Ex-mafia boss “Cadillac Frank” Salemme dies in prison at the age of 89

BOSTON (AP) — Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, the once-powerful New England mob boss who was serving a life sentence behind bars for the 1993 killing of a Boston nightclub owner, has died at the age of 89, according to the Bureau of Investigation prisons.

Salemme died Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Prisons’ online records. Bureau officials did not immediately respond to an email Sunday asking for more information. Salemme’s death was first reported by WPRI-TV on Sunday.

Salemme ran the Patriarca crime family in Boston in the early 1990s before helping prosecutors convict a corrupt FBI agent after learning other mobsters had spoken to authorities about him.

Salemme, who has admitted to a string of other gangland murders, was living under the name Richard Parker in Atlanta when the nightclub owner’s remains were unearthed in 2016, making the elderly ex-mafia don yet another government target.

Salemme’s 2018 trial became a throwback to the days when the New England mob was a feared and powerful force. Salemme claimed he had nothing to do with Steven DiSarro’s death but was convicted after his once best friend testified against him.

Salemme was involved in numerous murders in Boston’s gang wars in the 1960s and spent 16 years behind bars for trying to kill a lawyer, who survived but lost a leg when his car was blown up in 1968. After his release from prison, Salemme was badly wounded in a shootout outside a pancake house in suburban Boston.

His reign as mob boss ended when he, notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and others were indicted in a full-scale racketeering case in 1995. Salemme and Bulger fled after being alerted to the impending indictment by Bulger’s FBI agent, John Connolly Jr.

Salemme was arrested in Florida a few months later, while Bulger spent 16 years on the run before being arrested in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 81. Bulger was killed in prison by fellow inmates in 2018 at the age of 89.

The criminal case revealed that Bulger and Salemme’s best friend, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, had been secretly working as an FBI informant. Angered that his fellow mobsters had turned on him, Salemme agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with authorities.

Salemme testified in 2002 against Connolly, who was convicted of helping Bulger avoid prosecution. In return, Salemme was released early from prison and entered the witness protection program.

At his 2018 trial in Boston, Salemme, with his smooth back, straggly gray hair and thin stature, was almost unrecognizable from the hulking, feared mob boss juries that jurors saw in grainy 1990s surveillance photos.

Another former mobster told authorities he saw Salemme’s son strangle DiSarro while Weadick held the nightclub owner’s feet and Salemme stood by. Salemme’s son, known as “Frankie Boy”, died in 1995.

DiSarro’s nightclub, The Channel, was under investigation at the time over the Salemmes’ involvement in the deal. Shortly before DiSarro’s death, the FBI informed him that he was about to be charged and should work with the government against the Salemmes.

Salemme’s longtime attorney Steven Boozang said Sunday he saw his client as nothing but a “gentleman” and that he believes the man had “regrets for many things that he had done in his life, particularly the impact on his immediate family and the families of others.”

Before he was sentenced to life in prison in 2018, Salemme rose from his chair, called the procedure “ridiculous” and said DiSarro’s family wasn’t told the truth. But he seemingly predicted years earlier that his own story would end up behind bars.

“You’re not going to beat the government,” Salemme told a reporter in 2004. “Let’s be honest. One way or another they will get you.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/18/ex-mafia-boss-cadillac-frank-salemme-dies-in-prison-at-89/ Ex-mafia boss “Cadillac Frank” Salemme dies in prison at the age of 89

JACLYN DIAZ

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