May 20, 1965-
We know the famous Willie Sutton answer when he was asked why he robbed banks, he responded, “that’s where the money is.” That was the circumstance that led up to the killing of William E. Fergnani. He operated and lived at the Catalina Trailer Sales on Route 3 in Tyngsboro located about two miles from the New Hampshire border. Some gangsters learned he kept a lot of money at his business. The guy worked alone so they took advantage of that.
On October 30, 1964, Fergnani was alone in his office about 10:30 in the morning. Two men he identified as Christopher Mustone, 40, of Revere and Albert Georgio, 40, of the North End of Boston walked in. Mustone pulled a revolver and demanded money. He took $3,800 from Fergnani. Mustone demanded more and ordered Fergnani to lie on the floor where he hit him with his hand three times on the head while Georgio ransacked the office. Georgio and Mustone then bound and gagged him, put him into the trunk of his car, and drove him around for two or three hours before letting him off at a gravel pit in West Peabody. At the gravel pit, a third man, Daniel St. Angelo, was present.
When they left Fergnani, they said they would be in touch. They called him the next day and demanded $50,000. He made a counter offered of $30,000. Fergnani got in touch with the FBI who entered the case. The FBI dropped off a dummy package. Later they arrested Mustone and Georgio and subsequently grabbed St. Angelo.
The people Fergnani was dealing with were low-level, life-long Mafia types who hung around with each other. Mustone was a life-long criminal. In January 1972, he was indicted for race fixing along with Henry Tameleo who was Patriarca’s lieutenant. That same year he lost a job at the track for threatening a jockey. In August 1983, at age 58, Mustone was convicted of assaulting two FBI agents who were conducting a search of his house for evidence of loan sharking and narcotics activities.
Georgio was sent back to Walpole State Prison where he was incarcerated until the trial in April 1965. St. Angelo hung around with Joseph Lamattina when they were 18 and 19 respectively. They were arrested together for attempting to steal a motor vehicle.
Lamattina would become a made-man in the Mafia. In 1972, he was indicted for receiving stolen securities. Lamattina along with a Robert Cardillo were arrested in 1970 for transporting stolen U.S. Treasury bills. Cardillo had been arrested in September 1961 for illegal possession of firearms and burglar tools along with Bernard Zinna about whom we learn more later.
Mustone and Georgio were arrested November 7, 1964, indicted, and arraigned in superior court on December 13 for the kidnapping of Fergnani. St. Angelo was arranged a few days later. The case was scheduled for trial in January. It was delayed when lawyers withdrew, reappeared, withdrew again, and were busy in other courts. When it was set for trial on May 11, the defendant St. Angelo was taken ill. The trial was continued until May 21.
Fergnani had testified at a probable cause hearing in the District Court. The delays gave the parties enough time to ensure that Fergnani would not come to court for the superior court trial. The day before the trial was scheduled to begin on May 20, Fergnani drove into his trailer sales lot. Waiting for him were two people: one a man in his thirties with a receding hairline and the other a chunky person dressed as a woman with black slacks, red blouse, and blond hair. They were driving a late model black sedan with Maine license plates.
The two visitors went into the trailer office with Fergnani. One of them shot Fergnani in the forehead with a .22 caliber weapon. When Fergnani he fell to the floor, the other man put a .38 caliber shot through his head to finish him off. With the murder completed, the two men left the trailer.
A woman’s pocketbook was left at the scene. The pocket book was brand new and had nothing in it. It was an obvious plant. The pocketbook’s purpose was to mislead the investigators into thinking that a woman was at the scene. The person dressed as the woman was most likely a man.
The shooting was observed by two bystanders. They gave the description of the people who fled north in their vehicle toward New Hampshire. Little doubt exists that the motive for the murder was to prevent Fergnani from testifying. Nor can there be much doubt that the Mafia in Boston with which the defendants associated performed the hit.
The case continued to be delayed and delayed after Fergnani’s death. It went to the Supreme Judicial Court over the issue whether the grand jury testimony of Fergnani which was recorded in district court could be used at trial. The lawyers, Joseph Balliro and Monroe Inker, were the usual attorneys the mob used when charged. Inker would later change to handling mostly divorce matters. The case finally went to trial in November 1968, where apparently the defendants were acquitted. The defendants later appeared out on the street and in trouble not too long afterwards.
Monroe Inker was also Joe Oteri’s law partner at one time. Crane, Inker and Oteri. 1960