Accused ex-mobster, 83, to face charges on 1993 Boston killing

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 08, 2016 9:44 AM

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - An 83-year-old man accused of being an ex-mobster and his alleged henchman are due in Boston federal court on Thursday, where they are charged with the 1993 murder of an associate whose body was dug up in Rhode Island earlier this year.

Francis "Cadillac" Salemme, 83, is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday on the charge of murdering a federal witness, Steven DiSarro, the manager of a nightclub that Salemme and his son had a stake in.

Salemme and 61-year-old Paul Weadick have both proclaimed themselves innocent. The crime dates back to when James "Whitey" Bulger's Irish-American Winter Hill crime gang and the Italian Mafia fought for control of Boston's underworld.

Federal prosecutors said Salemme and Weadick were both members of the Mafia.

Weadick is also due in court to ask a judge to release him on bail ahead of his trial with Salemme.

Carmine Lepore, Weadick's lawyer, has said federal prosecutors have little evidence linking the two to the killing beyond the testimony of Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, a former member of Bulger's gang who testified against his ex-boss at his 2013 trial. Both Bulger and Flemmi are now serving life in prison.

Weadick does not pose a flight risk, Lepore said in court papers filed on Wednesday.

"Even with news of the arrest of Francis Salemme a couple of weeks ago, the defendant did not flee," Lepore wrote.

DiSarro's body was discovered in Providence, Rhode Island, in March in an unmarked grave near a business once owned by suspected mobsters.

The pair are not the only aging alleged ex-mobsters facing prosecution in New England.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in Connecticut next week for the trial of Robert Gentile, 80, on charges of selling a loaded firearm to a convicted murder in federal sting operation.

Prosecutors said Gentile knew the whereabouts of artwork stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. That $500 million art heist stands as the largest in U.S. history.

Gentile has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of that crime.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)