Target 12

Prosecutor: Mob codefendant ‘miserably fails' to make case for new trial

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Prosecutors in the trial of a former mob boss and an associate swatted down one defendant's demand for a new trial saying the defense team “miserably fails” to establish any reason to retry the case.

Last week, Paul Weadick, 62, filed a motion at U.S. District Court in Boston asked for his guilty verdict to be tossed and requested a new trial. 

Weadick and codefendant, former Mafia don Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, were found guilty in the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner, and Providence native, Steven Disarro.

In response to Weadick’s request, Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak wrote Weadick “miserably fails to establish any basis for the requested relief.”

In his motion for a new trial, Weadick argued it was improper to be tried alongside Salemme, who was a heavy-hitter in the mob, arguing it made it “guilt by association.”

“The defendant’s brief simply contain the same old and tired arguments that he unsuccessfully made throughout the litigation in this case,” Wyshak wrote. “While the tenor of these arguments may have been appropriate during pre-trial litigation and during the trial of this matter, they now lack force and vitality in the face of the jury’s verdict.”

Wyshak said the evidence against Weadick was “overwhelming,” pointing to testimony from notorious Boston gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who told jurors he walked in on the murder of DiSarro and saw Weadick holding the victim’s legs while Salemme’s son (who has since died of natural causes) strangled DiSarro.

Prosecutors said the Salemmes wanted DiSarro killed because the then-mob boss feared DiSarro was going to cooperate with federal investigators.

At trial, prosecutors called former stripper Lara Eldridge to the stand, who used to date Weadick at the time of the murder. Eldridge said she met Weadick at "The Channel," a South Boston nightclub that DiSarro owned and the Salemmes had a hidden interest in.

“Lara Eldridge testified that the defendant made statements that indicated that the defendant was angry with DiSarro because he had a “big mouth,” was avoiding meeting with the defendant and Salemme Jr.,” Wyshak wrote. “Lara Eldridge also testified that the defendant indicated that he had been involved in the murder of DiSarro and had given Eldridge a worn man’s bracelet that belonged to DiSarro.”

Former Rhode Island mob captain Robert “Bobby” DeLuca testified that Salemme told him Weadick drove DiSarro to the mob boss's home where he was murdered.

DiSarro’s body was exhumed from behind a mill building on Branch Avenue in Providence in March 2016.

Salemme and Weadick face a mandatory sentence of life behind bars for being found guilty of “murder of a witness.” They are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13 at Boston’s federal court.

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

This article was modified from its original to correct the spelling of Lara Eldridge's first name.


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