BOSTON – Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, the former Mafia boss of a New England crime family, died in a federal prison earlier this week, authorities said. He was 89 years old.
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Salemme died Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Prisons’ online records.
Salemme was serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Missouri after he was convicted of the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro, WPRI-TV reported. In March, Salmme lost his last chance for a new trial when the US Supreme Court refused to hear his case.
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 in the early 1990s before helping prosecutors indict a corrupt FBI agent, the AP reported. He was living in Atlanta under the name Richard Parker when DiSarro’s remains were found in 2016.
Two years later, federal prosecutors won a conviction after convincing a jury of 10 women and six men that Salemme and fellow inmate Paul Weadick killed DiSarro in Salemme’s home, WPRI reported. The couple then got help from Robert DeLuca and his brother Joe to bury DiSarro’s body behind a mill in Providence, Rhode Island, according to the television station.
Weadick is currently serving a life sentence.
When told of Salemme’s death, DiSarro’s son, Nick DiSarro, told WPRI, “The world is better off without him. Good faith.”
Steven Boozang, Salemme’s former attorney, called the prosecutor a “gentleman” and “honest and genuine” with him in their dealings.
“I think he regretted a lot of things in his life but he left at one point,” Boozang told WPRI. “I think he was very upset because of the hardship that came to his family and other families.”
Salemme was injured in 1989 when masked gunmen opened fire as he entered a pancake house in Saugus, Massachusetts, according to a television station. He survived the assassination attempt, but another crime boss, William “Billy” Grasso, of Connecticut, was killed.
The shooting marked the beginning of a mob war that ended when chief Raymond “Junior” Patriarca recruited new members, WPRI reported. Salemme took the family in 1992 when Patriarca was arrested, according to the television station.
Salemme’s reign as boss ended in 1995 when he was indicted, along with Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and others, in a racketeering case, the AP reported.
Salemme was later sentenced to 11 years in prison, where he learned that Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi were FBI informants, the AP reported.
As a result, Salmme agreed to provide information about Bulger and his Winter Hill gang.
At his trial in 2018, Salemme called the trial “a farce,” but had predicted years earlier that he would end up in prison.
“You’re not going to win the government,” Salemme told a reporter in 2004, according to the AP. “Let’s talk about it. One way or another, they will get you. “
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