Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis testified yesterday in a civil trial related to the false imprisonment of Peter Limone and three other men convicted of the 1965 killing Edward "Teddy" Deegan, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe.
Dukakis was asked about his official review of a 1983 petition to show clemency to Limone. The former governor noted that U.S. Attorney William F. Weld sent him a letter urging him to reject the petition and keep Limone behind bars, arguing that, if released, Limone would "assume charge of the day-to-day operations of organized crime in this area." Dukakis sided with Weld at the time. And Limone remained in prison.
Since then, it has become clear that the local office of the FBI helped to set up Limone, Louis Greco, Joseph Salvati and Henry Tameleo for the Deegan murder in order to protect its relationship with longtime informants and Massachusetts crime figures James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi. FBI agent John J. Connolly, who served as the federal handler for Bulger and Flemmi, was convicted of racketeering. Bulger has been sought by law enforcement for years.
The four convicted men were jailed in 1968. Tameleo and Greco died in prison. Limone and Salvati were released in 2001.
Limone, Salvati and the families of Tameleo and Greco are suing the federal government for $100 million, charging that the FBI provided a false witness against them - Joseph "the Animal" Barboza - and knowingly helped convict them for a crime they did not commit.
Law enforcement officials believe Limone has returned to a position of importance in the New England Mafia since his release from prison. The Boston Herald recently reported that Carmen "the Big Cheese" DiNunzio (arrested on Dec. 1 for extortion and gambling conspiracy) became the leader of the Boston wing of the Providence RI-based Mafia family after Limone turned down the job.
Tameleo was also a key figure in the regional mob. He reportedly served as underboss to New England crime lord Raymond L.S. Patriarca.
Barboza entered the witness protection program, but New England mobsters tracked him to northern California and reportedly beat him to death in 1976.
Other MobNews items related to the New England Mafia:
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DiNunzio released on $20K cash bail 12-05-2006
Mass. police arrest DiNunzio 12-02-2006
Mass. men sentenced for witness tampering 09-02-2006
Salvati, Limone sue FBI for 1960s frameup 08-19-2006
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- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.