Roxbury Gang Murders – Robert Rasmussen

Robert Rasmussen was no stranger to crime. Born in June 1928 he was sentenced in February 1952 to 2 ½ to 3 years in state prison as an accessory before the fact to an armed robbery. Released in August 1954, he was again sentenced to 3 to 4 years in state prison in May 1958 for forgery and receiving stolen property. He did a little over a year despite this being his second prison incarceration.  He was released in July, 1959. A little less than two years later, his parole was revoked for receiving stolen property. He went back into the clinker. Four months later he was back on the street.

In 1962, Rasmussen and a couple of other guys decided to extort a 55-year-old druggist. Two of them went into the drug store, one showed a mark that looked like he was stabbed right under the heart. They asked the druggist for Benzedrine. This is an amphetamine, often called bennies, and was a prescription drug sold in pharmacies. Later that day, one of the men returned and said his buddy had taken the drug and died. He wanted $500 from the druggist to keep quiet about it.  The druggist gave him the money.

Two days later, Rasmussen showed up. He told the druggist that he was a police officer from headquarters. Rasmussen said he heard what happened with the bennies. He demanded money. The druggist put him off, called the cops, and Rasmussen was sent to the slammer again. He was paroled in November 16, 1964, three months after his buddy John Murray with whom he had been friends when they were in prison.

Like some of the others, Rasmussen was only on the street a short time, two months, before he was found murdered. His body was found near Silver Lake in Wilmington. It had to be chopped out of the ice. He had been shot in the back of his head with a .38 caliber. His remains showed he was given a severe beating and a bullet had been fired “in a gangster-style coup de grace, through the back of” his head.

His murder had a twist, though. He had been stripped naked except for his socks. Around his neck was “a striped necktie in a Windsor knot.” The nakedness and tie around the neck were the type of things that a bizarre mind like that of Jimmy Flemmi would think of doing. Joe Barboza would confirm that the Jimmy the Bear murdered him.

Shortly before the discovery of Rasmussen’s body, an unidentified “terror-stricken” man walked into the Roxbury police station. This man would have known about John Murray’s murder. Perhaps he heard that Rasmussen was missing. It was a few hours before Rasmussen’s body was found.

The man said he “had incurred the vengeance of Boston’s gangland overlords.”  The man explained that he was involved in the holdup of a Roxbury used-parts company. He said he thought that the business probably paid Wimpy Bennett and his gang for protection. He said one of his accomplices was John F. Murray. He did not mention the name of the other man who was with him at the robbery, believing him still alive. Everything seems to point to that this terror-stricken man was talking about Rasmussen who was Murray’s buddy. Like Murray, Rasmussen robbed the wrong people.

One Comment

  1. Great stuff and I hope that there is more soon.