North End Murders – EDWARD “TEDDY” DEEGAN

March 12, 1965 – 

The murder of Teddy Deegan has been talked about in Boston for decades. The reason is Joe “the Animal” Barboza along with several others were involved in murdering him. It was a planned murder that seemed to have little reason behind it as best one can tell. It was discussed with Raymond Patriarca by some of the men involved. It achieved fame because the FBI convinced Barboza to become a cooperating witness. With the help of two FBI agents, Barboza prepared his testimony. Barboza would testify against those he said were involved in Teddy Deegan’s murder with him: Roy French, Joseph Romeo Martin, Ronny Cassesso, Henry Tameleo, Louis Greco, Peter Limone and Joseph Salvati.

Joe “the Animal” Barboza

The only problem with his testimony was he lied about those involved. He omitted Jimmy Flemmi from the murder plot and inserted Joe Salvati in his place. He also added others whose involvement was highly questionable. Some of these men were sentenced to die and held on death row until Massachusetts did away with the death penalty.

It turned out that after Deegan was murdered, Barboza realized he was in a bad position that made him seek to make a deal with the FBI.  Barboza would admit to his role in the murder, implicate others, and then testify against other Mafia leaders including Raymond Patriarca and Jerry Angiulo. The deal was hard for the FBI to turn down. The FBI agents believed that if he lied a bit here and there they would overlook it for the greater goal of getting the Mafia.

The two FBI agents who Barboza worked closely with were Paul Rico and Dennis Condon. These agents knew Jimmy Flemmi was at the murder with Barboza. They also knew that he was not going to implicate his buddy Jimmy in the murder. They had no problem with Barboza putting an innocent person in his place.

Barboza inserted Joe Salvati a North End hang-around guy, who opened and closed doors at the Mafia owned barrooms. No one knows exactly why he picked on Salvati – some say because he owed him a couple of hundred dollars. I do not think that would cause Barboza to add him to a murder but who really knows with guys like Barboza. There were unlikely stories that Salvati played some sort of minor role in the murder. Unlikely because he was not into the rough stuff. Maybe it was simply Barboza knew where Salvati was that night and that he would have no alibi.

Naming Salvati who had a full head of hair created a problem. A Chelsea police captain saw the car Barboza was in around the time of and in the vicinity of the murder. He noticed the registration plate was bent up and sitting in the back seat of the car was a bald person. Jimmy Flemmi was bald. Barboza solved that by saying that Salvati wore a bald wig to disguise himself. A disguise on one murderer made no sense because no one else disguised themselves.

Barboza also added another guy, Louis Greco, as being at the murder. Greco did have an alibi. Greco was in Florida at the time. The jury choose not to believe Greco’s alibi and convicted him. It was said Barboza had some sort of beef with Greco that caused him to implicate him.

He added two important Mafia guys, Henry Tameleo and Peter Limone. They had relatively high positions in the Mafia and may have been the icing on the cake that got him the deal from the U.S. attorney and the FBI. The jury convicted all of the defendants. Some would die in prison while others got out after serving 25 or 30 years.

A civil case against the FBI and U.S. government was heard before Judge Nancy Gertner in the federal district court in Boston. It was based on the FBI’s knowingly putting on perjured testimony at the trial. After a lengthy hearing and a considered decision, Judge Gertner awarded twenty-five million plus to the families of Salvati, Greco, Tameleo, and Limone.

Gertner may have overcompensated for the FBI’s malfeasance. She was faced with the knowledge that the FBI knew Barboza was testifying falsely about Joe Salvati by putting him in the place of Jimmy Flemmi. Her examination of the other evidence was based on that knowledge so she resolved doubtful matters in favor of the defendants pretty much on the falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus doctrine, or, how can you believe any testimony from a guy and his handlers who clearly implicated an innocent guy.

The use of that doctrine here was most appropriate. It should be more universally applied to all these gangsters who live lives of lies. The government should never put forth career criminals as witnesses who as we have seen play loose with the truth without solid corroborating evidence substantiating their testimony.

Without faulting Judge Gertner, there was evidence that Tameleo and Limone may have been involved in approving the hit on Deegan. We know the hit had to be approved. We know that because an FBI electronic interception revealed that Barboza and Jimmy Flemmi sought Patriarca’s permission to murder Deegan. Patriarca told them to ask Jerry Angiulo. Tameleo would carry messages to Boston from Patriarca. Angiulo would use Limone as his mouthpiece.

Teddy Deegan

Barbosa and Jimmy Flemmi did get permission to carry out the murder. One could argue that Tameleo and Limone were involved in passing on the permission, or perhaps it was Angiulo himself. Gertner could accept that permission had been given but need not believe the people that Barbosa identified as having done it. Then she was faced with some evidence that showed that rather than approve of Deegan’s murder, Tameleo and Limone had a good relationship with Deegan, especially Limone.

The Deegan murder happened as best one can tell after a dry run and the approval by the Mafia. Deegan’s buddy Roy French set up the affair. Jimmy Flemmi seemed to be the moving party who told Patriarca that Deegan was an arrogant nasty thief who owed his brother money. It did not take much for one to lose his life.

French told Deegan they were to rob a finance company in Chelsea with Barboza, Jimmy Flemmi, Joseph Romeo Martin, and Ronnie Cassesso. The others planned not only to murder Deegan but also Anthony Stathopoulos who was to be with Deegan. It was said these hoodlums wanted to prove to Patriarca that they were capable of committing planned murders

The plan was for Stathopoulos to be in the getaway car when Deegan and French went into the alley leading to the finance company. Cassesso and Martin would wait for Deegan in the alley and shoot him. That part of the plan murdering Deegan worked out well.

The other part where Jimmy Flemmi and Barboza would shoot Stathopoulos when he was alone in the car did not. It went awry when Chelsea Police Captain Kozlowski, in plain clothes, was seen approaching their car. The mobsters fled the scene.

That night, witnesses stated that French, Barboza, Flemmi, Cassesso, and Martin left the Ebb Tide restaurant together at about 9:00 p.m. They stated that the group returned about 45 minutes later.  It was clear from these witnesses who were the main participants in the murder.

Barboza was facing a perilous future. Stathopoulos was on the loose as were others who could jam him in. He had to get a deal from the FBI. When he first talked to the FBI agents it is difficult to determine who brought up the subject of implicating Mafia higher ups in Deegan’s murder.  If he only implicated himself and those other nobodies who participated in the murder, the FBI would have no interest.

The FBI wanted Mafia convictions. That was J. Edgar Hoover’s highest priority. Whether the agents suggested it or he was already prepared to do it, he dangled the prospect of indicting some top Mafia hoodlums. Either one is likely. Once he was aware of the need it was easy to implicate the Mafia guys by conjuring up some act they did to aid and abet the murder such as suggesting they put him up to it. Once that was done Barboza had a ticket to an FBI deal and freedom.

I have pondered why he did not implicate Patriarca in the murder. The FBI had the tape that showed Barboza went to him for his approval. That tape was not admissible in evidence since it was installed illegally by the FBI.  Perhaps, the FBI figured out that naming Patriarca would require it to disclose the existence of its secret tape recordings, so its agents steered Barboza away from Patriarca. Or, maybe Barboza steered clear of Patriarca himself out of fear.

Barboza is supposed to have said that Henry Tameleo was one of the best guys he ever knew. Why then did he add him to the pot? Not including Patriarca but including Tameleo makes it difficult for me to avoid believing that the FBI directed who he should implicate. At a minimum, for those who are averse to believing FBI agents would deliberately implicate someone in a crime he or she did not commit, it is inescapable to recognize that FBI agents knew that Salvati had been substituted for Jimmy Flemmi. If FBI agents were willing to allow Salvati to be sentenced to prison for life for a crime they knew he was not involved in, cannot we conclude they would do it to others?


  1. Thanks, Bill. The assistance is so unbelievable that it can only be true!

  2. William F Fitzgerald

    Before the dawn of this internet fad, an attorney had told the Norfolk DA’s office that two FBI agents and the U S Attorney had gone to California as DEFENSE witnesses for Barboza who had murdered a guy named Wilson in Santa Rosa.
    My librarian cousin informed me of the inter library exchange where newspapers on microfiche could be sent from one library to another. I had the Santa Rosa library send articles to the Quincy Public Library. George Roche and I went to Quincy to view them and after finally locating someone with a library car, were astounded to see the incredible story by that attorney was true!
    Matt has captured this sad moment accurately and completely.

    This is a much later report about the Santa Rosa story: