Black Lives Didn’t Matter When Three Blacks Were Found Murdered:

Going through the Boston Globe archives I found there were six articles that included the name of Elizabeth F. Dickson since January of 1988. One of these was on March 17, 1988. That was on State Treasurer Crane Unclaimed Money list. Is it a wonder it was there, she had been dead since January 6, 1968. There were only three about any investigation into her death. One on September 9, 1999, she was mentioned in a column by Adrian Walker..

Under the name Douglas Barrett there were fifteen listings. Of those only three related to the January 6, 1968 incident and he two was mentioned in Walker’s column. There would have been four mentions of him except one Globe article named him Douglas Kendall. He lived on Kendall Street so that was understandable if you don’t have a particular interest in the matter.

The third person who was involved in the matter that forever bound their names together was Herbert Smith. He too had as few as four mentions in matters involving how he died. Considering their deaths, it seemed they were greeted with a big yawn. It was not the typical response one would expect from such an incident.

Herbert Smith was 47-years-old. Douglas Kendall was 17, and Elizabeth F. Dickson was 19. They were all black. They were killed while sitting in a car parked on Normandy Street in Roxbury on a snowy night. All had been shot in the back of the head by John Martorano. A triple homicide was handled by the Boston police as if it were a car accident. It wasn’t just the police, it was the Boston Globe and other local media as well as the federal agencies. No one cared.

The first article about the murders was on page 17 on January 7, 1968 the day after the murders. It identified Smith as an assistant manager of a South End night club, Basin Street South; it identified Dickson as being “dressed in a purple knit “go-go outfit.”  Police surmised “the killer was well-known to the victims.”

The next day on page 34, Dickson’s name then being spelled as Dixon, the police said all victims had a good reputation and had money on them but they were baffled by the murders.  Later that year on November 13 in conjunction with another matter it reported that their murders were never solved.

Their names vanished as apparently did the investigation or any interest in it until John Martorano confessed to murdering them. Of course there was no way back in 1968 the Boston Police could have learned that John Martorano owned Basin Street South and that he hung out there. Nor could they have found out that Stevie Flemmi had been beaten up the night before as Smith held his arm. Nor would they be expected to ask the Boston detective who was there and saw Smith and Martorano and others in the bar. Nor did it seem the FBI particularly cared when an informant told them Steve Flemmi had been beaten up by Smith. Not that Flemmi being a Top Echelon Informant would weigh into the FBI’s decision to investigate the incident.

it seemed the evidence of who was involved in the murder was laid out on a silver platter before anyone who was interested in finding out something about the murder.  Where was the Suffolk County district attorney Garrett Byrne who had been DA from 1952 to 1978?

Byrne on June 27,, 1978, after learning of the five men killed at Blackfriar’s in Boston announced:  “he had set up a special committee that would meet tomorrow to coordinate an investigation of the killings.” He  was also quoted as saying he had “never witnessed a more shocking crime.” 

Sure the killing of five white men who many believed involved in criminal activities was shocking; but what about the killing of two teenagers and a 47-year-old guy all with good reputations. If they were white do you think it would be a ho-hum type deal? And you think black lives mattered?

7 thoughts on “Black Lives Didn’t Matter When Three Blacks Were Found Murdered:

  1. Matt, I just remembered, the reason the five killed got so much of a full court press was one of them was a journalist,, Jack Kelly . .so the boyos in the Press, Media, and State House and DAs and Cops put the full court press on . . .

    The reason the press/cops/DAs went light on Martorano’s murders was his and the Mafia’s bars were feeding them all free drinks and tickets to ride.

    The reason the Press, Media, etc went soft on Wyshak & the FEDs was because the Press Media liked the perpetual feed of Leaks they were getting from Wyshak’s and the other FED prosecutors’ Offices . . . .they couldn’t criticize Freddie and the FEDS or else the leaks might dry up . . . .it’s a dirty, two way street; the leak corrupts the leaker and the leakee, as much as the free drink corrupts the giver (briber) and taker (cop, press corps, DA, judge) . . .it’s the old buddy buddy system, one hand washing the other, while the rinse from their dirty hands is shaken off on the rest of us, the honest folks in society.
    It stinks to high heaven . . .

  2. Matt: These are and were shocking murders. You have to wonder how many more executions Martorano may have kept to himself for one reason or another. Hard to believe this guy is walking the streets!

  3. An apt postscript. In my 2006 book, The Fix: The Corruption of Massachusetts Courts and Agencies, I described many corrupt Court/Agency/Lawyer actions . . .and I wrote describing the last case I was till appealing then: “When this case is over, I am going to retire from the practice of law, as I am sick of the way it is practiced in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” The Deceit, Trickery, Falsehoods, Hubris, Indifference. I did turn in my license and retired shortly thereafter.
    The same sense of disgust at the injustice abides. And the disgust extends beyond the “Mass. justice system” to the Media, Academia, FED prosecutors, etc.

  4. Why didn’t the award winning Spotlight team show any interest in this case? If only one reporter at the Herald, Globe or other media outlets wrote about this massacre the Police would be compelled to conduct an investigation. What about the cold case squad? Is it too late for justice? Will the new DA Rollins have any interest in this matter? Can she defy the Feds and say any agreement not to prosecute was fraudulently obtained? The deal with the Feds and Martorano was clearly illegal. One has to tell the whole truth. The witness can’t hide his brothers or friends crimes. That deal should be negated.

    1. And of course it involved the merry rogue local television reporter, Jack Kelly, a murdered colleague !!!

  5. I am also convinced that Martorano lied about the killing of Tony Veranis in the 1960s. The two different versions he told Howie Carr repeated in Carr’s book “Hitman” . . .that Martorano beat a professional boxer, retired, working construction, sober, to the draw of guns (when no way Tony was carrying gun, just a year or less out of jail himself, supporting his mom and dad like a Mark Wahlburg in Savin Hill, too.) or that the fat slob Martorano (he looked that way in his 1960s photos . . .overfed, corpulent, fat) that he Martorano “out muscled” a professional fighter working construction clean and sober Tony fought at welterweight, retired at 20, (26-2-2 Pro Record) so by 26 he likely was 165-170 pounds lean, mean, muscle, lighting fast hands, his KO record was 50%, so he could punch like a mule could kick, No Way Martorano out muscled him or beat him to the draw.
    In other words Martorano lied . . .probably to save his brother Jimmy who we heard Tony beat up in a fair fight: Jimmy and his friend; two guys at once; and fat boy Martorano was going? to “outfight” Tony? A total fabrication . . .

    Well, I’ve written about this in my books and sent letters to Congressman, DOJ, I believe the Gov of Florida forwarded one to Elizabeth Warren . . .no, I’m sure of it; he copied me on the letter he sent Warren . . .and NOT ONE OF THEM Has even bothered to look into it . . .the same indifference, apathy, official brush off, that greeted the killing of the teenage girl, teenage boy and forty year old man in the 1960s . . . .Ho Hum!…….What do we care if Martorano kills or lies? THE OFFICIAL STANCE . . .it makes honest folks sick to their guts . . . .

  6. No one cared then. It wasn’t color. If the three were three whites . . .two poor teenagers from the projects and a 47 barkeep, back then they wouldn’t care.
    Plus who knows how many reporters the Hoods had on the payroll? How many DAs were paid to keep quiet, no . . .just given free drinks to look the other way . . .who were these three anyone . . .just human beings . . .and the likely killers, well we all know they were the Mafia hit men, Martorano brothers, Steve Flemmi and the like, but let’s not bother them . . . let’s look the other way . . . .

    That was an “official” attitude back then, when many LAUGHED and SMILED at the Wise Guy Killers. When the known killers openly hung on the corners and up the barrooms . . . .when everyone gave them a wide spread, and the cops hands were seemingly tied.

    What really galled me later was when Carr and Cullen started writing the words of the conscienceless serial killer sociopath (nearly a psychopath) Martorano as if they were Gospel. The Boston Jury rejected every word he said. Yet Carr and Cullen treated him like he was royalty, issuing infallible edicts, telling “the truth.”

    And yes, equally I condemn the Federal Prosecutors for the deals they cut with these serial killers (Martorano, Flemmi, Salemme (initially freed) Morris (attempted murderer) and Weeks (accessory to five murders) . . . .if the zealot Wyshak had been patient he would have had Weeks, Flemmi, Salemme . . .all of them squealing on each other . . . .and Flemmi’d be executed and so too Martorano in Florida.

    But NO>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>The FEDs had to FRY Political Fish . . .

    Sleazy, sleazy stuff all around

    Good writing, Matt.

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