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Attorney wants Boston jury to visit Providence mob dig site

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The lawyer representing a former mob boss wants to take a jury on a morbid field trip.

As the murder trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme looms at federal court in Boston, Salemme’s attorney, Steven Boozang, filed a “motion for jury view” on Friday asking the court to bring a potential jury on a tour of two venues central to the case.

If approved, the jury would take a bus ride from South Boston to 715 Branch Ave. in Providence, the location of a mill building where investigators say the victim of a 1993 gangland slaying, Steven DiSarro, was buried.

“A view of the above locations will assist the trial jury to properly evaluate the testimony of … witnesses far more effectively than a presentation and display of photographs of the two locations,” Boozang wrote.

Boozang also asked that the jury be permitted to tour the former Sharon, Massachusetts, home of Salemme where prosecutors claim DiSarro was strangled to death. DiSarro, a Boston nightclub owner, was 43 years old when he went missing; his body was not unearthed until March 2016. The discovery led to the arrest of Salemme, who was charged with murder of a witness.

DiSarro managed South Boston nightclub The Channel at the time of his death, and prosecutors have previously said he disappeared after the club became the focus of a criminal probe by the FBI.

The filing also reveals which individuals Salemme’s legal team anticipates will testify at trial for prosecutors, including Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, the former underworld colleague of James “Whitey” Bulger. Prosecutors have said Flemmi claims to have walked into Salemme’s Sharon home during the murder.

Investigators said Salemme was there as his son, Frank Salemme Jr., strangled DiSarro while another man, Paul Weadick, held the victim’s legs. Salemme’s son died in 1995 of natural causes, while Weadick is a co-defendant in the murder trial.

As Target 12 previously reported, longtime Rhode Island mob capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca is expected to testify at the trial. He has already pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI about what he knew of the DiSarro murder and is behind bars in Massachusetts ahead of the trial.

Boozang’s court filing shows attorneys also expect DeLuca’s brother, Joseph DeLuca, of North Providence, to testify. In court paperwork, prosecutors claim the DeLuca brothers retrieved DiSarro’s body in 1993 from the trunk of a car driven by Salemme, and then brought it to the Branch Avenue mill building where he was buried.

Joseph DeLuca has been granted immunity from prosecution, according to court documents.

Another name on the potential witness list is William Ricci, who used to own the mill building and is an associate of Robert DeLuca.

The search for DiSarro’s body was reignited three weeks after Ricci was ensnared in a federal sting on an illegal marijuana grow operation inside his mill building. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Ricci received a light sentence – just three years of probation for a drug conspiracy and gun possession charges.

Ricci’s lawyer has not responded to questions about his cooperation with prosecutors.

Both Weadick and Salemme have pleaded not guilty. Jury selection is scheduled for April 23.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

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