Thursday, November 20, 2008

RI police discover mobster's remains

Rhode Island State Police believe they have discovered the buried remains of slain mobster Joseph P. "Joe Onions" Scanlon behind the Lisboa Apartments in East Providence, according to a story by W. Zachary Malinowski and Mike Stanton of the Providence Journal.

Police were directed to the site by Nicholas S. "Nicky" Pari, 71, of North Providence. Pari has already served time for the 1978 killing of Scanlon. He admitted to that crime back in 1982. His latest revelation for law enforcement came after he was arrested in Operation Mobbed Up earlier this week. The remains, unearthed yesterday, will be subjected to DNA testing.

Scanlon grew up in an Italian neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut, aspiring to Mafia membership. He moved to Providence with hopes of joining the Patriarca Crime Family. Scanlon had a falling out with area mobsters and reportedly began cooperating with authorities investigating Pari and Andrew Merola (right). Less than a month after becoming an informant, Scanlon disappeared.

Pari and Merola were both arrested for killing Scanlon. At trial, Scanlon's girlfriend testified that the two men cooperated on the murder. Pari punched Scanlon to distract him, and Merola then shot Scanlon in the back of the head. The pair was convicted of first-degree murder, but they won a new trial on appeal. They subsequently pleaded no contest to lesser charges.

On April 1, 2007, Merola at the age of 71. He had been battling cancer. A Providence Journal story reported that one of his last visitors was Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, head of the regional crime family.

About Me

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.