BOSTON – Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, the former Mafia boss of New England’s crime family, died at a federal prison earlier this week, authorities said. He was 89.
Salemme died on Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Prisons’ online records.
Salemme was serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Missouri after he was convictedin the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro, WPRI-TV reported. In March, Salemme lost his final chance for a new trial when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal.
Bureau officials did not immediately respond to an email seeking more information, according to The Associated Press.
Salemme led the Patriarca crime family in Boston during the early 1990s before helping prosecutors convict a corrupt FBI agent, the AP reported. He was living in Atlanta under the name Richard Parker when DiSarro’s remains were discovered in 2016.
Two years later, federal prosecutors won a conviction after convincing a jury of 10 women and six men that Salemme and co-defendant Paul Weadick killed DiSarro in Salemme’s home, WPRI reported. The duo then received help from Robert DeLuca and his brother Joe to bury DiSarro’s body behind a mill building in Providence, Rhode Island, according to the television station.
Weadick is currently serving a life sentence.
Informed of Salemme’s death, DiSarro’s son, Nick DiSarro, told WPRI, “The world is better off without him. Good riddance.”
Steven Boozang, Salemme’s former attorney, called the crime boss “a gentleman” and “honest and forthright” with him in their interactions.
“I think he regretted a lot of things in his life but came from a different era,” Boozang told WPRI. “I think he felt particularly bad for the hardship that came to his family and to other families.”
Salemme was wounded in 1989 when masked gunmen opened fire as he walked into a pancake house in Saugus, Massachusetts, according to the television station. He survived the assassination attempt, but another crime boss, William “Billy” Grasso, of Connecticut, was killed.
The shootings marked the beginning of a mob war that ended when then-boss Raymond “Junior” Patriarca inducted new members, WPRI reported. Salemme took over the family in 1992 when Patriarca was imprisoned, according to the television station.
Salemme’s reign as boss ended in 1995 when he was charged, along with Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and others, in a racketeering case, the AP reported.
Salemme was eventually sentenced to 11 years in prison, where he learned that Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi were FBI informants, the AP reported.
Because of that, Salemme agreed to provide information about Bulger and his Winter Hill gang.
At his 2018 trial, Salemme called the proceedings “ridiculous,” but he had predicted years earlier that he would wind up in prison.
“You’re not going to beat the government,” Salemme told a reporter in 2004, according to the AP. “Let’s face it. One way or the other, they’re going to get you.”
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