. When the judge discovered that Barboza’s co-defendant was a fugitive from New Jersey, he rescinded his bail, but Joe was free to roam the streets once again. On September 23rd, Barboza pleaded not guilty to the charges of assault and illegal possession of a firearm and was released. The trial date was scheduled for November 29th.

While Barboza was out on bail, Ray DiStasio, a McLaughlin gang associate and bartender at the Mickey Mouse Cafe in Revere, and John B. O’Neil, an innocent bystander, were killed on November 15, 1965. It was 5 pm in the evening and O’Neil was just in the store getting cigarettes.

Jimmy Flemmi was arrested in the early morning hours of November 19, 1965. He’d been on the lam for two and a half months. Brookline and State Police Detectives took Jimmy into custody after finding him hiding in a closet in an apartment on Hamilton Road near Commonwealth Ave. The official version of events was that the cops had come to the apartment to serve a warrant for a motor vehicle violation. When they knocked on the door, a male voice replied that the person they were looking for wasn’t there. The cops ordered the man to open the door or they’d use force. Johnny Martorano opened the door to the cops. A search of the apartment commenced, and a State Trooper wearing civilian clothes opened the closet door and pointed his gun at Jimmy. “Oh my god, I’ve never been so close to death!” Jimmy exclaimed.

 

Nina:

I have my doubts about that version of events. It seems more likely that Johnny led them to Jimmy with Rico’s help. 

 

Lara:

I have to agree with you. He probably wanted Jimmy out of his hair!

The press ran an article on November 21st claiming that the authorities believed the rash of killings was related to the Plymouth Mail Heist, but that had nothing to do with it. We know that the killings were linked to which side of the fence you fell on, McLaughlin or McLean, but I also believe that Rico and Condon were equally to blame as they were leaking information to the McLean allies and fanning the flames.

 

Nina:

Without any doubt, they were feeding them names, locations and who to take out.

Back to Barboza’s trial. On November 26, the ADA petitioned the court for bail to be increased to $100,000 for Barboza’s safety, saying that if he remained free, Barboza would be dead before the trial commenced. The ADA produced an MDC patrolman and a Statie to testify that they’d talked to Barboza in a Revere restaurant on the evening before Thanksgiving. Barboza told them that there’d been an attempt on his life in Revere and two others in East Boston. But when put on the stand, Joe vehemently denied that he made such a statement to the police. 

 

Lara:

In a separate petition to the court, Al Farese said he couldn’t represent Barboza because he was already representing Joe’s co-defendant, John Cassiliano, aka Rocco A Conti. The judge allowed him to withdraw and F. Lee Bailey replaced him as Joe’s attorney.

Barboza’s bail was raised to $100,000, and he was remanded into custody and shipped off to Charles St. On December 10th, bail was reduced to $35,000, but he was unable to raise the additional funds. The judge set the trial date for January 3, 1966.

On January 16, 1966, Barboza was cleared of all charges except one: disturbing the peace. He was sentenced to six months in the house of corrections.

 

Nina:

On May 26, 1966 McLaughlin ally, Cornelius “Connie” Hughes was killed. Although it was only 5 months from Barboza’s sentencing, he was already on the street because of receiving time off his sentence because of good behavior. The following month on June 16th, Rocco DeSiglio was murdered. If you listened last week, you’ll remember that Joe made an anonymous call to police officer Fawcett telling him the location of DiSeglio’s body. In August of 1967, Jerry Angiulo, Bernard Zinna, Richard DeVincent and Mario Lepore were charged and tried for the murder of DiSeglio. And the key witness was Barboza.

We both believe that Barboza killed Rocco because he told the cops the exact location of the body. And then out of spite for the men he felt snubbed him because he wasn’t Italian, he provided false testimony against them. Jerry and his co-defendants were eventually acquitted.

 

Lara:

Back to 1966. On July 25th Barboza and Chico Amico were arrested for the stabbing of Arthur Pearson. Pearson had been found barely alive in his car not far from the Ebb Tide.The stabbing took place in the Tiger’s Tail. Both Barbaoza and Amico were in possession of marijuana when they were picked up. Bail was set at $100,000. On August 4th, charges were also brought against Nicholas Femia and Patrick Fabiano, and the victim was being held on $100,000 for his protection. 

 

Nina:

Pearson was also a fugitive from justice in California, and why they didn’t send him back here is beyond me.

On September 23rd, two more McLaughlin allies were killed. Stevie Hughes, the brother of Connie, and Sammy Linden were shot to death. It was not the first attempt on Stevie. He had been shot five times the year before. If you listened to episode 19 about the Top Echelon Program you will remember that Jimmy and Joe had been seeking permission from Raymond to kill Sammy Linden as early as May 1965. But Joe Lombardo found out, and was livid that they wanted to kill Sammy, and intervened on Sammy’s behalf. 

 

Lara:

I still don’t understand how Lombardo and the other old timers allowed Jimmy Flemmi and Barboza to run wild. They knew they were dangerous in more than one way, yet they still allowed them to run amok. 

But Jimmy Flemmi had been sentenced to a 4-6 year bid for jumping bail back in March, so he couldn’t have done it. And Joe was still in pre-trial detention.

 

Nina:

Assuming Jimmy wasn’t out on a weekend furlough.

 

Lara:

I don’t believe they had weekend furloughs yet.

 

Nina:

It was a drive-by shooting at 2 in the afternoon, who does that sound like? 

 

Lara:

Johnny Martorano and Stevie Flemmi. 

 

Nina:

Well, that’s who I think did it. Johnny Martorano had pleaded guilty to harboring Jimmy in March and was sentenced to six months in the can. He would have already been out by September of ‘66. 

We have three episodes dedicated to the hits between 1964 and 1966 scheduled, so we’ll provide more details about them when the time comes.

Mafia Encyclopedia Extraordinaire, Vinnie Teresa, alleged that it was Joe and Chico Amico who killed Sammy Linden and Stevie Hughes. But that’s impossible because he was still being held on bail for the Pearson murder attempt. However, three days after the Linden Hughes double homicide, Barboza was freed after a bail reduction hearing. Femia and Chico Amico were freed on bail the following day, and Pearson refused to testify against his attackers. 

On October 3, 1966 Barboza and Fabiano were in Superior Court on indictments for conspiracy, receiving stolen goods, possession of a firearm, and possession of harmful drugs. Their cases were continued to November 14 on a defense motion that recent publicity would prevent them from receiving a fair and impartial trial.

 

Lara:

How the fuck did they keep giving Barboza bail? Like it was some sort of shock that he was back in court less than a week later!

 

Nina:

Well, it should come as no surprise to you that they were back in court again the following day! Barboza, Femia, Arthur “Tash” Bratsos, and Fabiano were arrested by the Vice Squad on Congress Street at 1:45 in the morning. The head of the District Attorney’s homicide squad testified at the bail hearing that he had gotten a call at home on the evening of October 3. The caller informed him that Barboza and his compatriots were planning a hit. He passed the information on to the Vice Squad who followed the men from a downtown lounge bar. The arresting officers saw Barboza, who was sitting in the backseat, pass a gun to Femia in the front seat. They forced the quartet’s car to the side of the road, and arrested the men. But they needed a warrant to search the car, so a trip was made to Judge Elijah Adlow’s home, where a warrant was issued at six in the morning.

A search of the car revealed a loaded .45 caliber Army automatic, a quantity of .30 caliber carbine armor piercing ammunition and six clips of M1 rifle ammo. In addition, they found a seven inch dagger and a switchblade knife.

The four men were bailed on $1000 each after being booked at the Milk Street police station. 

 

Lara:

Decades later Frankie Salemme alleged that the cop, Arthur Linsky, planted the gun on Barboza. Did anyone need to plant a weapon on Barboza? Come on!

 

Nina:

Don’t get me started about Salemme’s statements. We’ll tear that rubbish apart another time.

Back to the $1000 bail. Garret Byrne begged for no bail but the judge refused, saying that he couldn’t legally hold the men without it. But he set bail at $100,000 for both Barboza and Femia. It should be noted here that Barboza was already out on bail two times over at this point. $25,000 double surety on illegal gun charges from August and then $35,000 double surety for the attempt on Arthur Pearson’s life. Fitzgerald and Farese argued that their clients’ bail should be reduced. Farese said that Barboza was employed by the insurance company and a cafe in Nantasket, and that he needed to get back to work.

 

Lara:

Yeah ok.

But Judge Spalding disagreed and both were sent back to Charles St. jail. From his jail cell Barboza wrote a letter to Boston Herald reporter James Southwood detailing his and the others' arrest. Who knows what he thought he was accomplishing by doing that.

On November 1 the four men were back in court. They pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy to receive stolen goods. Barboza and Femia were once again returned to Charles Street. Tash Bratsos and Patrick Fabiano were released on their own recognizance. The trial date was set for November 21, and all four waived mental examination.

 

Nina:

Barboza was desperate to get bailed out, so the story goes that he decided to send Tash Bratsos and Tommy dePrisco out to collect the money that he felt was owed to him. But things didn’t go quite as planned. Both men were killed, and their bodies were found in the backseat of their car which was parked in a lot in South Boston the morning of November 15, 1966. Deprisco had been shot 4 times in the back of the head and Bratsos twice in the back of the head. They were listed as victims number 34 and 35 of the gang war.

 

Lara:

Vincent Teresa wrote in his book, My Life In The Mafia, that the story that was going around about DePrisco and Bratsos, attempting to raise seventy thousand dollars for Barboza's bailby collecting owed debts, was not true. According to Teresa, DePrisco and Bratsos went all over Boston shaking down bookies and nightclubs to raise the bail Barboza needed. The last place they went was the 416 Lounge, also known as the Nite Lite Cafe. They entered like “Gangbusters” and asked for money to help Barboza out. The patrons, who included Larry Baione, Phil Waggenheim, Ralphie Chong and his brother, Joe Black refused their demands. Refusing to take no for an answer, DePrisco and Bratsos attempted to hold them up at gunpoint and demanded they empty their pockets, “We'll take what we want.” DePrisco and Bratsos were then shot and their pockets were emptied of the $12,000 they had collected from their prior shakedowns. 

 

Nina:

Teresa continued, “Now what Baiona, the Lamattina brothers and Waggenheim didn't know was that there was a police informer in the place, a guy by the name of Joe Lanzi. He was a bartender and part-time owner of the Four Corners bar and he was in the joint at the time Bratsos and DePrisco came barging in.” 

Teresa further stated, “Then on April 18, 1967, they caught up with the informer, Lanzi. Three of [Jerry] Angiulo's enforcers--Benjamin DeChristoforo, Carmine Gagliardi, and Frank Oreto--were driving through Medford at four in the morning. In the front seat of their car was Lanzi, who they'd just shot.'' 

 

Lara:

Once word got to Barboza he got word to Chico Amico, and ordered him to take out Phil Waggenheim. But the wiseguys found out about the plan and they took out Chico before he had a chance to get to Waggenheim. He was shot outside of Alfonso's Broken Hearts Club, where he'd been trying to shake down some people to help Barboza. According to more than just Vinnie’s account, Barboza went insane when he heard the news. He called Patriarca a fag, and promised to kill everyone in sight for killing Chico. 

 

Nina:

Vinnie said that Henry Tameleo directed his men to “Go see Butchie, Frank Miceli of the New Jersey arm of the Gambino family,  and get a supply of shotguns and rifles. Barboza's got to get hit.'' Vinnie went on to say, that Raymond Patriarca told him and Henry Tameleo that Joseph Barboza is “gonna get killed in or out of the can.” Patriarca continued, “You send the word to him--and that's all there is to it.''

I just don’t buy Vinnie’s tale here.

“It wasn't long after that that Barboza found out he was going to be killed. I guess DA Byrne told him, and two FBI agents who were working on him, Paul Rico and Dennis Condon, told him. They convinced him that Patriarca had double-crossed him and was going to have him killed. Barboza was frantic. He didn't want to die, and he didn't want to be an informer. He hated informers.” 

 

Lara:

Well Barboza may have hated being an informant, but it certainly didn’t show. The reality is he wasn’t an informant, he was a fiction author and narrator of FBI tales.

 

Nina:

It’s so similar to how they played Specky O’Keefe with the Brink’s trial. History repeating. I guess they figured that it worked the first time, why mess with perfection? The only difference is that Specky O’Keefe wasn’t a serial killer. 

On January 25, 1967 Barboza, Femia and Fabiano were convicted and sentenced to four to five years in state prison. 

FBI SAs Rico and Condon approached Barboza and attempted to convince him to testify against the mafia, but Barboza wasn’t interested. So the two Feds tried a different approach, Jimmy Flemmi’s brother, Stevie. 

According to later FBI reports, Stevie Flemmi convinced Barboza “that his present incarceration and potential for continued incarceration for the rest of his life, was wholly attributable to LCN efforts directed by Gennaro [Jerry] Angiulo, LCN Boston head.”

On March 8th, Barboza agreed to talk to the FBI as long as they agreed not to use any of his statements against him. In that meeting he told the Feds that he would go to see Raymond to get approval before he made any moves. In addition he stated that he was going to kill several people for the slayings of his friends, Amico, Bratsos and DePrisco. His biggest claim/lie was that he told the Feds that he knew what happened in every murder in the area. His only demand was that he would never give evidence that would incriminate Jimmy Flemmi or as he put it “fry him.”

 

Lara:

Word of the Feds visiting and Barboza being shuttled out by them was leaked to the Record American by someone in the prison. By the end of March, Barboza was being interviewed in the Federal building in Boston accompanied by his attorney, John Fitzgerald, who was still carrying on with Dorothy, and had replaced Spike O’Toole as her live-in lover. You’ll also recall that Dorothy had been an informant for the FBI for over a decade at this point. 

Barboza said he would talk to the agents, but he would not testify to any information that he was furnishing. After his first meeting with Rico and Condon Barboza stated that he had concluded that they had a common enemy in the “Italian organization”, and he wanted to help the FBI obtain evidence against the “Italian organization.”  In return, Barboza hoped DA Garrett Byrne would cut him a break on his two pending court cases. He told the Feds that he discussed his meeting with them with Jimmy Flemmi, and he told Flemmi that he was considering having Patrick Fabiano cooperate with the FBI.  Flemmi told him it was an excellent idea.  The Feds told Barboza that he was making a very serious mistake by talking to other inmates about talking to the FBI. 

 

Nina:

In the report from that meeting that was sent from the Boston SAC to Hoover the he voiced his concern about Barboza:

“This office is aware of the distinct possibility that Barron [Barboza], in order to save himself from a long prison sentence, may try to intimidate Fabiano into testifying to something that he may not be a witness to. Joseph Barboza says he does not know who killed William Marfeo, and he had nothing to do with the murder.”

 

Lara:

And Joe kept writing letters to James Southwood. Including one that ran as a news article on July 9, 1967 in the Boston Herald Traveler. “A letter from Barboza, Why I Decided to Tell All.” 

Southwood wrote:

“A few months ago, Barboza was transferred from the state prison to the Barnstable County House of Correction on Cape Cod--for the obvious reason of removing him from the company of men still loyal to the Cosa Nostra. He was placed in isolation there and only the two FBI agents Rico and Condon can get in to see him.'' 

 

Nina:

Barboza told Southwood:

“Younger inmates at Walpole and Concord would do anything to get in with these people, figuring they would become big men. The Office (LCN) likes them to believe this because they bleed every single favorable effort from these disillusioned kids and men – then throw them a crust of bread.”

 

Lara:

Oh, cry me a river. Dying to be made.

In November of 1967 attorney John E. Fitzgerald told Rico and another Fed, William Welby, that Dorothy Barchard had received a phone call in which the caller indicated that if she did not stop associating “with that guy”, she and her children could be killed. 

To make matters worse for Fitzgerald, his wife had received a phone call from a stranger who told her that Fitzgerald was “keeping” Dorothy. 

Fitzgerald also stated that he had been told that if he would help them weaken Joe Barboza, they would have Spike O'Toole killed at Concord where O'Toole was incarcerated for his role in harboring Georgie McLaughlin.

Keep in mind that Fitzgerald started carrying a small Beretta and a .32  in July of that year.

 

Nina:

The Feds asked Fitzgerald who had threatened him, but he refused to reveal the person’s name. However, he informed them that he had “given the identity of this party to Jimmy O'Toole, and he will probably be in trouble when O'Toole comes out of jail.” 

Fitzgerald also told the Feds that when he was checking around as to who made the telephone calls to his wife and to Dorothy, “The Office”, meaning the mafia, had tried to lead him to believe that it was Spike O'Toole's friends. But he’d checked with O'Toole, and Spike told him that it wasn’t him.

And then Fitzgerald tried to blame his partner Al Farese for his troubles, all but accusing Al of ratting to the mob.

 

Lara:

At 5:15 pm on Tuesday January 30, 1968, Fitzgerald left work and walked about a block behind the law office that he shared with Al Farese in Everett to where he’d parked Barboza’s black and gold car. He started the car up before he’d closed his door all the way. This fact saved his life. 

His body was torn by the explosive force of three sticks of dynamite, each 15 inches long and weighing six pounds, which had been inserted with a coil next to the fire wall behind the engine. Shrapnel from the bomb hit surrounding homes and a chunk of the car was hurled into the wall of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. An explosives expert said that it only would have taken about 30 seconds to install the bomb. The burglar alarm on the car had been disengaged. 

Fitzgerald, who was conscious from the time of the explosion until he was put under anesthesia, demanded that Rico and Condon come to see him.

 

Nina:

The theory has always been that the mob was behind the bombing in an effort to scare Barboza and keep him quiet. Because that’s what the Feds and Fitzgerald claimed. But the man was keeping Dorothy and driving Barboza’s car and Barboza was stuck out in protective custody like a caged animal. Frankie Salemme later alleged that Fitzgerald was also running Joe Barboza 's loan shark operation out of his office in Everett. And of all Salemme’s claims that strikes me as a more credible one. Three strikes and you’re out. But who actually planted the bomb for Barboza is still a mystery. It wasn’t Salemme and Stevie Flemmi, though, I can tell you that. Even though Salemme was later convicted and did 12 years for it. It was done by a professional who really meant to kill Fitzgerald. Not just scare him.

 

Lara:

The claim that the caller offered to bump off Spike O’Toole is what drives it home for me that this was about Dorothy, and not about pressuring Barboza not to testify.

Rico and Condon contacted Fitzgerald at Massachusetts General Hospital where Fitzgerald was recovering from injuries sustained in the car bombing. Fitzgerald said he had come in contact with many criminals, whom he believed were all now his enemies. Fitzgerald told the agents that he was going to write a letter to Barboza telling him that because he lost a leg in the bombing, Barboza should turn on these people and provide testimony that would send them all to jail. Rico told Fitzgerald that he would prefer that Barboza testify about whatever he could, without Barboza being pressured into testifying against specific individuals. Rico said in his report, “If we feel that at a later date that Baron is “holding out,” we then may ask Fitzgerald's assistance, but we do not want Baron to be motivated by revenge.”

 

Nina:

After the bombing, Barboza was moved to Fort Knox for his safety. He had a German Shepherd to accompany him on his walks. His other companion was a military police officer, John Morris. The same John Morris who would go on to become an FBI agent and partner of John Connolly. More of him to come in season 2.

 

Lara:

We will be covering more about Barboza throughout the rest of this season and into the first part of season 2. Next week, we’ll be discussing the gangland victims of 1964, the hitters and our theories. Hope you continue to listen. Please share, subscribe and leave a review.

 

Nina & Lara:

BYE!!!