You all know by now that four guys who were convicted of murdering Teddy Deegan were sent to prison for life. After a well orchestrated publicity plan two of them who were still alive were released; the other two had died in prison. All of them by the way were Mafia guys or hung around with them. They were not four guys who just happened to be walking down the street or were picked up out of lineup; they all knew the guys involved in the murder of Teddy Deegan. Long after the murder happened they or their estates sued for damages in federal district court where they were awarded in total over 100 million dollars by Judge Nancy Gertner, a former defense lawyer.
Her basis for overturning their convictions was that the main witness in the case, which was tried in the Suffolk County Superior Court and not the federal court, was Joseph “The Animal” Barboza (he went by the name Baron which is used in the quotes from the court decision and who is shown above) may have given some false testimony. Also, that some FBI agents knew about it and should have done something about it even though Barboza said he never told the FBI agents the full story.
What you never hear is that Barboza testified for two days on direct examination and six and a half days under withering cross-examination. You don’t hear much about the two other defendants in the case. You don’t hear that no one could murder anyone else in the area without the approval of Raymond L.S. Patriarca, and Gerry Angiulo if it was to happen in his jurisdiction. You don’t hear that Henry Tameleo and Peter Limone set up the murder. You don’t hear that Henry Tameleo, Peter Limone, Ronald Cassesso, and Joseph Salvati were indicted as accessory before the fact.
You may have heard Louis Grieco testified he was in Florida the night Deegan was murdered. You don’t hear that the jury knew that and didn’t believe him. You don’t hear that Barboza testified that Limone gave him $7500 to do the hit.
You don’t hear that Barboza testified “he spoke to Tameleo at the Ebb Tide. Baron reported to Tameleo that Limone had said “it would be all right to whack out Stathopoulos and . . . he was sure the office would okay it.” Tameleo replied, “[H]e has . . . as many sins as Deegan has and he goes too.” [Barboza] testified that, if Tameleo had not given this approval and the earlier approval of killing Deegan, he (Baron) would have done nothing further about killing Deegan and Stathopoulos.”
You don’t hear Barboza told him “that the Deegan contract was an office matter and that . . . Limone was the one that offered it” to Baron “and that it was okayed.” Baron told Cassesso “why the office wanted . . . Deegan wiped out.”
I suppose you don’t know Barboza testified: “Limone offered him a “contract” to kill Deegan for $7,500, which Limone said had been approved by the “office” and that Tameleo knew of it. Baron explained (without objection) that the “office” was what “people termed as the Cosa Nostra.” Limone gave reasons for offering the “contract.” (1) Deegan had participated in a theft from one Puopolo’s house. Harold Hannah and William Delaney had been with him. They already had been “found floating in the water” dead. (2) Deegan and Stathopoulos had been involved in the death (on October 17, 1964) of one Sacramone and “the office” was going to do something about it; and (3) Deegan had caused trouble, at the Ebb Tide Restaurant in Revere, and had caused annoyance to Limone. Baron told Limone that he wanted to speak to Tameleo about the proposal.” (My emphasis.)
You don’t hear of the over sixty murders being carried out at this time supposedly part of the McLaughlin/McLean feud but in fact mostly done by the Mafia (such as Harold Hannah, William Delaney, Romeo Martin, Teddy Deegan)
As for Grieco, Barboza testified “Grieco and Martin were to be in the alley before French and Deegan arrived.” (Martin was murdered 5 months after Deegan.) He said after the murder “Martin told the group that he was inside the doorway when he “heard a shot.” He “opened the door, and Deegan was just going to his knees.” Grieco “was already over him,” and “was firing into . . . [Deegan’s] chest.” After giving Grieco his money for the hit Barboza said Grieco “said he was going to use the alibi . . . that he never left Florida.” The guy who was supposed to be hit along with Deegan, Stathopoulos, testified he: “heard a volley of shots.” French reappeared and was joined by a “quite heavy” man with a gun in his hand who looked like Grieco.
Attorney John Fitzgerald whose car was bombed at the request of Patriarca testified “Grieco said that he knew how to straighten out Baron (by giving him “bread,” i.e. money). Tameleo said that Grieco “was his man and that any future deals” should “be made through . . . Grieco.” They would eventually offer Barboza $50,000 not to testify. Robert Glavin doing a life sentence testified: “Glavin testified that Ventola had told him that the “office” wanted Glavin “to cop out” (i.e. wrongly confess to) the Deegan murder, for which, Glavin was told, Cassesso had been indicted.” The “office” is a reference to the Boston Mafia.
Those quotes are from the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. One thing that would later seems likely was that Barboza lied about Joe Salvati being at the crime scene to cover-up for his buddy Jimmy Flemmi. What doesn’t appear out of line is the testimony against the others. Backing up Barboza’s testimony that this is a Mafia hit was that the FBI had intercepted a call involving the Mafia boss Patriarca with another who said Barboza came to him looking for permission to do the hit.
I will analyze Gertner’s decision at some time soon, I hope, but the idea that four innocent guys went to the can is pretty much a non starter.