BOSTON (Reuters) - An octogenarian former New England mob boss was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday as the grown children of a nightclub owner he was convicted of murdering in 1993 accused him of devastating their lives and being “pure evil.”
Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 85, looked through paperwork as three of club owner Steven DiSarro’s children spoke in Boston federal court about how they suffered for over two decades not knowing what happened to their father.
Salemme, who was sentenced alongside associate Paul Weadick, 63, to a mandatory life prison term by U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs, was only charged after DiSarro’s remains were found in 2016 buried behind a mill in Providence, Rhode Island.
Nick DiSarro, one of DiSarro’s sons, described the pain he felt as sat through each day of Salemme’s trial listening to testimony about his father’s brutal murder.
“As hard as it was to hear the pure evil day in and day out, I got the answers necessary,” he said.
Michael DiSarro, another of the late DiSarro’s children, told Salemme: “You’re a coward and a murderer, and I am happy to see you will be spending what days you have left in a cell.”
Salemme, who is expected to appeal his June conviction, said in court that DiSarro’s family had a “right to feel like that, but they don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know the truth.”
The case harkened back to an era when organized crime in Boston was run by Salemme, who headed the New England family of La Cosa Nostra in the 1990s, and James “Whitey” Bulger, the gangster now serving life in prison whose crimes were depicted in the 2015 film “Black Mass.”
Prosecutors said Salemme had a secret interest in a music venue called The Channel that DiSarro purchased.
Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, a longtime partner of Bulger’s who also knew Salemme, testified that Salemme became concerned DiSarro was speaking to authorities and might implicate him in criminal activities.
Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence for 10 murders, said he witnessed DiSarro’s strangling on May 10, 1993, when he went to Salemme’s home to talk to Salemme. Flemmi said he saw Salemme’s now-deceased son, Frank Jr., strangling DiSarro as Weadick held his legs and the elder Salemme watched.
Flemmi, 84, said he quickly left, but added Salemme later told him DiSarro was killed and that his body was buried in Rhode Island.
Reporting by Nate Raymond; editing by Scott Malone, Jeffrey Benkoe and G Crosse