Edward "Teddy" Deegan was murdered in Chelsea, Massachusetts on the evening of March 12, 1965. His murderers were never prosecuted. Instead, the FBI launched a decades-long coverup to protect his murderers, using one of them, Joe Barboza, as their primary witness to send 6 innocent men to prison for life.
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Hi everyone! Today, Nina and I are discussing the aftermath of Teddy Deegan’s murder from the invstigation to the arrests of the supposed perpetrators. Next week we will finish the story with their trial, the exposure of the Boston FBI Field Office’s failure to bring the real killers to justice, their role in the coverup and what happened to the men who were wrongfully convicted. If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode yet, you might want to check that one out first to hear about the events leading up to Teddy’s murder.
We’ll also be profiling the men who would eventually be charged with Teddy’s murder, but let’s start with the immediate aftermath.
In a memo dated March 15,1965 three days after Teddy was killed, SA Rico wrote that he had been in contact with an informant on March 10th. The informant, I believe, was Jimmy Flemmi. According to Rico, Jimmy told him that Patriarca had put out the word that Teddy was to be “hit” and that a dry run had already been made and a close associate of Teddy’s had agreed to set him up. There was also a discussion about having a “provable alibi” in case Jimmy was suspected of killing Deegan.
Rico again repeated Jimmy’s tale that Deegan had pulled a gun on Joe Barboza and that’s why Raymond gave his ok to kill Teddy.
This appears to be the first time that an FBI memo makes the claim that Raymond Patriarca approved the hit. As we noted in the previous episode nowhere in the 302s from the wiretap did Raymond actually say “ok” to killing Teddy.
The day after Teddy was murdered, Rico again made contact with Jimmy who gave him yet another version of the events surrounding Teddy’s murder. Jimmy claimed that Deegan was lured to a finance company in Chelsea in order to commit a B&E. The door to the finance company had been left open by an employee. When Teddy and Roy French, who was setting Deegan up, got to the door, Roy shot Teddy in the back of the head, and Romeo Martin and Ronnie Cassesso came out of the door and fired into Teddy’s body. While Teddy was being killed, Jimmy and Joe Barboza walked towards a car driven by Anthony Stathopolous to kill him, but Stathopoulos saw them coming and drove off before any shots were fired.
Jimmy further claimed Ronnie Cassesso and Romeo Martin wanted to prove to Raymond Patriarca they were capable individuals, and that was the reason they wanted to kill Teddy. Jimmy said they did an ‘awfully sloppy job.’
But I don’t think that Jimmy said they did an awful sloppy job. I think Rico said that to Jimmy. Frankie Salemme used the exact same expression when talking about how Rico critiqued their alleged attempt on Punchy McLaughlin later that year. “Boy what a sloppy piece of work that was. Other people coulda got hurt.”
Just a geeky side note: in his memos, H. Paul Rico would refer to himself as “informant” and the CI would be named.
The day following Deegan's murder, Anthony Stathopoulos, this time accompanied by attorneys John Fitzgerald and Al Farese, returned to the Chelsea Police Department. Stats was shown photographs of Roy French, Joseph Barboza, Jimmy Flemmi and Ronald Cassesso. The police also mentioned Freddie Chiampa. Stathopoulos asked how the police knew who had committed the murder. The police answered that they’d gotten the information from an informant. Their “informant” was the FBI who had passed on the information that Jimmy had provided to Rico. Also the Massachusetts State Police had the Ebb Tide under surveillance.
They also warned Stats to watch out for the men whose photos he’d been shown.
Two more unnamed men were also questioned that same day, but no one was held. The cops were still waiting for the autopsy report to determine if Teddy had also been shot from the front.
Boston Police Department Detective Billy Stuart also wrote a report on March 13th:
“From a reliable informant the following facts were obtained about the Deegan murder: Informant states that the following men were Joseph Barron aka Barboza, Romeo Martin, Freddie Chiampi, Roy French, Ronnie Cassesso, Anthony Stathapoulos and Chico Amico. Informant states that they were over at a lounge in Revere when they received the call from French that everything was OK then they all left together…. Romeo Martin is a former informant but since hanging in the North End hasn’t been too helpful…. Informant states that the reason for the killing of Deegan was that Barboza claims that Deegan is with the Hughes brothers and McLaughlins and he felt that Deegan was a threat to his friends the Flemmi and Bennett Brothers in Roxbury.”
Billy Stuart’s “informant” was Wimpy Bennett until the appeal 7 years later.
On Sunday, March 14th, Lt. Thomas Evans of the Chelsea Police Department wrote a detailed report about Teddy’s murder:
“I received information from Capt. Renfrew that an informant of his had contacted him and told him that Roy French had received a telephone call at the Ebb Tide in Revere at 9pm on March 12th, and after a short conversation Roy left the Ebb Tide with the following men: Joseph Barboza, Ronald Cassesso, Vincent Flemmi, Francis Imbruglia, Romeo Martin, Nicky Femia and Freddie Chiampa. They are said to have returned at about 11pm and Martin was alleged to have said to French, ‘We nailed him.’”
A little bit about Roy. Wilfred “Roy” French was born on March 13, 1929 in Swampscott, MA to Wilfred and Mary French. Roy worked as a horse trainer and was a bouncer at the Ebb Tide. In December of 1964 he was charged with participating in the armed robbery of the Beverly Trust Company in Lynnfield on September 11th of that year. Charged with him was Joseph Patrizzi. He was released on bail. The trial didn’t start until February 15, 1966 and he was acquitted on March 2nd. Over two years later, Roy stated during his trial that he had never owned a gun, but we’ll get more into the trial in the next episode.
Before we move on, I just want to mention that Roy passed away in January just shy of his 93rd birthday.
Back to the timeline.
On March 15th, a detective from the State police, Richard J. Cass wrote a report to the Captain of Detectives Daniel I. Murphy regarding the homicide of Teddy Deegan. He stated that Chelsea Officer James O’Brien was the patrolman for the area where Teddy was found. Officer O’Brien checked the alley around 9 pm and turned the lights on. He returned around 10:59 pm, and found the alley lights were off. He explored the alley and found Deegan’s body. The report also said that during the evening of Friday, March 12, Joseph Barboza was at the Ebb Tide with Francis Imbruglia, Ronald Cassesso, Jimmy Flemmi, Romeo Martin, Nicky Femia and Freddy Chiampa. Around 9 pm, Roy French received a phone call, and the above group left the Ebb Tide with him.
According to the report, Chelsea Captain Joseph Kozlowski was around Fourth Street at about 9:30 P.M. and saw a red car with the motor running and three men inside. The rear license plate was obstructed, but it would later be revealed that it was Romeo Martin’s car. Officer Kozlowski approached the driver and the driver sped off. He described the driver as Romeo Martin. The man in the back seat was “stocky with dark hair and a bald spot in the center of his head.”
Richard Cass wrote, “Unconfirmed information was received that Romeo Martin and Ronald Cassesso had entered the building and were waiting just inside the rear door. Stathopoulos was waiting on Fourth Street in a car and French and Deegan entered the alley. Deegan opened the rear door. He was shot twice in the back of the head and also in the body. The information at the time was that three guns were used. Lieutenant John Collins of Ballistics confirmed the report of three guns being used at a later time. Two men approached the car in which Stathopoulos was waiting and he took off.”
“At the earliest possible time that dissemination can be made with full security to BS-837-C* (the wiretap at Raymond Patriarca’s), you should advise appropriate authorities of the identities of the possible perpetrators of the murders of Sacramone and Deegan. Advise the Bureau when this has been done.”
Detective Stuart interviewed Romeo Martin that same day. Romeo denied all direct knowledge of the killing but said he had been at the Ebb Tide Lounge in Revere with the same people named by Wimpy Bennett. He gave what purported to be a hearsay report of the murder similar to that given by Bennett but at the end of Romeo’s statement he said: “I saw somebody get the number of my registration plate as we were leaving the scene.”
On March 19th, The Boston SAC sent an airtel to Hoover:
“Informants report that Ronald Cassesso, Romeo Martin, Jimmy Flemmi and Joseph Barboza, prominent local hoodlums, were responsible for the killing of Edward Teddy Deegan. They accomplished this by having Roy French, another Boston hoodlum, set Deegan up. French apparently walked in behind Deegan when they were gaining entrance to the building and fired the first shot hitting Deegan in the back of the head. Cassesso and Martin immediately thereafter shot Deegan from the front. Anthony Stathopoulos was also in on the burglary but had remained outside in the car. When Flemmi and Barboza walked over to Stathopoulos’s car, Stathopoulos thought it was the law and took off. Flemmi and Barboza were going to kill Stathopoulos also. Efforts are now being made by the Chelsea PD to force Stathopoulos to furnish them the necessary information to prosecute the persons responsible. It should be noted that this information was furnished to the Chelsea PD, and it has been established by the Chelsea Police that Roy French, Barboza, Flemmi, Cassesso and Martin were all together at the Ebb Tide night club in Revere, and they all left at approximately 9 o’clock and returned 45 minutes later. It should be noted that the killing took place at approximately 9:30 pm on Friday, March 12th. Informant also advised that Patriarca had given the ‘ok’ to Joe Barboza and Jimmy Flemmi to kill Joseph Francione who was killed approximately one month ago.”
I want to point out that in none of the initial reports were Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, Henry Tameleo, or Louis Greco’s names ever mentioned. In fact they wouldn’t be named as suspects for another two years.
Before we continue on, let’s talk a bit about another one of the suspects. Ronnie Cassesso who was born on December 22, 1931 in Boston to Angelina Del Vecchio and Michael Cassesso. Ronnie was Ralph “Ralphie Chong” Lamattina’s driver. Patriarca thought highly of Ronnie. But Jerry Angiulo was not so enthusiastic, and was overheard on the wiretaps on multiple occasions complaining about Ronnie. In typical Jerry fashion, he once told Raymond some story about an ongoing feud between Joe Anselmo and Ralphie. Somehow he lumped Ronnie into the story even though Ronnie really had nothing to do with it.
But in late September 1964, the wiretap picked up Raymond Patriarca complaining that Joe Barboza was attempting to cause unnecessary trouble for Ronnie. Raymond noted that he thought that Ronnie was a “pretty good kid”. [35.5]
In December of 1964, Romeo Martin and Cassesso robbed a Newton jeweler of a diamond valued at $60,000. Henry Tameleo became involved in the aftermath as did Mike Rocco. The jeweler was willing to buy back the diamond for $30,000. Rocco had contacted the jeweler and told him to tell his wife to keep quiet about Romeo Martin who was being held on a $25,000 bail. Cassesso was being sought by the police.
Raymond wasn’t exactly happy about the fact that Ronnie was running around with Romeo Martin either. He believed that Martin wasn’t too smart, but he thought a lot of Cassesso. [35.18-19]
As we mentioned in the previous episode, Ronnie made the entree for Wimpy and Jimmy to visit Raymond on January 4, 1965. At that meeting Raymond told Ronnie that he was interested in him and that he would stand firmly behind him since he never asked for anything, and Raymond thought he was “holding his own pretty good”. [35.27]
It’s my opinion that Cassesso was targeted by the Feds because of Raymond’s personal interest in him and his future in the mafia. Having read Raymond’s comments, I think he saw himself in Ronnie and had some fantasy of making Ronnie his eventual replacement. Obviously the Feds couldn’t let that happen.
Let’s get back to the timeline.
In April of 1965, Barboza was finally listed as one of the shooters by the FBI.
A Boston Field Office Special Agent whose name was redacted advised the Boston SAC, on April 4 that on March 23rd a PCI [Potential Confidential Informant] reported that Joe Barboza was very friendly with Romeo Martin, Ronnie Cassesso and redacted, who we know was Jimmy Flemmi. His name of course was redacted because of his status as a top echelon informant. The PCI said that Barboza was supposed ‘to have hit’ Francione and Carlton Eaton. He stated that Barboza reportedly killed Eaton with a .357 Magnum handgun. The PCI also told the agent that Barboza was in prison with Benjamin who was murdered after he left prison and was beheaded.
Nina and I are both of the opinion that Jimmy killed Benjamin. Jimmy was also previously in prison with Benjamin. Like many of the other hits there were multiple versions of the stories and suspects including those copping to the hits than you could shake a stick at.
Jerry Angiulo went to Raymond’s on April 8th and told Raymond that Spike O’Toole had recently contacted him. According to Spike, Wimpy Bennett and Jimmy Flemmi were both ‘stool pigeons’ for Detective Billy Stuart. In addition, Spike had told Jerry that Johnny and Jimmy Martorano paid Jimmy Flemmi $1500 to dispose of Margaret Sylvester’s body back in October 1964. Special Agent Murphy who was monitoring the wiretap noted on the transcripts that Jimmy Flemmi had cut her body into pieces. If you listened to episode 27, you might recall that the Martorano brothers killed Margaret, who was a waitress at their father’s after hours club, because she was having an affair with their father. Jimmy Flemmi did not remove the body as promised, but instead left and called Detective Billy Stuart. When the cops showed up at the lounge with a search warrant, they found her blood, and then later her hacked up body.
Spike O’Toole also told Jerry that Jimmy and Stuart had been to New York in December of 1964 to testify in front of a Grand Jury. Two local men were charged with possession and production of counterfeit American Express travelers checks which they passed in New York. Jimmy had inside info on the counterfeiting ring and an ax to grind against the men since one of his partners in crime was the unlucky recipient of some of the bogus travelers checks. John McCambridge who at the time had jumped bail on a shooting was in possession of $200,000 worth of the checks which he was going to use to go on the lam. McCambridge had dumped them before he was arrested. Like his buddies, Jimmy and Stevie Flemmi, McCambridge had a history of violence including the 1959 stabbing of a taxi driver on Christmas Eve in Roxbury. It was believed that Stevie Flemmi was with McCambridge when he stabbed the taxi driver.
Birds of a feather…
Spike apparently also told Jerry that he had plans to kill Wimpy and Walter Bennett. Instead of telling Spike that he couldn’t kill the Bennett brothers, Jerry almost immediately called up Jimmy Flemmi. After swearing Jimmy to secrecy, Jerry told him the details of Spike’s planned hit on the Bennetts, including the date.
At 12:30 in the morning on April 3, Jimmy came rushing into Jerry’s, demanding to see him. When Jerry appeared, Jimmy blurted out that Spike and Francis Xavier Murray had tried to kill “Wimpy” at his house, but missed. He added that “Wimpy” was very thankful to Jerry for warning him of the possible “hit.”
Jerry became incensed that Jimmy did not maintain his confidence and had told “Wimpy” of the possible hit. The more Jimmy attempted to defend himself “the deeper he got with Jerry.” Jimmy finally admitted that he was very friendly with Billy Stuart.
Jerry also told Patriarca that when Wimpy was shot he called Billy Stuart and was unable to immediately get in touch with him. But he left his name and number with the police and requested that Stuart contact him as soon as possible.
Jerry really was a menace! The source of his own misery. And why would he tell Jimmy about Spike's plan? Hoping they’d wipe each other out?
I’d like to give him credit for trying to manipulate the situation, but I suspect he just wanted to gossip!
Even after all of this, Patriarca continued to meet with Jimmy. On May 3, Raymond was picked up on the wiretap questioning Jimmy about his relationship with Billy Stuart. Jimmy dodged the question and Raymond dropped the subject.
Later that same evening, Jimmy was shot at again. This time while walking out his front door on Adams Street in Dorchester to meet Joe Barboza. He did a complete somersault, and when his assailants closed in for the kill shot, he started firing back, emptying his own .38 caliber revolver.
Just two days later, Barboza and Cassesso were back at Raymond’s office requesting permission to kill Sammy Linden. They included Jimmy, who was laid up in the hospital, in their sales pitch. Their justification for wanting to kill Linden was that he was financing the McLaughlin brothers and their crew. As we’ve mentioned in several episodes, Barboza and Jimmy were aligned with Buddy McLean. Wimpy Bennett was originally with the McLaughlins but had switched sides a couple of years previously. Although according to Wimpy’s statements to Jerry Angiulo, he didn’t know what side to choose.
It wasn’t a question of loyalty that was weighing on Wimpy’s mind, but rather who would come out on top. Wimpy wanted to be on the winning side.
To be fair to Wimpy, Raymond was playing the same game.
Raymond didn’t give Barboza and company a definitive answer about whacking Linden. But Linden went straight to Joe Lombardo when he heard that Barboza was gunning for him. Lombardo put a stop to it, at least for the immediate future. But it didn’t end there. Lombardo made it known to Raymond that he was pissed off that Barboza and Cassesso were wrapped up with the Flemmi brothers. And that the word was out on the street that Barboza was with Flemmi when Teddy Deegan was killed. And that brings us to the next person on Barboza’s wish hit list, Spike O’Toole.
Barboza made a solo trip to the Coin-O-Matic on May 18, 1965. He was there to ask for Raymond’s permission to burn down Spike O’Toole’s home in order to kill him. Again his reasoning was that Spike was an ally of the McLaughlins. Barboza had been unable to catch Spike off guard, and felt if he started a fire at his home he would either perish in the fire or be forced out onto the street where Barboza would be able to get a shot at Spike.
Remember that Spike had been in a long-term relationship with Dottie Barchard, and had two children with her. Dottie was also carrying on with both Joe Barboza and their attorney John Fitzgerald. So Barboza’s real motive was likely more about the love triangle than the McLaughlin feud. Barboza told Raymond that he planned to pour gasoline in the basement of the house and set it on fire, and he would have two or three individuals there with rifles to kill Spike as he emerged from the house. But Spike’s sick mother also lived in the triple decker, and Raymond wanted no part of that. He would not give Barboza his blessing.
But, true to form, Barboza ignored Raymond’s instructions and less than two weeks later, the police received a phone call at about two in the morning. There were two men in a car outside of Spike’s Dorchester home. 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 stayed put, calling the police instead. The two men who were parked outside fled, but the police caught one of them and arrested him for unlawful possession of a firearm. One perpetrator was fined $200 and the other received a year in the House of Correction. As for Spike he went on the lam hiding out on the Cape from both his would be assassins and the authorities.
In an FBI report from mid-July, Dottie Barchard told her FBI handler that she had met with Spike in the middle of June at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Bar. Which I’m still trying to imagine.
Hey, dad was hanging in there too. But he preferred the Cafe.
I can’t! Wiseguys at the Ritz!
Spike told her that Raymond had sent someone from Providence to meet with him and Punchy. Raymond’s messenger told them to stop the killings because they were bringing too much heat on everyone.
I’m not really sure how they were supposed to do that since they weren’t the ones killing people. Raymond was the one meeting with serial killers. But Spike and Punchy told Raymond’s messenger that it was too late now because things had gone too far.
Dottie also informed her handler that Spike told her that the men who had tried to kill him worked for Wimpy and the Flemmis, and that they had put on obscene shows in the Old Dudley Lounge which was owned by the Flemmi brothers.
Not an image I need in my head! They were all demented!
On June 8, 1965, Rico paid Jimmy a visit at the hospital and told him that he could only provide information to the FBI and only receive payment from them. Obviously, the comments on the wiretap about Jimmy talking to Billy Stuart ruffled some feathers. Jimmy told Rico, “I am willing to aid the Bureau, as I can help put away the individuals who attempted to kill me.”
The following day another memorandum was sent from the Boston SAC to Hoover. Jimmy’s emotional stability was called into question. The memorandum continued on to say that although from all indications Jimmy will continue to commit murder, the agent, H. Paul Rico, believes that the informant’s potential outweighs the risk involved.
They left a serial killer loose on the streets!
Multiple ones! Absolutely sickening!
On July 9th, Romeo Martin was shot and killed, allegedly by Joe Barboza. Let’s give some background on Romeo. I know we spoke briefly about Romeo’s criminal history in the last episode, but we can give a little personal info here.
Joseph Alfred Romeo Martin was born on November 24, 1923 to Mary Boucher and Joseph Arthur Romeo Martin in Peabody, MA. The family moved to Roxbury shortly after Romeo was born. That explains how he fell in with the Flemmi brothers.
Romeo’s criminal career dated back to the time he was 16. He spent more time in prison than out of it. By 1942, Romeo was living on Bullfinch Street in the West End. He was arrested in January that year for a series of housebreaks that had taken place in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, and the Back Bay in the autumn of ‘41. I believe that 11 year old Teddy Deegan was one of his unnamed accomplices. Romeo was anxious to get back to the Concord Reformatory to make the basketball team.
In 1964 Joe Aneselmo questioned Sammy Granito about Romeo Martin and asked if he had any objections to Romeo being proposed to be made. Sammy said he did not. Patriarca was heated because Joe Anselmo didn’t propose Romeo properly along with Ronnie Cassesso. Romeo had told Anselmo that he was friendly with Raymond when they were in the can together. Raymond said they may have been locked up together, but he did hang with him. According to Raymond, Romeo was tight with Johnny Williams when they were away and also Vincent Geagan and Sandy Richardson, two of the men convicted in the 1950 Brinks heist.
What are you saying? Romeo Martin wasn’t even Italian! He was English and French!
Hey, it was another Denny Raimondi situation. Either the first or last name ended in a vowel, so no need to check. And who knows what story Romeo told. Maybe he said his real last name was Martino. I doubt he told him his father worked at a country club!
Maybe that’s why he went golfing on the day he died.
Maybe! Anyhow, back to the timeline again.
According to Mafia Encyclopedia Extraordinaire Vinnie Teresa, he was one of the last people to see Romeo alive. Vinnie went golfing with Romeo Martin and Richie Castucci, who ran the Ebb Tide. We will be covering Richie in season two. Afterwards Vinnie invited Romeo to the Ebb Tide for dinner. While they were having dinner Romeo told Vinnie that he was having trouble with Barboza. Barboza had accused Romeo of shaking down a club owner for more money than he was supposed to and held out on Barboza which resulted in him threatening to kill Romeo.
Romeo had recently been married and was planning on leaving for Florida with his new bride the following day. But when he left the Ebb Tide, Barboza and Cassesso were waiting for him. They grabbed him, took him someplace, and pumped five slugs into his chest before dumping his body.
The cops found him after a call from a neighbor who had heard Romeo’s car crash at about 3 in the morning, less than a quarter mile from his Revere home. He had fallen sideways in the front seat of his red convertible. The motor was still running, the turn signal was blinking, the windshield wipers were on.
When word of Romeo’s murder reached Henry Tameleo, he screamed at Vinnie and told him to get Barboza and put a stop to the killings. Vinnie told Tameleo, “Christ, Henry, they were supposed to be friends. Who knew this animal was going to kill him?”
They were all afraid of them! Think about that! And not one of them lifted a finger to do anything to stop them. Not Joe Lombardo, not Don Pepino, not Raymond, not Jerry. Not one of them.
I’d also just like to say here that I do not believe that Romeo Martin shot Teddy. They’d been running on the streets together since they were kids. Nearly 25 years.
I agree with you. Barboza most likely concocted the story about Romeo ripping him off and played out the farce with him. It was a cover for the real reason that Barboza had to kill Romeo which was likely his fear that he'd tell the truth that Barboza, Flemmi and Cassesso killed Teddy.
That seems far more likely.
Now the reason for the next event is still a mystery. The wiretaps at the Coin-O-Matic and at Jerry Angiulo’s headquarters in Jay’s Lounge were allegedly turned off just a few days after Romeo was murdered.
Let’s give a brief history of Henry Tameleo before we move on. Enrico “Henry” Tameleo was born on July 12, 1901 to Saverio and Marie in Providence, RI. Both of his parents were from Marzano, Appio, Campania. He was one of 6 children. He married Giovannina “Jeanette” Borrelli, whose parents were also from Marzano, on October 21, 1919. In his 1941 draft card Henry was described as 5’9”, 190 pounds, bald with brown eyes. A longtime friend of Raymond’s, Henry served as his underboss. He often acted as a mediator settling beefs between the guys, earning the nickname “The Referee”.
Henry’s early record revolved around motor vehicle violations, but unlike some of his compatriots, he seemed to have left that all behind in the late 1930s. The most serious offense I could find was in 1930 for assisting in a jail break. Until ‘59 he appeared to stay out of trouble or at least from getting caught. That October, he and several others were served with restraining orders banning them from the Lincoln Downs Race Track. The ban became permanent in June of ‘60. In 1966 he was back in the press because he was rumored to be a shareholder in Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Then in May of 1967 some content of the wiretap at Raymond’s were made public because of Louis “The Fox” Taglianetti’s IRS case. Tameleo’s position as Raymond’s Consigliere became public. And thanks to Barboza, he found himself indicted along with Raymond and Ronnie Cassesso for the murder of Willie Marfeo which we will be covering in a future episode.
Lara, I’ll let you get back to the timeline.
September of 1965 brought about some changes for Barboza and Jimmy. On September 10th Barboza was arrested for pistol whipping a policeman in the Ebb Tide, and five days later Jimmy was closed out as an informant. Not because he had attempted to murder another man, John Cutliffe, but because he failed to appear in court and was on the lam. A memo written by SA Rico was sent from the Boston SAC to Hoover:
“In view of the fact that the informant, Jimmy Flemmi, is presently a local fugitive, any contacts with him might prove to be difficult and embarrassing. In view of the above, this case is being closed.”
What an absolute joke. But the Feds weren’t short of informants. They traded Jimmy Flemmi for Stevie Flemmi.
It was an upgrade!
The investigation into Teddy’s murder seemed to sputter to a stop for several months. Jimmy was finally arrested on November 19, 1965. And Barboza was in and out of jail throughout that same period. We’ve covered both their stories in their respective episodes, so we’ll spare you the rehash here.
On January 14, 1966 the US Attorney’s Office in Boston received a report entitled “Boston Gangland Murders; Criminal Intelligence Program” that was prepared by SA John Kehoe. It covered the investigative period between November 15, 1965, and January 11, 1966.
The section dedicated to Teddy’s murder was mostly a copy-paste job from previous FBI reports. The only real change is that they substituted Fitzgerald for Farese as the attorney who Tony Stats went running to. To be fair, they were partners, but Fitzgerald had been busy with Roy French at the time.
Kehoe’s report concluded: “The above information was furnished to the Police Department. However, as yet, they have not obtained sufficient evidence to warrant production against any of the above individuals.”
Two days later, Barboza was sentenced to six months in the House of Correction for disturbing the peace.
Tony Stats was given 2 and a half years in the House of Correction that same month. He’d pleaded guilty to the January 1965 charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. He and Teddy had both been picked up at that time and were out on bail when Teddy was murdered. Stats asked not to be sent to Walpole because he feared what would happen to him there. The prosecutor agreed, saying that Stats’ fear was “definitely genuine and not feigned.”
Jimmy Flemmi was deemed incompetent by the court just a few days later.
Barboza’s arrest in early October 1966 would change the direction of the investigation. He was arrested in downtown Boston with Nicky Femia, Patrick Fabiano and Arthur “Tash” Bratsos. Inside the car, the cops found 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.
District Attorney 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 in July. Fitzgerald and Farese argued that their clients’ bail should be reduced. Farese said that Barboza was employed by an insurance company and a cafe in Nantasket, and that he needed to get back to work.
Barboza was desperate to get bailed out, so he decided to send Tash Bratsos and Tommy dePrisco out to collect the money that he felt was owed to him. More like a shakedown though. Things didn’t go quite as planned. Both men were shot twice in the head. 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. If you want to hear more about that, listen to episode 24.
Things would only get worse for Barboza. On December 8th, his friend Chico Amico was killed. 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 Teresa’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.
On January 25, 1967, Barboza, Femia and Fabiano were found guilty of possession of weapons and sentenced to prison. Barboza received a 4-5 year sentence for having a gun in an automobile, and 4-5 years for a similar charge involving a knife. The sentences were to run concurrently.
FBI SAs Rico and Condon approached Barboza in prison 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, who had recently been made a Top Echelon Informant.
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. At 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 lie that he told the Feds was 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.”
In May, Barboza was brought in front of a grand jury to testify in the Willie Marfeo murder case. But he wasn’t the only one. Rico and Condon met with Ronnie Cassesso at the U.S. Attorney’s Office prior to his appearance before a federal grand jury:
“Cassesso was told that if he would cooperate in the investigation of organized crime, and, if he was of material help, his assistance would be brought to the attention of local authorities and his degree of cooperation would also be made known to the Parole Board. Cassesso said that he had nothing to worry about and did not plan to furnish any information before a Grand Jury.”
Later Cassesso was offered a reduced sentence to corroborate Barboza’s false testimony, and he flat out refused saying he would not lie about who was responsible for Teddy’s murder.
It wasn’t just Teddy’s case that Barboza was testifying about. He was also giving testimony about Willie Marfeo’s murder.
In August, an informant learned that Larry Baione and Peter Limone received information that Joe Barboza was going to testify in front of a Suffolk County Grand Jury about the murder of Teddy Deegan.
Next the Feds needed to convince Anthony Stathopoulos to testify. 9 attempts had been made on Tony Stats’ life by September of ‘67 . Three of those attempts had been made while he was in jail. “Cyanide was put in my sandwich... There was enough to kill 100 horses. They put lye in my coffee. I had my stomach pumped out.”
There were also drive-by shootings after he’d been released. He finally went to ground, hiding out in the backwoods of Maine. But the assassins found him there too. “They even came into the rooming house. They wore wigs and were disguised as women. But I spotted them.” This final attempt convinced him to turn himself into protective custody. In desperation, Stats made a long-distance phone call to Officer Tommy Robson who was with Suffolk County DA Garrett Byrne’s office.
Stats told Boston Globe journalist Ronald Wysocki: “I tried to do everything so they’d get the message that I wasn’t going to talk. When I got out of jail in April, I went to some big people and tried to straighten things out. I thought I had and then I saw them making moves again. What do you do when you find out your friends have the contract to kill you?”
The same playbook from Specky O’Keefe, pressuring the guy until he agrees to do and say exactly what you want.
The FBI transported Stathopoulos to the Barnstable County Jail where Barboza was being held in protective custody. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Barboza’s upcoming Grand Jury testimony. Stathopoulos asked Barboza about Jimmy Flemmi during the meeting.
Later Stathopoulos said:
“Before I’d go before the Grand Jury I wanted to see Joe Barboza. He was the only one who could answer some questions. They brought me to see him and he answered the questions. Barboza’s thinking about his wife and kid, the same way that I’m thinking about mine. No matter how bad a guy is, he’ll always revert to caring about the important things. It’s too bad that it's always too late when you start thinking about your wife and family. It doesn’t pay to be a wiseguy!”
During Stathopoulos' Grand Jury testimony he quoted Teddy’s last words, “They’ll never get me here (tapping his forehead). They’ll have to get me here (tapping the back of his head).”
Two detectives of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office went to interview Barboza at the Barnstable County Jail in September in preparation for his Grand Jury appearance. SAs Rico and Condon were also in attendance to coach him. A six-page report was submitted after the interview. Barboza said he returned from Florida the first week of March 1965. He gave yet another reason for them wanting Deegan out of the way. This time it involved Barboza’s own attorney who had also been Teddy’s, John Fitzgerald. Barboza claimed that Fitzgerald went to a gas station with Teddy and borrowed $1000 from Peter Limone to give to Georgie McLaughlin. According to Barboza’s tale, Limone felt that Georgie was shaking him down and became enraged. Of course, he had to get Fitzgerald, his rival for Dorothy Barchard’s affections, in there.
How could they even think about putting him on the stand? His story changed every time he opened his mouth. But I guess they didn’t care since they had the judge in their pocket too.
Barboza probably didn’t concoct the stories. Rico probably did just as in Jack Kelley’s case.
Well… we’re building up to that story. Not to give away the punch line or anything. But as we’ve said before it’s also so reminiscent of the Brinks case and what these people did to Specky O’Keefe. The only difference is that Specky wasn’t a serial killer. If you haven’t listened to our episode on the Brinks case, we’ve linked to it in the shownotes.
Back to Barboza. On September 18, 1967 he was taken into custody by the US Marshals. The following day he was transferred to Thatcher Island in Gloucester, MA. And he began calling Dennis Condon at his home number expressing his nervousness about testifying!
What a jerk! Trying to victimize himself. I can’t feel sorry for Denny Condon, though. But soon Barboza would get to perform his scripted melodrama.
On October 25, 1967, Barboza made his appearance in front of the Grand Jury.
Barboza testified that they used Romeo Martin’s maroon Oldsmobile convertible as a getaway car the night of Teddy’s murder. Ronnie Cassesso bent back the rear license plate on the car so only the numbers “404” were showing. Barboza said no promises were made to him in exchange for his testimony. He also stated that Peter Limone offered him a total of $10,000 for killing both Deegan and Tony Stats. His testimony implicated Henry Tameleo by saying he approved of the killing beforehand. Barboza claimed he left the scene before the murder and got the details later in a meeting in a back room at the Ebb Tide. Then Barboza hung Roy French, Romeo Martin and Louis Greco out to dry claiming that French said he shot Deegan first in the head with a .38, and Romeo told him he shot Deegan in the chest and Greco said to Barboza that he shot Deegan with a .45 in the stomach.
Remember that an FBI 302 dated March 25, 1965 stated that Barboza shot Teddy in the stomach with a .45, but he was allowed to perjure himself as usual. Barboza continued that Peter Limone gave him the money he promised him for killing Teddy. Conveniently, Barboza left out of his testimony that Jimmy Flemmi was also present that evening even though he had given a statement to Condon and Rico that Jimmy was present. To top it off he placed Joseph Salvati at the scene of the crime.
Since we gave a brief background on Peter Limone in the last episode, we won’t rehash that, but let’s talk about Louis Greco and Joe Salvati a bit.
Louis Grieco was born on February 4, 1917 in Revere, Massachusetts to Elizabeth D’Assandro and Carmine Grieco. He had a small criminal record including a conviction for B&E in October of 1935 and a Conviction for armed robbery in October of 1937 for which he was sentenced to seven to ten years in State Prison.
Louis was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service in the South Pacific in WW2. He was shot in the leg and walked with a limp. Upon his return to Revere, Louis fell in with his old crowd. In July 1948, Louis was arraigned on a conspiracy charge along with Anthony Cataldo and Alfred DeAngelis. The authorities alleged that the men were trying to extort money from the Bayside Club in Revere. Louis’ attorney in that case was Al Farese, and the following month, Louis and his accomplices were freed.
In May 1959, Louis was arrested in connection with the Philip “Goldie” Goldstein murder. We’ve covered the murder in the episode about Pro Lerner since Pro later allegedly planned to rob Goldstein’s son. Louis was held as a material witness because Goldstein’s body was found near Louis’ recently purchased farm in New Hampshire. But they had to release him after 72 hours. He wouldn’t be arrested again until 1968.
Joseph Salvati was born on October 30, 1932 in Boston to Anthony and Mary Salvati. Salvati’s record was limited to one arrest for a B&E back in 1954. He worked odd jobs around the North End including as a watchman at the Coliseum. Teddy Deegan was a complete stranger to him, and his only interaction with Barboza was a $400 loan that Salvati had taken from another loan shark. That loan shark sold the note to Barboza. When Barboza demanded payment in full, Salvati couldn’t come up with the money. So Barboza sent a couple of guys to rough him up, but instead Salvati ripped the baseball bat out of one of the guy’s hands. Salvati believed that was the reason Barboza framed him for the murder of a man he never even met.
I have a different theory about why Salvati was targeted and placed at the scene of the crime. It stems from a murder that took place in October 1961. Fiore deChristoforo was shot three times in the back at 5:15 in the morning outside the Coliseum Restaurant in the North End. He survived for another two weeks before succumbing to his wounds. He claimed that he did not know who had shot him. A witness told the cops that deChristoforo had been inside the restaurant and was shot by two men who were waiting for him. Salvati, the night watchman at the Coliseum, was the second witness to the shooting. It was the third in a string of shootings that autumn and the cops believed it stemmed from a loan sharking operation. Of course, the deChristoforo murder was another one that was never solved.
I agree with you. Barboza was on the street at the time, and he more than likely was the shooter. Better not to leave loose ends, and who was going to believe a man indicted for muder himself.
Henry Tameleo, Roy French and Joseph Salvati were arrested a few hours after the indictments were returned. Peter Limone surrendered to the authorities on November 1st, and Louis Greco was arrested in Miami in January of 1968. Ronnie Cassesso was already serving time for the diamond theft. The trial began on May 27, 1968.
Next week we will be covering the trial and the three decades long aftermath. We hope you join us again! Please share an episode and leave a review wherever you listen!
Nina & Lara: