Former New England Cosa Nostra Boss Cadillac Frank Appeals Life Sentence For 1993 Murder

Former New England mob boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme, 85, has appealed his conviction and life sentence for the 1993 murder of Steven DiSarro, a South Boston nightclub owner.

Salemme's attorney filed the appeal Wednesday

He and co-defendant Paul Weadick, 63, were both convicted in Boston federal court in June. Weadick also is appealing.

DiSarro, a 43-year-old father of five, was killed to prevent him from cooperating with federal authorities. His remains were unearthed behind a Providence mill building in 2016.

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston will hear the appeal.

Salemme was in the Federal Witness Protection Program when DiSarro’s remains were discovered, leading to Salemme's arrest.

At the sentencing hearing, DiSarro’s son, Michael, told Salemme about irony. “(Y)ou killed our father for thinking he was going to rat and become a snitch. When actually, Mr. Salemme, you ended up being the snitch...

“You are a coward and a murderer... "

Judge Allison Burroughs asked Salemme whether he had anything to say before she passed down sentence.

“Not really,” he said. “Anything I would have to say would be redundant. Let’s just wrap it up.”

During trial it was detailed how DiSarro, "extremely distraught” and dubious about a sit-down he’d been summoned to with the then-boss of the New England Mafia, had left a note at his Westwood home for his family, telling them they wouldn't see him again anytime soon. DiSarro then stepped into a car waiting for him and disappeared.

Salemme’s son Francis Salemme Jr., who died in 1995, had worked as an assistant manager at The Channel nightclub DiSarro owned. He was on house arrest when he allegedly strangled his former boss as his father watched.

Weadick helped, holding down DiSarro’s legs.

Stephen (The Rifleman) Flemmi and Robert P. DeLuca were among those who testified.

Flemmi is serving life at an undisclosed prison for 10 murders. In 2003, Flemmi told federal and state authorities that he just happened to walk in on the May 10, 1993, murder of DiSarro at the Sharon home of Francis Salemme’s former wife, according to a DEA report filed in Boston federal court.

Flemmi said Salemme and two others watched as Salemme’s son, Frank, strangled DiSarro to death. Flemmi named the two other witnesses as Frank Salemme’s younger brother, John, and friend Paul Weadick.

Salemme later told Flemmi that DeLuca "was present during the burial" of DiSarro, according to the report, Flemmi said, adding that Salemme had expressed concern about DiSarro’s friendship with a law enforcement cooperator.

When Flemmi implicated Cadillac Frank in DiSarro’s murder, the former Mafia don was already in the Federal Witness Protection Program for cooperating with the prosecution of the notorious James "Whitey" Bulger and corrupt FBI handler John J. Connolly Jr.

In Rhode Island that same evening, DeLuca called Cadillac Frank from a payphone and Salemme told him he was going to bring him “a package." DeLuca also was told to “get a hole dug.”

Salemme then drove DiSarro’s tarp-wrapped body to North Providence in an SUV and transferred it to the trunk of a car for others to dump in a pit after dark.

Salemme flipped and testified against Bulger, former boss of the Winter Hill Gang, and afterwards was placed in the witness protection program. Salemme had been living in Atlanta, Ga., under the name of Richard Parker when he was arrested in August 2016.

Dutiful son Michael DiSarro also had words for former Rhode Island capo Robert P. DeLuca Sr., who was sentenced to 5.5 years in federal prison last month. His crime was lying to investigators about the DiSarro murder.


Prior to US District Court Judge Denise Casper passing down that sentence, DiSarro "made an impassioned plea," the Boston Globe reported.

"Fighting back tears, Michael DiSarro asked Casper to impose a maximum term of about 12 ½ years. He noted that his older brother, Steven DiSarro Jr., struggled for years with substance abuse and died on the same day their father’s remains were unearthed behind a Providence building in March 2016."

“My father was everything to my brother Steve,” Michael told Casper. “He [DeLuca] took my brother’s life that day [in 2011] when he lied.”

Prosecutors recommended the 66-month sentence as part of a plea deal. DeLuca gave key testimony in the June trial of Salemme and Weadick.

“I do feel good about myself, that I did help prosecutors” win those convictions, DeLuca said Tuesday. “I know I done wrong by lying” in 2011, he said.

DeLuca apologized to DiSarro’s family and said he “changed my life around” since 2011. He said he rejected crime and was a churchgoer.

An indictment unsealed in US District Court in Boston in June 2016 charged DeLuca, 70, with obstruction and two counts of lying to the Feds about the DiSarro murder. DeLuca also copped to participating in the 1992 slaying of mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan in Providence.

During Salemme’s murder trial, DeLuca testified about how Salemme had complained in May 1993 that DiSarro was stealing money from the Channel nightclub. He also expressed concern that DiSarro was cooperating with the FBI.

DeLuca also testified that Salemme delivered DiSarro’s body to Providence, and DeLuca arranged for his brother and several other men to bury it behind a mill.

DeLuca also had pleaded no contest to plotting to kill mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan in Providence in 1992.