BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) – The fates of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick are now in the hands of a jury at federal court in Boston.
After a brief rebuttal by prosecutors following Monday’s lengthy closing remarks, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs gave the jury instructions and sent them to begin their deliberations Tuesday.
The jury of 10 women and six men – four of whom are alternates and will not take part in deliberations – have a mountain of evidence to comb through from a trial that began on May 9.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 62, are each charged with murder of a witness. They are accused of taking part in the murder of Boston nightclub owner, and Providence native, Steven DiSarro in 1993. They have pleaded not guilty.
In summarizing the government’s case Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland told jurors that Salemme’s son, Frank Salemme Jr. (who died of lymphoma in 1995), strangled DiSarro while Weadick held his legs.
On Tuesday the DiSarro family released a statement thanking investigators, prosecutors and the courts for helping to put “many of our questions, and the questions of others, to rest and for that we are eternally grateful.”
“While we know nothing will bring him back, we now have the information surrounding the circumstances of what took him from us,” the statement read. “We have waited a long time for answers and explanations to things that are unexplainable.”
“Without the trial process, we would never have had access to these elements,” the family said.
The family has attended each day of testimony.
The killing was motivated by fear, Ferland said. Salemme was concerned DiSarro was going to cooperate with investigators in an ongoing probe that involved the South Boston nightclub “The Channel.” Investigators say Salemme and his son were silent partners in the club.
While the trial has taken place in Boston, Rhode Island has been front and center in the courtroom.
Longtime mobsters and associates of the Mafia’s Rhode Island faction took the witness stand, including made members of the mob Joseph and Robert “Bobby” DeLuca, as well as former mob associate Thomas Hillary, now in the Witness Protection Program. Jurors also heard from the acting head of the Rhode Island medical examiner’s officer.
DiSarro’s body was exhumed from behind a mill building on Branch Avenue in Providence in March 2016, reigniting the cold case.
The DeLuca brothers testified that Salemme delivered the body to Rhode Island, where they buried it.
Defense attorneys have argued Salemme – the former mob boss of New England La Cosa Nostra – was too high in the underworld food chain to transport a body himself, particularly considering he was under intense FBI surveillance.
They also painted the government’s witnesses as a lineup of liars and convicted felons.
Jurors heard 24 days of testimony from 34 witnesses and took a field trip to Salemme’s former home in Sharon, Massachusetts – where investigators say the murder took place – along with the mill building where the body was exhumed.
Tuesday afternoon, jurors asked the judge for transcripts of two sercretly recorded FBI conversations, including a 1992 call where DiSarro can be heard talking to a bookmaker about acquiring “The Channel.” They also asked for a 1991 bugged conversation where Salemme recounts how he warned his son not to trust DiSarro.