Former New England boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme appeals conviction for 1993 murder
Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 87-year-old former boss of the New England crime family, was recently sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of a nightclub owner. A federal appeals court contemplated whether or not to overturn this conviction on Wednesday.
The attorneys for Salemme and an associate accused the jurors of being wrongly instructed on the law before finding them guilty back in 2018. The statement was told to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
Lawrence Gerzog, Salemme’s attorney, said “jurors were wrongly told they only had to find Salemme’s motive [in order]to prevent a ‘possible’ communication with a federal officer and not that such a communication was reasonably likely to occur.”
“It prejudiced Mr. Salemme’s right to a fair trial,” he explained.
Prosecutors demonstrated how Salemme, in addition to Cosa Nostra family associate Paul Weadick, 65, carried out the killing of nigh club owner Steven DiSarro because they believed he was on the cusp of cooperating with the feds. This was fueled by the testimony of Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who is currently serving a life sentence for 10 murders, who expressed Salemme’s concerns with DiSarro potentially cooperating.
Flemmi also said that on May 10, 1993, he went to Salemme’s home and saw Salemme’s now-deceased son, Frank Jr., strangling DiSarro as Weadick held his legs and the elder Salemme watched.
U.S. Circuit Judge David Barron was quick to ask whether any jury instructional error would affect the ruling, as there was substantial evidence that Salemme committed the murder.
“What evidence is there that would suggest the motive was other than overwhelmingly to silence him from speaking with a federal official?” he said.