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Nov. 29, 2021

On the Waterfront - The Boston Version


We are taking a deep dive into the origins of the McLean McLaughlin Gangland War of the 1960s. A war for territory marked by boxing matches, attempted car bombings, and the murder of more than 60 men. The Boston FBI Office also chose sides in the conflict, which led to Richie becoming a Confidential Informant for SA H Paul Rico in 1961.

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Thank you for listening!

All the best,

Lara & Nina

Transcript

Lara:

Hi all! Today Nina and I are going to be delving into the McLean/McLaughlin gangland war. If you listened to episode 10, you might recall that dad becomes a confidential informant for the FBI because he was caught running weapons for the McLaughlin brothers at the onset of the war. This would be the beginning of a 40 year, let’s say, career for him. The drunken brawl that happened that Labor Day weekend of 1961 would lead to over 60 men being murdered, some of whom have never been found and countless lives ruined. A gangland war that lasted a decade that not only involved the direct members, but most if not all of the organized crime figures in the Boston area and multiple agents of the Boston FBI office. Today we will focus on the key gang members, a bit about their backgrounds, and the beginning of the war into 1962. 



Nina:

 

We will also talk a little bit about the rivalries that existed before the gang war broke out. As we mentioned in episode 11, there was a 30 year gap between the Gustin Gang slayings and the McLean/McLaughlin war, but things were slowly leading to a catastrophe.



Lara:

 

Let's start with a little geography lesson, so that those who aren’t familiar with the Boston area can get an idea as to where these groups were located. Boston Proper is separated from Somerville and Charlestown by the Charles River. They are located north of the city. Somerville is to the west of Charlestown. Buddy McLean was the leader of the Winter Hill gang which was based out of Winter Hill in Somerville. Bernie, Georgie and Edward “Punchy” McLaughlin were based out of Charlestown.



Nina:

 

Charlestown is the oldest neighborhood in the Boston area. It was founded in 1628 and settled in 1629. I’m sure most of our listeners have heard of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Bunker Hill Monument, an obelisk, erected to commemorate the Revolutionary War, is an iconic part of American history. 

 

Somerville was settled in 1630 and was originally part of Charlestown. It was the site of one of the first incidents of the Revolution when the gunpowder stored by the British soldiers there was stolen. It was one of the turning points leading up to the Revolutionary War.       



Lara:

 

The bellicose history of the area seems to be the perfect setting for another battle over 200 years later.  In the three decades from the time of the Gustin gang killing in 1931 to the incident at the Labor Day weekend party in Salisbury Beach in 1961, there was no shortage of violence between criminal factions. But most of the hits were focused around gambling and the territory where the gambling took place. The gang war between the McLeans and McLaughlins was something entirely different. Let’s discuss Buddy McLean first. Nina, what do you have for us?



Nina:

 

James Joseph “Buddy” Mclean was born on January 26, 1930 to William J. and Dorothy McLean. Dorothy was 14 years younger than her husband, and she abandoned them both. William left Buddy to live with a neighbor, Mary Raposa, along with 2 other foster children and Mary’s 2 grown children. Buddy’s father was a longshoreman. Supposedly, he would bring money to Mary once a week and spend a few minutes with Buddy.



Lara:

 

Buddy was the crossing guard at his elementary school, and a defender of kids that were being bullied. At that young age, he already had a reputation as a brawler. By the age of 13 he was on the docks in Charlestown working for the Teamsters Union Local 25. Howie Winter was working the docks at the same time with him. While others drifted away, Buddy strived to be the best longshoreman on the docks.



Nina:

 

By his late teens Buddy had earned a reputation as a street fighter, but was always viewed as polite by anyone who knew him. His training regime was legendary, running up to 10 miles a day and working out in the boxing gym daily. Those workouts often drew spectators including cops and young women. With his dirty blond hair, blue eyes, tan and washboard abs, he was said to be a celebrity of sorts in Somerville and on the docks. He said he trained so hard because had to be ready for a fight at any moment. There’s a story of how he beat 4 sailors to a pulp in 1949 when he was just 19.



Lara:

 

Mary, his foster mother, made sure he attended church regularly. His popularity in his Winter Hill neighborhood was also due to his generosity. He handed out food at the holidays, gifts for the kids at Christmas and bought them ice cream in the summer. In May of 1950 he married Jean Kelley. They had a total of 4 children. Shortly after his wedding, his mother reappeared looking for money. He sent her on her way with a couple of hundred dollars telling her she wasn’t his mother any longer. Mary was who he considered his mom. Mary passed away the same year. 



Nina:

 

But Buddy was far from an angel. In April of ‘48 he peddled stolen cigars for the first time. Pilfering became a regular affair. By late ‘48 he and Tommy Ballou were hijacking whole truck loads of liquor. Regular listeners will recall that Tommy Ballou was close to Tommy Callahan. Buddy’s good relations with the cops in his neighborhood led to most of them looking the other way. His barroom and street fighting was a regular attraction in the area. Cops, firemen and families all gathering around to watch Buddy, the boy with the Irish temper, beat all of his challengers.



Lara:

 

The hijackings continued. Everything from coffee beans to booze. Buddy’s best friend, Joe McDonald, was in trouble by the summer of 1957 and decided to go on the lam to Florida. He approached Buddy and asked him to take over his numbers and loan sharking racket. With this the Winter Hill Gang was born. In a few months Buddy had tripled Joe’s existing gambling stations. Everyone wanted to work with Buddy. But with that success came the shakedowns. The Hughes brothers came looking for their cut for the McLaughlins, and then there was the pesky problem of having to kick up to the Angiulos.



Nina:

 

By the beginning of ‘58 Buddy’s lucky streak looked like it was coming to an end. Tensions were rising and Buddy had to have a sit down with the Angiulos. Buddy wanted Somerville for himself. Jerry Angiulo wasn’t going to agree to that. Buddy and Jerry eventually reached an agreement.  One that did not include the McLaughlin Brothers. 

 

That same month Buddy and 4 other men were arrested for stealing a truck filled with $37,500 worth of alcohol. Before the trial even began, one of the defendants pleaded out. Later that year a mistrial was declared. In December 1958 while still out on bail, Buddy assaulted a police officer who tried to arrest him for drunk driving. Buddy once again made bail. Finally on September 23, 1959, he was sentenced to 4 years in a Federal penitentiary, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending an appeal. A third trial started in March of ‘62, and he was acquitted by the end of the month.



Lara:

 

Ok, so answer this question for me, how is it that not one of the charges against Buddy prior to the fall of ‘61 ever stuck? 



Nina:

 

I was asking myself the same question. We know he had a CI number, and Rico was his handler. The only question is when was he made a CI? He was arrested 17 times in 1961 alone, so it must have been before that.



Lara:

 

In 1960 one of Jerry Angiulo’s guys approached him and said he heard that Buddy was an informant for the FBI. Jerry’s response was, “whoever said that is a fuckin’ idiot!” 



Nina:

 

That was always Jerry’s response! Remember the wiretap at Raymond’s? Always insisting it was an out of towner who was ratting.



Lara:

 

Every time he went to Providence it was the same story.

 

Jerry was curious why Buddy would be helping the Feds, so he questioned his man. The response was that the Feds hated the Mclaughlins as much as Buddy and both wanted to wipe them out any way they could. Jerry’s man asked if he should let the McLaughlins know. Jerry’s response was, “fuck no! I fuckin’ hate those assholes. They’ve been grabbing up sections of Boston, and they’re always looking for more!”





Nina:

 

No wonder Richie got picked up by Rico. I think Buddy may have been a CI as early as ‘57. Maybe Buddy was the one who was feeding info to the Feds about Joe McDonald. Getting rid of Joe made Buddy the boss. I know they were said to be the best of friends and Buddy considered him his mentor, but it was certainly possible.



Lara: 

 

We’ll get to some of those theories a little later in the season. Now for the McLaughlin brothers. Let's start with the oldest: Edward “Punchy” was born on May 16, 1917. Next there was Bernard born December 30, 1921 and George was born in 1927. Their parents were John and Anna McLaughlin both born in Ireland. The McLaughlins traced their Irish ancestry to County Donegal, the so-called bandit country in the far north of Ireland. No one held a grudge quite like the Donegal Irish; they were tough, fearless and refused to back down. There were 9 kids in total, 5 boys and 4 girls all living at home in the 1940 census. Oh and no shortage of boxers in the bunch either!



Nina:

 

Anna McLaughlin died in June 1941. Two years later, one of the McLaughlin boys, John, died in a car accident on his way home from Baltimore to celebrate Fathers Day with his family. He was just 23 years old. Then in January 1945, the oldest McLaughlin boy, Charles, died while serving in World War 2 in the Philippines.



Lara:

 

So many tragedies in one family. Punchy being the oldest had a longer record than Bernie and Georgie. The first incident I came up with for him was in 1938. He was a passenger in a car that crashed. The driver was drunk and was the only one charged in the incident.



Nina:

 

The following year Punchy was arrested for unarmed robbery, mugging a man for $50. 6 feet tall, roughly 250 pounds, he was a Merchant Marine during the War. He became a longshoreman, but he was also a debt collector and a well-known boxer. They said when he shook someone’s hand he could crush every bone. Shrewd and a pathological liar, Punchy boosted anything he could. Like Wimpy Bennett he had a reputation for being a klepto. Most of his crimes were petty theft: shoplifting, stealing TVs and that sort of thing. He didn’t steal out of need, strictly out of compulsion. In December ‘58, after he got picked up for stealing a TV, he gave the police an address of Hot Springs, Arkansas.



Lara:

 

The cops must have loved that Punchy put down Hot Springs, like no one knew who he was!. That stunt cost Punchy $500 in the form of a fine, plus no tv set. Bernie on the other hand had a rougher start to his criminal days with a record starting in 1946 for theft. And a worse reputation than Punchy. Described as one of the most feared men in the city, he carried a lead window sash weight wrapped in a newspaper that he used to extract payments. While shaking someone’s hand he would break their arm with the lead weight. Buddy was known for beating 4 sailors, but Bernie beat 5 sailors senseless for hurting a kid. Like Buddy Mclean, Bernie was known to behave like a gentleman most of the time, particularly in the presence of women. There’s a story that Mickey Mantle was once in the Stork Club in Charlestown. The waitress came to the table and asked what he wanted. Mickey replied with let’s just say an explicit request. Bernie overheard the remark and popped Mickey straight in the jaw.



Nina:

 

At least one normal one in the bunch. But on August 21 of 1948 he was shot in the stomach by a police officer in South Boston as he was beating and attempting to rob a city councilman and tavern owner, John V. Wenzler. Stevie Hughes was arrested later that week as Bernie’s accomplice in the beating and robbery. Stevie and his brother Cornelius would become loyal partners of the McLaughlin brothers. Both Bernie and Stevie were held on $5000 bail. On October 6, 1949 Bernie was acquitted. It’s unclear what happened to Stevie Hughes in that case, but he was dealing with three other cases at that time ranging from weapons charges, theft, and operating a vehicle without a license. Bernie continued on his path of crime with two arrests for bookmaking in the mid 1950s. In 1957 he was questioned for the murder of a longshoreman named Thomas Sullivan but was never charged.






Lara:

 

The Tommy Sullivan story is worth telling. The docks were a haven for corruption. Many of the longshoremen were ex-cons and former fighters. They were comfortable dealing with wiseguys and gangsters. The organized crime leaders wanted control of the unions and regularly put their men in place and recruited from the existing longshoremen. Their objective was to control the docks and the products coming in and out. A man putting a gun into an unwilling dock worker’s  face was all it would take to change their minds. The docks were filled with enforcers carrying International Longshoremen’s Association cards. It was essentially a license to steal. There were loan sharks trying to force men to take loans against their upcoming pay,and bookies encouraging gambling. The dockworkers were left in debt and desperation. Once a local union was in control any honest men found it nearly impossible to look the other way. They either got sucked in or driven out. If they spoke out it meant a beating or worse death. 



Nina:

 

Punchy McLaughlin was no stranger to this.To add to that, the McLaughlin’s connection to New York organized crime made them disliked by many of the other dockworkers including Tommy Sullivan. The three union organizers wouldn’t tolerate dissent amongst the longshoreman, and they believed Tommy Sullivan was talking to the Feds. Rumor was that either Harold Hannon or James “Spike” O’Toole shot Sullivan. Punchy was rumored to be the one who ordered the hit. Neither were ever charged for Sullivan’s death, nor was anyone else ever tried.



Lara:

 

Sullivan nearly killed Punchy after Punchy cracked Sullivan in the head with a lead pipe during a brawl. Like Punchy, Sullivan was a former boxer and had a reputation of being one tough bastard. But Sullivan was in much better condition than Punchy. Sullivan decimated Punchy, but Punchy managed to escape and took refuge under a car. But Sullivan was such a beast that he lifted the rear of the car onto the curb and continued to give Punchy a shellacking.



Nina:

 

That’s how Punchy ended up losing a piece of his ear! You can see it in photos of him post-1957. I suspect Sullivan was killed not because he was believed to be talking to the Feds but rather because he embarrassed Punchy.





Lara:

 

Sullivan was also close to Whitey Bulger. Whitey even wrote a letter from Alcatraz fingering Spike and Punchy for the hit.

 

Let’s move on to our next McLaughlin brother. You might remember George McLaughlin from the Brink’s episode. In 1954 he was arrested for shoplifting a woman’s bathing suit while having $700 in his pocket! Like Punchy, he was a kleptomaniac. Unlike his other two brothers, Georgie was smaller and more often than not drunk. But it wasn’t the shoplifting that the authorities were interested in. They wanted him for supposedly providing shelter to Elmer “Trigger” Burke both before and after Burke’s attempted hit on Specs O’Keefe. Fingerprints found on beer bottles at one of the suspected hideouts of Burke’s matched George’s. His fancy green sedan matched the description of the vehicle used during the attempt on Specs’ life. But the plates were not NJ plates nor was the vehicle purchased in NJ, but Georgie’s car was still impounded. 



Nina:

 

During questioning, Georgie admitted to knowing Burke and to having spent time with him at one of his hideouts on St. Botolph St, but not where the beer bottles were found. He was released on $1000 bail. At his arraignment the following day he was also charged with assaulting a woman in his car the same night as the attempted hit on Specs. On July 28th the assault charges were dropped as the woman failed to file a complaint. 



Lara:

 

Georgie didn’t stay out of trouble though. On December 27th of the same year, after being chased by 40 police officers, he and Harold Farmer were arrested for burglary in Salem, MA. They were held on $100,000. The judges reason for the high bail was that Georgie had served time in Concord and in NH, plus both were accused of attempted murder of a policeman. Farmer too was linked to Burke. They were held under armed guard because of their connection to Burke and the authorities’ fears of Burke possibly breaking them out of jail. Shortly after Georgie was transferred to the jail in East Cambridge where he was placed in a cell that was inside of a large cage under 24 hour watch. The prison reported that a vehicle had been outside of the jail and had flashed its lights 20 times, hence, the need for such tight security.






Nina:

 

Yeah ok. Georgie wasn’t the only one being guarded. The arresting officer Salvotore Salvo and his family were also being guarded after receiving a phone call at their home by someone claiming to be a journalist questioning them about police brutality. Both Georgie and Farmer were in rough shape. Farmer was being held in the prison hospital at Norfolk for injuries, including a broken jaw.



Lara:

 

They were both sentenced in February of 1955 to 5 to 7 years in state prison. By the time Georgie hit the streets again in 1960, his brothers were losing ground to McLean and his Winter Hill gang. Gamblers were laying their action with McLean rather than with them. In October of 1960 Punchy, Bernie and Georgie approached Buddy with a deal. Their proposal was to join forces and take over Boston. Buddy said the business wasn’t his but rather Joe McDonald’s who had returned by then. He also told them that he made an agreement with Jerry Angiulo that he wouldn’t expand outside of Somerville.



Nina:

 

Buddy shot the McLaughlins down and said he didn't want to start a war with the Feds and the Mafia. He told them he’d rather stick with the Angiulos. Of course the issue of Charlestown gamblers placing bets with him was raised. Buddy agreed to send them back in their direction. Punchy had to return to his crew to deliver the news that there was no deal. The Hughes brothers felt that Buddy might try to make a move against them, but Punchy casually brushed it off as an impossibility. But deep down inside, Punchy was concerned. Bernie believed Buddy didn’t want to expand out of Somerville. They agreed to focus on Charlestown. Despite what Punchy may have said to his crew, he hated Buddy and wanted to wipe him off the map.



Lara:

 

A week later, Buddy was involved in a barroom brawl in Charlestown. During the fight he was hit in the mouth with a beer bottle. News of the brawl got back to Punchy who cooked up a scheme to spread a rumor that Ditso Doherty was the one who threw the bottle. Punchy felt this would guarantee a fight between Ditso and Buddy. Ditso was onboard with the plan. The fight was arranged for late November just before Thanksgiving. The Charlestown crew was there to watch and rumors swirled that the Hughes brothers were going to kill Buddy if he won. Buddy punched Ditso dead between the eyes and knocked him out for 20 minutes!



Nina:

 

While Ditso was out cold, Butchie Quinn challenged Buddy to fight. Buddy was reluctant as he didn’t have a problem with Quinn. But Quinn ripped off his shirt and went for it. That didn’t last for long. Quinn was left with a broken nose and jaw. Buddy walked up to Punchy and told him he owed him $2,000. Punchy said he didn’t have it and would send it to him the following day. The next day Punchy made good on his debt, but he wasn’t going to let a second loss go. The man who was said to be the most powerful non-Italian gangster in New England wasn’t feeling so powerful.



Lara:

 

Punchy cooked up another scheme. This time he proposed to Buddy that he fight Joe Deangelis. Deangelis was a golden gloves heavy weight champ and had beaten Rocky Marciano, so Buddy naturally accepted the challenge. The fight took place in January of 1961.This time it was Deangelis who dropped Buddy not once but twice. Not one to back down he continued to be pummeled and was dropped to the ground two more times. Eight minutes into the fight, Deangelis started to tire and Buddy got his second wind. While Deangelis was being decimated, Punchy ditched. Bernie manned up and shook Buddy’s hand and congratulated him on his victory. Deangelis ended up in intensive care.



Nina:

 

Things were quiet between the Mclean crew and the McLaughlins until Labor Day weekend of 1961. At an annual end of the summer party attended by a group of friends, acquaintances and rivals in Salisbury Beach, Georgie’s reckless and drunken behavior would shift simmering tensions into a full-on, nearly decade-long gangland war. 



Lara:

 

While Buddy and his family were enjoying the end of the summer in nearby Hampton Beach, Jimmy McGaffin had rented a cottage at Salisbury Beach. It had become an annual event of sorts. Georgie McLaughlin showed up already half in the wrapper. A man from Buddy’s Winter Hill gang, Billy Hickey, was there with his wife. Georgie started making rude comments, called her a whore, grabbed her boobs and spit in her face. Before anyone knew what happened he slapped her. Billy and Red Lloyd beat him to within an inch of his life, but not before Georgie was able to bite off  a chunk of Billy’s arm. He was unconscious and they dragged him to the ocean in an effort to revive him. When that failed they rolled him in a carpet and threw him in a car thinking he was dead and looked for a place to dump the body, but in the car they realized he was still alive when he attempted to sit up. Unsure of whether to finish him off or try to save him, they decide to leave his body at the closest hospital over the border in Massachusetts. They left him on the front lawn of a hospital in Newburyport.



Nina:

 

It was said that Buddy was furious that they hadn’t brought him into the hospital. Red Lloyd and Billy Hickey admitted they were all drunk. Buddy ordered them to leave the state immediately. He knew that Punchy and Bernie would be out for blood. They listened, packed up their belongings and fled town with their families.



Lara:

 

Georgie finally regained consciousness and his brothers wanted to know who nearly killed him. Despite being drunk at the time he remembered that Billy Hickey and Red Lloyd were his assailants. He was finally released from the hospital over a month and a half later. Bernie and Punchy combed the streets looking for them but came up empty handed. Then on October 28th Bernie contacted Buddy to arrange a meeting. Buddy and Bernie met the following day. At this time it was said that the Mclaughlins were the second most powerful crime organization in New England. Plus they had strong connections to the Genovese family in New York as they were providing them with hitmen and enforcers. In addition to their extortion, loan sharking, bookmaking and theft rings, they were also taking a skim off of the toll booths on the Mystic River Bridge. Like the Mafia they were also collecting protection payments from business owners in Charlestown.



Nina:

 

We will see throughout the season how local criminals' alliances and connections with different New York families had an effect on their existences. 

 

Back to the meeting. Bernie went alone to Buddy’s house on October 29th. He told Buddy that something had to be done, that he wanted Red and Billy dead. Buddy refused. He told Bernie that Georgie was way out of line, that he hit a woman, and that Bernie himself would never find that acceptable. Bernie insisted it was an accident and that Georgie was trying to hit Billy, but she got in the way. Buddy argued that since Georgie was still alive, killing his two men wasn’t justifiable. He offered Bernie money instead. Bernie insisted that Buddy’s men had to die and insisted that Buddy hand them over, but Buddy wasn’t going to give in. The argument ended with Bernie storming out. The beating of his brother Georgie was an insult to the local crime empire they had built along the docks and the Navy Yard of Charlestown, and they weren’t going to take it lying down.



Lara:

 

When Bernie left Buddy’s house, he picked up his brother Punchy and Stevie Hughes. They went looking for Howie Winter. They found Howie as he was walking down the street and asked him to get into their car. Howie later said he got in the car, but thought he was never going to get out. Punchy questioned Howie about  what he thought about the incident in Salisbury Beach. Howie said that he wasn’t there. Bernie pressed Howie to help them set up Red and Bill for murder. Howie asked them what Buddy had said about it. Bernie didn’t care what Buddy had to say, he wanted an answer from Howie. Howie made it clear that he would stand with whatever Buddy’s decision was. Bernie told him to get lost, and Howie bolted from the car.

 

Nina:

I’m sure Howie was glad to have been tossed out, but he certainly knew it wasn’t over.

 

Lara:

 

That same evening while Buddy’s wife was watching TV she heard their dogs barking. When she went to the window she saw two men under the hood of her car. Buddy was awakened by his wife screaming that someone was trying to steal the car. He ran out the front door and fired his pistol three times in the air. The men who were lurking around the car took off. First thing in the morning there was a knock at the door. It was their neighbor who asked Buddy to come out. The neighbor had seen the hood of the car slightly open and found 5 sticks of dynamite strapped to the engine.



Nina:

 

The bomb squad was called. The police found the spent rounds in the front yard. Buddy was questioned as to who he thought would have planted the dynamite. He said he had no idea. They asked if he heard gunshots. And again he claimed he didn’t know. 

 

Buddy had a court appearance the next day as he had assault and destruction of property charges pending against him. 

 

On September 11, 1961 shortly after the brawl at Salisbury Beach, MDC Officer Russell Nicholson and Buddy were arrested for assaulting John Porter in the diner Porter owned back on the morning of August 27th.  Internal Affairs charges were also brought against Russell C. Nicholson for conduct unbecoming an officer. Also arrested were Bobo Petricone and Gabriel Grande. Those two were released on $1000 bail for destruction of property. The diner owner was being guarded as he had been receiving threatening phone calls not to testify. 



Lara:

 

Everyone has heard of the Godfather! Well Alexander “Bobo” Petricone became Alex Rocco, the guy who played Moe Greene. His only conviction up to that point was in 1960 on illegal gambling charges. Also, Buddy was out on bail at the same time for knifing a 19 year old boy over a parking space. The boy who had recently been released from prison tried to stab Buddy with a fork. Needless to say Buddy won that argument, but it landed him in trouble. At the time of the dynamite being found he was free on bail for three different cases, the old liquor hijacking case, the knifing of the 19 year old and the assault charges from the diner!



Nina:

 

How are you out on bail on three separate charges??? 



Lara:

 

Yeah, it’s all normal. Still don’t think Buddy wasn’t an informant?



Nina: 

 

The next day, October 31st, Buddy contacted Bobo and told him to come to his home. They both had to appear in court that morning. Buddy also called to set up a meeting with Bernie for later that afternoon. In court, they received a continuance on the diner assault case, and headed to pick up Russ Nicholson. Nicholson took the wheel, Bobo hopped in the back and Buddy was in the passenger’s seat. They headed to Charlestown in search of Bernie. As Nicholson drove slowly through City Square they spotted Bernie coming out of the Morning Glory Diner. Buddy slipped out of the car and walked up behind Bernie. Buddy told Bernie they needed to talk. They walked towards a support pillar under the Tobin Bridge. Buddy told Bernie that they needed to put an end to it. Bernie threatened to kill them all. Buddy shot Bernie once in the head and four times in the body in broad daylight with over a 100 witnesses. Bernie was down and Buddy slipped back into the car with Nicholson and Bobo.  





Lara:

 

Bobo had popped the trunk open prior to Buddy getting back in the car, so no one could read the license plate. By the end of the evening Buddy and Bobo were in custody. A waitress in the Morning Glory reported seeing everything to the police. Bobo was arrested by Officer Joe McCain. McCain spotted Bobo’s car speeding away from the scene after hearing a bulletin over his patrol car radio that Bernie had been shot and three men had fled in a black Oldsmobile with its trunk open. McCain said to his partner, “I’ll bet we find Bobo’s car, and I bet they did Bernie.”



Nina:

McCain and his partner found Bobo's black Oldsmobile parked in an alley near their hangout. The engine was still warm and the trunk lid was still up just as the bulletin reported. They called for backup. Bobo was arrested for whacking Bernie. Later that evening, Buddy surrendered to the Somerville police chief, Thomas J. O’Brien.

Another officer was near the scene of the shooting. Officer William Burke heard what he thought was fireworks. He ran towards the scene and saw Bernie leaning against the wall of the package store. “I rushed towards Bernie and asked him, “Bernie, who did this to you?” But Bernie was already dead.

 

Lara:

 

Bernie’s murder was listed as the 6th in a string starting in 1958:

Vincent “Bittie” Vazza an enforcer strangled and found in his trunk in September of ‘58

Philip “Goldie” Goldstein of Brookline gambler and loan shark found trussed, strangled and in the trunk of his car in May of ‘59

Joseph “Angie” Demarco an enforcer found shot 6 times in the back of his head in November of ‘59

Gaetano “Little Sir Echo” DiNicola gambler and loan shark found shot in his car December of ‘59

Edward Rothstein 43 owner of a bakery in debt to the loan sharks found with 5 bullets in the back of the head in the trunk of his car in April of ‘60

 




Nina:

 

Prior to Bernie’s shooting the FBI received a letter stating that the Mclaughlins had killed the two guys that attacked Georgie. On the day of the shooting the McLaughlin brothers were supposed to be brought in for questioning regarding the dynamite that was planted on Buddy’s car. 



Lara:

 

They also received a letter shortly after Bernie was killed stating that Bobo and Buddy killed him. Buddy and Bobo were formally charged on November 1st. The witness, Lynda Lee, identified Bobo as the gateway driver. Another witness said the shooter handed the gun to another man who took off in another car that went in the opposite direction. Both were held without bail pending a hearing. The trial on the assault and battery charges from September was postponed indefinitely on November 6. The case was continued to November 16, 1961 to determine whether there was probable cause for murder charge by judge James Mellen. On November 3rd Buddy and Bobo were sent to separate jails. Buddy to New Bedford and Bobo to Dedham.



Nina:

 

Nicholson once again found himself in trouble. This time, a second misconduct charge was lodged against him for associating with known felons and undesirables because he was with Bobo when he was arrested. A paraffin test was performed on Buddy’s hands.The BPD chemist, Charles Kuhn, confirmed that the test “indicated that a gun could have been fired within the past two days.” Buddy said he had gunpowder on his hands because he had fired his weapon the night before when he thought someone was stealing his car. He claimed he fired several shots to scare away the men. This statement was contradictory to the one he gave that morning when the spent rounds were found in his yard. A Somerville detective Robert Brady stated that when he questioned Buddy if he discharged a weapon the morning the dynamite was discovered, Buddy laughed and said, “are you crazy?”



Lara:

 

The Probable Cause hearing on November 16th was continued to December 7th. The following day Georgie was involved in a car accident at 2 am in the morning. His car overturned on Cambridge St. in Brighton. The police said that it was because of wet road conditions. It was 2 am so the odds that Georgie was drunk were pretty high. BUT the timing was awfully suspicious.



Nina:

 

Another case was going on at the same time. David Gearty of Somerville was tried and sentenced on November 23rd for the slaying of his wife. Gearty believed the rumors that his wife was having an affair with Buddy. In August Gearty followed his wife only to find her sitting in a cafe in East Cambridge canoodling with Buddy. A fight broke out between Gearty and Buddy. On the way home Gearty purchased a shotgun. When he arrived home he and his wife got into an argument. She pulled a knife on him and he shot her. Gearty was sentenced to 12 to 15 years for manslaughter.



Lara:

 

On December 16th, the charge of murder against Buddy and Bobo were dropped citing a lack of evidence. The waitress didn’t testify that day, but the testimony of the 18 others who took the stand was said to be lacking to get an indictment. The following day Buddy was released on an increased bail of $5000 for the prior pending charges and the additional charge of illegal possession of a weapon.  

 

Shortly after Buddy was back on the street. It was rumored that Harold Hannon and Georgie were roaming around looking for Buddy. The story goes that Georgie would drive while Hannon was in the trunk with the lid ajar and armed with a shotgun ready to take out Buddy.



Nina:

 

But they struck out. On April 27, 1962 the assault trial concluded. On May 16th, Buddy was sentenced to 2 years in Walpole State Prison. Bobo was given a similar sentence but was sent to the Middlesex County House of Correction. Nicholson was never indicted, but he was still under investigation by the Internal Affairs unit of the MDC Police. 

 

Peace was not on the horizon. A week before Buddy began serving his sentence Georgie was beaten and stabbed. He had been driving his late brother’s car on the evening of May 8th. Police were called to Third St in Chelsea at 4 am the morning of the 9th. Georgie was nowhere to be found, but the blood soaked car was found on the side of the road. That same morning a man appeared in a nearby hospital with a knife wound to his throat. A warrant was issued for Georgie. His lawyer appeared in court on the 18th to say that Georgie had been beaten over the head with a lead pipe and was unable to appear.

 

 

Lara:

 

Georgie recovered, but was off the radar. On July 7, 1962, George “Ox” Joynt, a McLaughlin crew member and enforcer, walked into the Capitol Bar, a known Winter Hill crew hangout. He made it clear that he was with the McLaughlins and that they were going to wipe them out including Buddy. 

 

Nicholson, Tommy Ballou and John Hurley surrounded the Ox and began to beat him. Another man in the bar told them not to do it there. The three Winter Hill guys dragged the Ox into their car and drove him to the woods off of Rte. 16. The Ox was shot once in the back of the head and twice in the back. The theory was that the Ox was made to dig his own grave. His remains weren’t discovered until January 1963 when a work crew discovered his bones.



Nina:

 

On September 4th 1962 Bobo’s wife was driving Howie Winter’s car when an explosion occurred, as she was backing into a parking space in Somerville. No one was injured, but the police stated that the type of bomb that was planted was identical to the one planted on Buddy’s car back in ‘61. The police believed that the intended victim was Howie rather than Mrs. Petricone. That morning Howie had driven the car to her house, so she could go to the bakery. No one was ever charged.



Lara:

 

Shortly after the bombing incident, two of McLaughlin’s gang members attacked Buddy in Walpole. While Buddy was in the shower, the two men charged him. Instead of killing Buddy they both ended up in the hospital. A couple of days later, Buddy was transferred to Norfolk where he found himself with his mentor, Joe McDonald and Joe’s brother. They were serving a sentence for robbing a milk company of $30,000. A couple of years later, Joe would escape from prison to aid Buddy in the war.



Nina:

 

Those weren’t the only men he picked up in prison, Buddy befriended Rico Sacramone, Tony D’Agostino and last but not least Joe “The Animal” Barboza. In Joe he found a mutual hatred of the McLaughlins. After some negotiation between Joe McDonald, Buddy and Barboza, Barboza became a member of the Winter Hill gang. It would be another year before Buddy would return to Somerville. His return will mark the beginning of his own end.



Lara:

 

We’re going to be discussing how the gang war played out throughout this season and into the beginning of season 2. The events and slayings are wrapped around the other stories we’ll be telling. We’ve already introduced you to Edward “Wimpy” Bennett in several episodes. At the beginning of the war Wimpy and his brother Walter were loyal allies of the McLaughlins. We’ll see how that plays out. If you listened to episode 10, you’ll recall that my father’s allegiance with the McLaughlins set him on a trajectory that permanently changed his life. The actions of the Boston FBI office, in particular SAs H. Paul Rico and his partner Dennis Condon, would have an impact on the outcome of the war. We’ll dig into possible motives beyond the story that Georgie and his cohorts were picked up on a wiretap saying that Rico was gay and had a menage a trois with J. Edgar Hoover and another high ranking official of the FBI. 



Nina:

 

It’s not a stretch that it could have been that petty, but we will investigate other possibilities. Rico certainly wasn’t taking a passive role. He was actively leaking information to McLean and those aligned with him. And knowingly suborning perjury amongst the psychopaths of McLean’s crew. And it didn’t stop there.



Lara:

 

We hope you continue to listen throughout the season to see how it all unfolds.



Nina:

 

Next week we will be returning to the 1930s, and Jack Kelley’s early career. That will lead us to the Plymouth Mail Robbery of Aug 1962. We will take a few episodes to tell that story so stay tuned!



Lara:

 

As always, thank you for listening. If you like this episode please share it with your friends, follow us and leave a review.

 

Nina and Lara:

 

Bye!