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May 16, 2022

The Hit Parade of 1966


There was a total of 15 gangland slayings in the Boston area and Providence, RI between April and December 1966. We profile the Boston murder victims, share our own theories and, as usual, our snarky remarks.

 

*Note: Willie Marfeo's murder and Billie Aggie's disappearance will each have their own episodes.

 

Episode – Hit Parade 1965

 

Episode – Frank Smith

 

Episode – The Boys of Winter Hill

 

Episode – The Hit Parade 1964

 

Episode – Dying to be Made – Joe Barboza

 

Episode – They’re After Me Like a F*cking Animal – Jerry Angiulo

 

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

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All the best,

Lara & Nina

Transcript

Lara:

Welcome back everyone! Today Nina and I are discussing the hit parade of 1966. Like in our previous episodes about ’64 and ’65, we’ll go in chronological order starting with the first murders of the year on April 24th. Although we’ve covered the deaths of David Sidlauskas and Anthony Vernais in our episode about the Boys of Winter Hill we’ll include more info about them and their murders today.

 

Nina:

We’ve also included some of the other slayings that happened in ’66 in previous episodes, but as Lara mentioned we’ll provide details that we haven’t previously.

 

Lara:

There were a total of 15 gangland slayings in the Boston area and Providence, RI between April and December that year. We will not be covering the disappearance of Billie Aggie today, but we are counting it as one of the murders. Some believe that Billie went into the witness protection program, but there isn’t any corroborating evidence to back that up. However, there are statements from informants that he was killed. Billie’s demise will be included in episode 40. Willie Marfeo’s murder will be included in episode 45.

 

Nina:

As will the other two Rhode Island murders. 

There were no recorded gangland slayings between November 15, 1965 and April 24, 1966. Georgie McLaughlin was on death row, Spike O’Toole was locked up for harboring Georgie, and the other McLaughlin associates were either in prison on other charges or on the lam. Buddy McLean’s crew was also lying low in the aftermath of his assassination which we believe was carried out by Pro Lerner. You’ll also recall that Tommy Ballou was arrested at Buddy’s wake on a gun carrying charge. He had been released after a Charlestown District Court dismissed the charges. But a week later, Ballou was indicted in Suffolk Superior Court on the same charge, and eventually convicted. F Lee Bailey appealed, but the conviction was upheld in June of 1966.

Joe Barboza had been arrested in November of ‘65 and was held on bail through the holidays. He was sentenced to six months in the house of correction in the middle of January, but credited with time served and back on the street by late May.

Jimmy Flemmi and Johnny Martorano had also been arrested in November of ‘65. Jimmy had been on the lam and Johnny got picked up for harboring him. The two men were finally sentenced on March 9th of ‘66: Jimmy got 4-6 years for jumping bail. Johnny was sentenced to 6 months, but was credited with time served and was back out on the street later that month.

With that background, let’s jump into the Veranis and Sidlauskas murders, both of which happened on the same day.

 

Lara:

On April 24th, David M. Sidlauskas, a 22 year old with a minor criminal record was found by a nurse outside of the Long Island Hospital in Quincy. His body was still warm. He had been shot in the chest and arm. A few days after Sidlauskas’ body was found, a .45 caliber pistol was found in parts in the Merrymount section of Quincy, but was never connected to any crime.

Anthony Veranis was pistol whipped then shot in the head with a .38 special while on his knees according to the medical examiner. There was no wallet or ID on his body, only $2.38 in his pocket. Veranis was initially identified by the tattoos on his hands “love and hate.” His body was found by a former marathon runner who was jogging through the Blue Hills on the Quincy side. Veranis was a boxer who fought against Joe Barboza, Rocco DiSiglio and Rico Sacramone, but was forced to quit after requiring brain surgery following his fight with Joe Devlin at the Boston Garden in May 1958. 

 

Nina:

Veranis had a record dating back to when he was a juvie, and had been incarcerated at the age of 12 at the Lyman Reform School. It was there that he was spotted by a boxing manager. When Veranis was released in 1956, he looked up the manager and began boxing, first as an amateur, then moving into the pros the following year. He racked up 25 wins, and as Lara mentioned his career ended abruptly in May of ‘58 with brain surgery to remove two blood clots. He wasn’t even 20 years old. In June 1958, Veranis said: “Boxing was my trade, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Lara:

What he ended up doing was return to a life of petty crime. Veranis was given three years probation for an assault and battery charge in 1959. In February 1960, he was sentenced to 2½ to 3 years in Walpole for robbing a cab driver of $22. The following year he was paroled. But he wasn’t free for long and returned to prison, this time to Bridgewater for breaking and entering, and assaulting the arresting officer. Then in 1963, he was sentenced to another 2½ to 3 years on an older b&e charge. After being granted parole later that same year, he landed back in ‘64, before being paroled for the final time in 1965. 

 

Nina:

Veranis later recounted to a Boston Globe journalist: “I thought my life was over when I couldn’t fight anymore. I was filled with self-pity. I started drinking and I got in trouble again.”

He'd started turning his life around, had gotten a stable job in construction, and was talking about going back to school at night.

 

Lara:

But that wasn’t to be.

The papers tried to say that the murders of Sidlauskas and Veranis weren’t connected, but police reports and statements from people in attendance at the bar they were both in prior to being shot prove otherwise. 

The medical examiner noted that the murder of Veranis was “a real professional job”.

Decades later, Johnny Martorano confessed to the Veranis hit. The story is that after Veranis tried to outdraw Johnny in a Dorchester after-hours joint, Martorano lost it and beat and shot Veranis. 

 

Nina:

But Johnny told yet another story in his testimony at the 2013 Whitey Bulger trial.

Apparently Johnny Martorano’s brother got in a beef with Veranis, and Veranis beat the crap out of him. Johnny couldn’t bear the thought of someone humiliating his brother and he set out on a mission to hunt Veranis down. With William Geraway in tow, Johnny made his way to the after hours club in Dorchester owned by the Bennett brothers. There they found Veranis and Sidlauskas. Johnny approached Veranis and a brawl broke out with Johnny pistol-whipping Veranis. SIdlauskas jumped in to help his friend only to find himself being attacked by Geraway.



Lara:

A little background on Geraway. He was an associate of Johnny Martorano, and would go on to be indicted for both murders the following year. He was found guilty of killing Sidlauskas in February 1968, and sentenced to life in prison. But Geraway was found innocent of murdering Tony Veranis in May 1969.

 

Nina:

While he was in Walpole, Geraway and Joe Barboza became cell mates. Geraway would later go on to provide statements about Joe Barboza’s admissions in the Teddy Deegan murder and the murder of Clay Wilson that Barboza committed in California. There will be more Geraway stories in future episodes since he was also tied up with the Bennett brothers.

By the way, have I mentioned that Johnny Martorano is a liar?

 

Lara:

Well maybe not in this episode, but yes more than once!

 

Nina:

Hope Johnny isn’t listening! We don’t need a spiteful, geriatric hitman holding a grudge.

 

Lara:

I doubt any of these guys could give a shit what two broads have to say about them!

Indulge me for a moment and let me share an interesting side note.

On the same day that Veranis and Sidlauskus were killed, Floyd V. Wilkins was found floating in the Plum River in Revere with a .25 caliber bullet wound to his head. He was a wealthy industrialist from New Jersey who had been missing for three months when his body was found. He checked into the Statler Hotel on January 9th after a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine the previous day, and had dinner at the Union Oyster House. It appears he had returned to his hotel room after dinner as his overcoat was in the room, and spoke to his wife by phone  shortly after 8 pm.  The bed was never slept in and he was found only in his shirt, pants and underwear.

At that time, Ronnie Cassesso had been robbing the hotel rooms of prominent out of town guests. What are the odds that it was Ronnie who killed Wilkins?

 

Nina:

I’d say very high!

The only thing I could find odd in his background was a vehicular homicide case in 1937. Wilkins was 23 and driving a truck for his family’s business. He crashed into a 39 year old man who succumbed to his injuries. I doubt it was revenge nearly three decades later. I’d lean more towards a burglary gone wrong. 

Speaking of odd crimes, we need to cover the murder of Charles Van Maxcy in Florida. When we do the Bennett Brothers murders we should include that story since the lover of Van Maxcy’s wife was a gangster wrapped up with Walter Bennett.

 

Lara:

And the real hitter was a cousin of Billie Aggie, so definitely worth telling that tale. 

Ok, let’s move onto the next victim, Wilfred Capalbo.

Capalbo, a bartender, was shot three times while driving on Boylston St. in Worcester on May 11th. His car was discovered rammed into a telephone pole. Capalbo was still alive when the police and paramedics arrived. He told the officers that he had been shot but refused to give any other details. The surgeons were able to remove the three slugs, but Capalbo succumbed to his wounds later that day. Robert D. Glavin was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for Capalbo’s murder. If you listened to our series on Teddy Deegan, Glavin’s name might sound familiar. He was the inmate that Ronnie Cassesso, Ralphie “Chong” Lamattina and Nicky Ventola were charged with pressuring into committing perjury by falsely confessing to the murder of Teddy. Glavin went on to escape from prison shortly after that incident.

 

Nina:

I searched everywhere to find something about Glavin’s arrest, trial or conviction. There wasn’t one article mentioning it until the perjury case in ‘68.



Lara:

I also tried searching. The really strange thing is that all of the articles in ‘68 say that Glavin was convicted of killing Capalbo on the same day Capalbo was killed. I assume the journalists back then came up empty handed too. Or the government “planted” Glavin in some attempt to ensure a conviction of the men charged in Teddy’s death.

 

Nina:

I wouldn’t put it past them. But we’re never going to know the answer to that.

The next victim was longtime McLaughlin Gang member, Connie Hughes who worked as a laborer, longshoreman and truck driver in addition to his criminal activity.

Cornelius Hughes was born on July 13, 1929 to Stephen J. Hughes and Mary Gearin. Connie’s father had a record dating back to the time he was 16, and would later die in prison in 1959. We’ll include a bit more about him later in this episode when we get into Stephen Jr.’s murder.

 

Connie had a record going back to 1947 for auto theft. In September of 1948 he and Georgie McLaughlin were arrested for assaulting two railroad workers with a blackjack and robbing them of $8 on the Boston Common. They admitted to the beating but denied the theft. The two longshoremen were held on $5000 bail each. In October, Connie was sentenced to three to five years and Georgie got five years. While Connie was serving his time in Charlestown State Prison, so was his father who was locked up for possession of a machine gun. 



Lara:

 

In 1953, Connie was in trouble again. This time for shooting an MBTA bus driver, Allen Fidler. 

He survived, and later told the cops that it was a case of mistaken identity and he didn’t know why he’d been shot or who had shot him. A month later Connie was held for a grand jury on the charges of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to kill and possession of a dangerous weapon. But in May perjury charges were brought against Fidler. According to the complaint, the two men had an argument and took the beef outside where they continued arguing in a car. It was at that point that Connie assaulted Fidler and shot him. The charges were dropped against Connie and he was freed.



Nina:

 

But not for long! He was arrested in 1954 for armed robbery in Cambridge, and the following year for larceny in Chelsea for which he was sentenced to four months in jail. Then Connie and good old Harold Hannon were arrested with 221 capsules of heroin in February of ‘56. 

Lara:

 

That’s probably how dad got mixed up with the McLaughlins initially since he was running heroin at that time too.



Nina:

 

Oh probably!

 

What’s more interesting is that the heroin case disappeared, and Connie was never arrested again until 1965.

 

 

Lara:

 

You have to figure Connie was paying for protection from someone on the BPD. Maybe Eddie Walsh.



Nina:

 

Or someone else. It could have even been Det. Billy Stuart since back then Wimpy was still in the McLaughlin camp.



Lara:

 

Either way, Connie was more than likely paying off someone in law enforcement to look the other way. Although that may have kept him out of prison, it did little to keep him safe. On May 26th, Connie was slain. At 4 in the morning his car was sprayed with a total of 15 armor piercing bullets by men in a vehicle driving alongside of him. Connie’s vehicle crashed into a concrete barrier on the Chelsea/Revere line and burst into flames.

 

FBI SA Rico met with his now favorite informant Stevie Flemmi a few days later. Stevie alleged that Connie had been lurking around Dearborn Square trying to kill him. According to Rico, Stevie did not admit to the murder but commented that “he had an excellent idea who committed the murder”. 







Nina:

 

Flemmi again complained to Rico about Larry Baione, claiming that Baione had given money to Connie’s widow through Stevie Hughes. He told Rico that he planned to kill Baione when the time was right but that his murder had to be pinned on somebody else.

 

Another attempt had been made on Connie’s life back in the middle of March. But the shooter missed Connie and instead seriously injured Connie’s brother Stevie, who had been staying at Connie’s house in Malden. Connie went underground hiding from the assassin while Stevie Hughes was hospitalized with five bullet wounds to the stomach.

 

Howie Carr claims that Connie was given up by Brian Halloran. The same Brian Halloran who would later be killed by Whitey Bulger in May 1982.  



Lara:

 

And Mikey Donaghue lost his life alongside Halloran. That was the first murder of someone I knew and spent time with. Armand Caprioli was the first person in my life to get killed, but I was just a baby. Mikey was always around. He indulged me in my silly “knock knock who’s there?’ jokes and would leave money in my dollhouse for me.



Nina:

 

We’ll definitely discuss their murders next season. 

 

The list of suspects in Connie’s murder included Tommy Deprisco who would find himself a victim of the gangwar later that year, and of course Joe Barboza, who had just finished his six month sentence in the house of correction, was also a suspect.

 

Now for another mystery. 

 

The same day that Connie Hughes was murdered, John Hurley, another Martorano associate, took a bullet in his thigh at Munroe’s Tavern on Chelsea Street. Hurley supposedly got into an argument with an unnamed 27-year-old Dorchester man. The assailant left the bar only to return with a gun. After he shot Hurley the man fled, and Hurley got himself to the hospital. The shooter returned to the bar about 8pm where cops were waiting. The mystery man tried to flee but the cops caught him. The authorities never released his name, only saying that he was possibly the last person to see Connie Hughes alive. The Boston Globe also noted that he’d been beaten by Johnny Martorano’s gang just a few weeks earlier. He was scheduled to appear in court on charges, but nothing seems to have come of it. The story just seems to die. I’ve been unable to find anything else, and it’s driving me crazy!

 

Lara:

 

The age fits Brian Halloran, but Brian was on the Martorano side. Considering it was a Dorchester guy, he had to have been an associate of Spike’s. We’re going to have to scour through the 302s to see if Stevie Flemmi gave any info to SA Rico about who it might have been. 

 

You should do a FOIA request with the Boston police department too. Maybe they still have the records, but you’re probably out of luck.



Nina:

 

I know, but you know I hate unanswered questions! 



Lara:

 

Tell me about it!

 

Let’s move onto the next victim.

Rocco DiSeglio was born in Rome on April 11,1939 and immigrated with his parents Sebastiano and Concetta at the age of 8. He had great difficulty in school because of his lack of English.

He had a record going back to 1957 when he and his team mates assaulted a little league baseball coach. 

 

Nina:

The coach was probably abusing the kids.

 

Lara:

Anything is possible, but considering the coach wasn’t robbed, it’s more than likely.

In 1961, Rocco found himself the victim instead of the perpetrator. Rocco and his friend Charles Fremault had just left the Newton Corner Branch of the Newton-Waltham Bank where Charles had collected the $1200 payroll that was to be distributed by his employer Fried’s Department Store. A man hopped in the backseat of their car before they could pull away and forced them to drive to Brighton. Rocco was hit in the back of the head before their abductor fled. 

 

Nina:

You know, cynical me thinks they staged that.

Lara:

Hey, I wouldn't put it past Rocco, but it was the second time the store’s payroll had been jacked in three years.

Later that year he was arrested in Watertown and charged with an attempted b&e and possession of burglary tools. Instead of jail time he was given six years probation. Then in 1962 he was arrested in Waltham and charged with larceny under false pretenses, but the charges were dropped. That Fall he faced charges in Newton for gambling in a public place. In 1963 he was charged with larceny and burglary, but once again received probation, and this time a 5 year suspended sentence.



Nina:

 

I don't understand! He was already on probation!



Lara:

 

It’s another one of those stories where he would have been better off if he went to prison.

 

Rocco stayed out of the news, but obviously not out of trouble until June 16, 1966 when his body was found in a wooded area in Topsfield, MA in his 1964 Ford Thunderbird. He had been shot 3 times in the back of the head with a .45 caliber handgun. One bullet went straight through his head and passed through the windshield. 



Nina:

 

At the time of his murder, Rocco was living in Newton with his wife and 2-year-old child. 

Rocco was known for being nattily dressed and driving his flashy, burgundy Thunderbird, but no one questioned how he could afford his lifestyle. He was employed as a construction worker by his brother-in-law Joe DeNucci, but that wasn’t enough to fund his habits. According to DeNucci, Rocco was wrapped up in horses, dogs and dice games. Which fits since the last place Rocco was seen was at the Wonderland Dog Track in Revere. 




Lara:

 

Rocco was keeping company with some shady characters including Joe Barboza. The night of Rocco’s murder the East Boston Police received an anonymous call about his killing. The mystery caller was Barboza. Later at trial, Barboza would admit that he was indeed the person who called Officer Fawcett who had Barboza and his crew under surveillance.

 

But Barboza was hardly being a good samaritan. He had an ax to grind against the local LCN, so he concocted a story that led to the arrest of Jerry Anguilo, Bernard Zinna, Mario Lepore and Richard DeVincent on August 6, 1967. If you want to hear more about the trial listen to episode 23. But in the end Jerry and his co-defendants were acquitted and Rocco’s murder remains unsolved.

 

 

Nina:

 

Technically that’s true, but the clincher for me is that Barboza led the police to Rocco’s body. So I’d say that it’s almost certain that Barboza killed him. Probably over a debt or a perceived slight. But his perjury was ignored by the government as they continued to use Barboza as their star witness.

 

Twelve days later, Joe Barboza and Chico Amico were arrested for stabbing Arthur Pearson at the Tiger’s Tail. Pearson, a fugitive from justice from California, was found barely alive in his car not far from the Ebb Tide.

 

Both Barboza 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. Their victim, Arthur Pearson, was also being held on $100,000 bail, allegedly for his own protection. 



Lara:

 

On September 23rd, Stephen Hughes, bother of Connie, along with Sammy Linden were murdered. Their lives were taken by a hail of armor-piercing bullets fired from a rifle in a passing black sedan as they drove along Route 114 in Middleton at 2 in the afternoon. Several witnesses said they saw the black sedan with three men and a woman overtake the two men at the top of a hill and counted at least seven shots. Sammy Linden’s car knocked down several concrete guard posts and plunged off a ten foot embankment and into a swamp

 

Jimmy Flemmi and Joe Barboza had been seeking permission from Raymond Patriarca to kill Sammy Linden as early as May of 1965, but Joe Lombardo intervened on Sammy’s behalf. We covered Sammy’s background in detail in episode 32 about Frank Smith, so check that one out for more about Sammy.

Nina:

 

Stevie’s record went back to 1946 for larceny of a motor vehicle, and a similar charge the following year for which he received a 2 year suspended sentence. In April of 1948 he and three others including Billy Cameron were arrested for operating a motor vehicle after his license was revoked and possession of a .45 caliber handgun, and again he received a suspended sentence. 

 

As we mentioned earlier, Stephen Hughes Sr had a record dating back to the time he was 16. In August of ‘49 he and another man were arrested for possession of a machine gun. He was given 2 ½ to five years in state prison and sent to Charlestown to join his son, Connie. The two men appealed the verdict, arguing that the weapon had no firing pin which rendered it useless. But the sentence was upheld in Massachusetts Supreme Court in July the following year.



Lara:

 

On a Sunday morning in the middle of December 1956, Hughes Jr and Sr were spotted putting a safe that they had stolen from a doughnut shop into their car. The eyewitness reported the last three digits of the license plate to the police, who knew exactly who the culprits were. The judge called the father-son pair “menaces to society”, and held them on $5000 bail

 

In February 1957, Stevie Hughes and his father were acquitted on the charges of breaking and entering and larceny. Joseph Sax was their attorney, of course.



Nina:

 

In July 1959, Francis Xavier Ahern was found in a parked car in Roxbury. He’d been shot in the head and side and stabbed repeatedly. He was still alive, but placed on the danger list at City Hospital. Ahern alleged that Stevie Hughes was his attacker, and the authorities issued a warrant for Stevie’s arrest. The rumor was that Ahern knew something about the murder of Tommy Sullivan two years before and that was why Stevie tried to kill him. While Stevie was on the lam, Stephen Hughes Sr. passed away in prison.

 

In June of ‘60, Stevie Hughes surrendered and pleaded guilty to the charges. He was immediately sentenced to 5-7 years and sent to Walpole, but was back on the streets in ‘62 after being granted parole.







Lara:

 

A few days after Christmas 1965, the two Hughes brothers were arrested on Rte. 1 in Saugus on shoplifting charges at 1:30 in the morning. Stevie was released on $2500 bail and both their cases were continued until January 14. 

 

Another case of where they would have been better off staying in prison.



Nina:

 

Exactly!

 

Stevie Flemmi later told SA H. Paul Rico that it was Sammy Linden’s own fault for being present when Stevie Hughes was murdered, and that he “should have known better”. Stevie Flemmi eventually copped to the murder of Stevie Hughes, but not Sammy Linden’s. 

Mafia Encyclopedia Extraordinaire, Vinnie Teresa, alleged that it was Joe Barboza and Chico Amico who killed Sammy Linden and Stevie Hughes. But that’s impossible because both of them were still being held on bail for the Pearson murder attempt. And if Vinnie had bothered to read a newspaper, he would have known that! Barboza was freed after a bail reduction hearing three days after the Linden-Hughes double homicide. Nicky Femia and Chico Amico were freed on bail the day after that.

 

Lara:

We’ll talk about Chico at the end of this episode.

The next victim was John W. Jackson, another person linked to Margaret Sylvester, the lover of Johnny and Jimmy Martorano’s father and waitress at his club, Luigi’s.

Jackson was murdered outside his Queensbury Street apartment in Boston on Sept. 28, 1966. He had been a witness to Margaret Sylvester’s murder and had appeared before the Suffolk County Grand Jury in that case just before his murder. He was scheduled to testify for the prosecution in the Margaret Sylvester murder trial. Johnny’s brother Jimmy Martorano would go on trial in December for being an accessory after the fact in Margaret’s murder and assault and battery with a shoe.






Nina:

 

Jackson had worked as a bartender at various clubs in the South End, Back Bay, and Roxbury for most of his adult life. His record was for petty crimes: receiving stolen goods, unarmed robbery, drunkenness, promoting a lottery and so on. He never served any time. 

 

The medical examiner said that 5 rounds from what appeared to be a .32 caliber hit Jackson in the lower back, and two more hit him in the head. A 12-gauge shotgun was found at a church near the scene of the murder. 



Lara:

 

Johnny Martorano later admitted to killing Johnny Jackson to protect his brother Jimmy. Oh that monotone 60 Minutes interview of his!

 

“I waited for him to pull up in his parking lot behind the house, shot him with a shotgun through the other side of the fence I was on.”

 

Conveniently Johnny claimed that Tommy dePrisco, Tash Bratsos and Jimmy Kearns were accessories in Jackson’s murder.



Nina:

 

Since they were all six feet deep, it’s not like they could contradict his statement. Jimmy Kearns died in 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

I want to quote a little of Martorano’s testimony from the 2013 Whitey Bulger trial.



Lara:

 

Did he claim to look his victims in the eye?



Nina:

 

Oh please! Another 60 Minute’s line. Johnny was the driveby shooting king.



Lara:

 

Or back of the head. Anyhow, read the testimony for us.

 

Nina:

 

“He [Jackson] was sort of on the run. He was evading everybody. I guess he was in there testifying. So we knew when he was coming home one night and waited for him. 

 

“Had your brother been indicted by that time?”

 

“I think he was indicted for accessory after the fact.”



Lara:

 

Jimmy Martorano wasn’t even facing a murder charge! And Johnny had already killed the other witness Robert Palladino back in November 1965. He claimed Palladino was his first murder victim. And in the end Johhny only did 12 years for the 20 murders he copped to. We’ll be covering more of those murders and Johnny’s eventual downfall next season.



Nina:

 

Then on November 14th, Tommy De Prisco and Arthur “Tash” Bratsos were killed. 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. They were both beaten, stabbed and shot while out shaking down people to raise money to bail Barboza out of jail. At the time of their slayings, Bratsos was out on bail for illegal weapon possession charges that he was facing along with his co-defendants Joe Barboza, Nicky Femia and Patrick Fabiano. Unlike Barboza and Femia, Bratsos had only been pinched for minor offenses, so he was released on $1000 bail. Supposedly, Bratsos felt guilty because he left a gun that belonged to Tommy Deprisco in the glove box of the car they were arrested in.

 

Lara:

 

Oh Please! Like that was the only weapon the cops found in the car.

 

Nina:

 

But Frankie Salemme said the cop planted the gun on Barboza!



Lara:

 

If you listened to episode 24 about Joe Barboza’s early days, you’ll recall that we covered the murders of DePrisco and Bratsos after their ill fated trip to the Nite Lite Lounge. Deprisco was shot four times in the head at close range and Bratsos was shot twice in the head. According to Vinny Teresa, Larry Baione, Phil Waggenheim, Ralphie Chong and his brother, Joe Black were the ones who took out DePrisco and Bratsos after refusing their demands for money. After their request was denied, DePrisco and Bratsos attempted to hold them up at gunpoint and demanded they empty their pockets. Not only were they killed, but their pockets were emptied of the $12,000 they had collected from their prior shakedowns. 



Nina:

 

There isn’t a lot of information on their backgrounds, but I’ll share what I found. 

 

Arthur Bratsos was born on April 11, 1930 to Greek immigrants, Costas and Lemona Bratsos. He worked as a loan shark under Barboza’s protection after buying out Guy Frizzi’s shylock business. It’s believed that Barboza trusted Tash because of his loyalty, and kept him close because one of his brothers was a cop. 



Lara:

 

Here’s a twist for you, Arthur’s brother James. He had a record going back to the late 1940s for B&Es and breaking out of jail with a toothpick. In January of 1951, James broke into the Newton home of Max Kramer. While he was out on bail he committed another burglary in Dorchester. Then at 1 in the morning on March 6th, James was shot at outside of his apartment building by three men. James returned fire and claimed he hit one of the men. Larry Baione turned up at the city hospital with a bullet in his calf. Red Assad also appeared at the hospital with a bullet wound.



Nina:

 

You mean Red Acid?



Lara:

 

Hey, you’re working on your Boston accent!

 

For our listeners who missed episode 33, I always heard the guys say “Red Acid” and I didn’t realize his name was Assad until I was twenty something.

 

Anyhow, James also found himself charged with assault and battery with intent to murder, but cleared of the charges two weeks later. The charges in the Dorchester hold up were dropped and James was still free on bail for the Newton house break when he was arrested on April 27th after breaking into a grocery store on Harrison Ave. Bratsos' bail was doubled, but on May 24th, the jury found him not guilty and he was once again free to go. The judge was livid, and chastised the jury for their verdict. In late June, James was back in court for the Dorchester B&E. This time the jury returned a guilty verdict, and he received 2 ½ to 3 years in State Prison.

 

In November of 1952, the charges against Larry Baione were dismissed. On February 20, 1954 James was released from prison, but on April 14th, his mother reported him missing. A tip was called in that his body was at the bottom of Glen Echo Lake in Stoughton. It was also rumored that Larry took his body to his family’s pig farm in Stoughton where the pigs ate him. To this day James is still listed as a missing person.



Nina:

 

You have to assume that was one of the reasons Flemmi, Barboza, Bratsos and the rest of their crew had it in for Larry.

 

Now, I’ve got a strange one for you.

 

On Tommy DePrisco’s death record it says he was born on October 12, 1942 in Roslindale to Ralph (Raphael) DePrisco and Elizabeth Kearns. Ralph died five months before Tommy was born. His mother would have been 47 years old when she had Tommy. To add to that Ralph and Elizabeth were married in 1917, but didn’t have their first child until ‘42. To top it off there is no birth record for Tommy! And in the 1940 census she was living alone in a rooming house! 



Lara:

 

Who knows where Tommy came from! We’ll have to do some snooping when we have some free time. 

 

As for Tommy’s record, he was running scams on cashiers. He’d hand a $10 bill to the cashier say for a $3 purchase then insist that he gave them a $20 bill.



Nina:

 

Allegedly, Tommy had problems collecting payments from Tony Veranis. Although Tommy was tough, he wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. Tommy’s run in with Veranis was another reason that was floated around for why Johnny Martorano killed him. Supposedly Veranis bragged to Martorano that he had kicked DePrisco out of a bar in South Boston.

 

And before you say anything, no I don’t buy that story!




Lara:

 

Good!

 

When Barboza found out about what happened to DePrisco and Bratsos he lost it. He got word to Chico Amico, and ordered him to take out Phil Waggenheim. But the LCN found out about the plan and Chico’s death warrant was signed. 

 

While the wiseguys were planning to take out Amico, Wimpy Bennett was cooking up his own scheme and privately urging Amico to kill Larry Baione. Like Barboza and Bratsos, Wimpy hated Baione and was quite vocal about it, so his suggestion to take Baione out didn’t come as a surprise.



Nina:

 

Man, Wimpy was duplicitous! Going to Raymond and Jerry telling them one story then plotting to take out one of their guys.

 

Ralphie Chong Lamattina would plead guilty to being an accessory after the fact in the murders of Bratsos and DePrisco in February of 1967, and sentenced to 10-14 years in state prison. But Ralphie wouldn’t tell the cops what they really wanted to know: who the trigger man had been. 

 

The ADA Pino complained bitterly: “Lamattina has taken the easiest way out of this thing by coming and pleading guilty and then walking out. That way the case is closed.”

 

During the court hearing, Det. Frank Walsh of the BPD testified that Bratsos had phoned Chico Amico from the payphone at the Nite Lite shortly before he was killed.

 

It was also later revealed that the morning their bodies were found Wimpy Bennet had been ringing up Det. Billy Stuart, feeding him all the gossip he had heard about the killings.



Lara:

 

Guess that's why Wimpy vanished in 3 pounds of lye and a garbage bag.

 

Back to Amico.

 

On December 7, 1966 twenty-five-year-old Joseph “Chico” Amico was shot and killed in his car outside of Alfonso's Broken Hearts Club. The driver of the car was Jimmy Kearns. Less than an hour earlier, they had both been at the El Morocco, a club owned by Larry Baione. 

 

Supposedly they were there looking for Larry in order to kill him. Instead they found one of Larry’s cousins who Chico proceeded to slap across the face telling him, “this is for Larry.” 

 

But another witness at the time claimed that Chico was begging, “Please straighten it out. It’s my life. You’ve got to straighten it out.”

 

And it was Kearns who punched another man at the bar in the eye.

 

Someone at the El Morocco called the cops, and the two men left, with Chico saying, “We’re leaving. We don’t want any trouble.”

 

As they were leaving El Morocco they mentioned that they were heading to Alfonso’s. The moment they left, a call was placed to Alfonso’s giving them a heads up. Nobody at Alfonso’s gave them any trouble, the two men had a drink, and went to leave. As they stepped out of the door Guy Frizzi gave a signal by tapping on the window. The two men got into their rented 1967 green sedan and as they pulled away, Joseph JR Russo opened fire with his favorite weapon, a carbine. He fired a perfect shot through the back of Amico’s head, but instead of the bullet exiting the front of his skull it pushed his eyes out of their sockets leaving them dangling. 



Nina:

 

The second shot entered Kearns’ back, but he managed to keep driving until he careened over an embankment and the car landed in a field, crashing into a utility pole. Forensics said a total of six rounds hit the vehicle. Casings from the .30 caliber semi-automatic were found along the route that the men had taken on Squires Road. The press at the time noted the similarities between the murder of Chico and the murders of Stevie and Connie Hughes earlier in the year.

 

But if that’s true, it makes me question our assumption that Johnny and Stevie Flemmi killed the Hughes Brothers. The two men never claimed to have killed Connie, and Stevie Flemmi only admitted to killing Stevie Hughes much later. But maybe that was just another lie. Raymond probably decided that the Hughes were too unpredictable and needed to be removed, and sent JR Russo to do the job.

 

Amazingly, Kearns survived with only cuts from the shattered glass from the back window of the car and an injured foot from when he hit the utility pole. But he’d soon find himself behind bars as an accessory after the fact in Amico’s murder. Kearns went on the lam in March of 1967, but was arrested in Los Angeles in June and extradited back to Massachusetts. There will be more to come about Kearns’ criminal career in this season and the next.  





Lara:

 

The year before in May of 1965, Amico reportedly tried to kill Connie Hughes with the help of Guy Frizzzi. The botched hit left Connie’s car with a blown out rear window as he led the would be assassins on a high speed chase through the streets of Chelsea. When news of the failed attempt reached Barboza, he decided to take matters into his own hands. While he laid in wait in the alley behind Connie’s house, Connie himself approached Barboza and led him on a wild chase along with his brother Stevie who Barboza didn’t realize was also in the car. Stevie opened fire blasting out the windshield of Barboza’s vehicle. Barboza was unscathed, and the Hughes Brothers vanished into the night leaving Barboza more pissed off than ever. 



Nina:

 

May 1965 was a busy month. 

 

The reason Barboza had it in for the Hughes Brothers was that he believed it was them who had tried to kill Jimmy Flemmi earlier that month. Supposedly Wimpy Bennett tried to convince Barboza that Connie had an airtight alibi for the night of Jimmy’s shooting, but he didn’t give such promises about Stevie. In fact, according to Wimpy, Stevie Hughes was the hitter. As we’ve recounted in previous episodes, Jimmy Flemmi included Spike O’Toole and Punchy McLaughlin in his version of events to H Paul Rico.



Lara:

 

Then in March of ‘66 it was Wimpy Bennett who tried to kill Stevie and Connie Hughes outside of Connie’s home in Malden, resulting in Stevie having to have his spleen removed. As we mentioned earlier Connie was forced to flee and leave Stevie there waiting for help. When asked by police about the shooting later Connie said, “Stevie was shot, period.” 

 

In 1980 Stephen Hughes' son, Stephen III was shot to death in his driveway while unloading groceries from his car. 18 years later, John Burke of Charlestown confessed to the murder as part of a plea agreement. Burke claimed he killed Hughes in self defense and claimed that the bank robber, Hughes, was planning to kill him. Sad that three generations followed the same path.



Nina:

 

No shortage of twists and turns in this story, or connections between the victims of the gang war in 1966. Including the fact that Stevie Hughes’ wife, Eleanor, and Jimmy Kearns were first cousins. 



Lara:

 

That is soooo Boston!

 

Next week, we’re going to be profiling the men of the Nite Lite and some of the other men in Jerry Angiulo’s circle. Let’s include Domenic Ciambelli aka Red Hogan!



Nina:

 

You’ve been dying to tell Red Hogan’s story!



Lara:

 

Now’s my chance! 

 

Hope you join us again! As always, thanks for listening! I’ll spare you my usual plea for subscribers, likes, shares and donations!



Nina & Lara:

 

BYE!!!