This is a photo released by the FBI showing reputed New England Mafia leader Francis P. “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, after his arrest Aug. 11, 1995, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Salemme has been charged with lying to investigators about his role in the 1993 killing of a nightclub owner in order to get a shorter sentence for his racketeering conviction. Salemme, 71, was charged in 1995 with participating in eight murders. He pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. He was astar witness for the government in the trial of corrupt FBI agent John Connolly Jr. (AP Photo/FBI)
By MATT STOUT
Former New England mafia godfather Frank “Cadillac” Salemme was ordered held without bail today on charges he murdered a federal witness after prosecutors say he went on the run from a witness protection program.
Salemme, appearing in federal court today wearing baggy brown pants, sneakers and a blue t-shirt, did not challenge a detention order and waived his right to a probable cause hearing before being led away in handcuffs.
The 82-year-old mobster was smiling at times and even joking during his brief court appearance: As he was led into the courtroom, he quipped to long-time federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak, “Fancy seeing you here.”
Salemme is charged with the murder of a witness on May 10, 1993, according to a criminal complaint. Wyshak confirmed outside the courtroom that the murdered witness, who was not named in court, was nightclub owner Stephen DiSarro.
According to an indictment of another aging former mobster made public earlier this summer, Salemme and his son, Frank Salemme Jr., murdered DiSarro on that date. DiSarro’s remains were found behind a mill in Providence in late March.
The initial Salemme revelation came in the indictment in June of ex-La Costa Nostra gang member Robert P. DeLuca, 70, on charges of lying to federal investigators about DiSarro’s disappearance and murder.
The Salemmes had a “hidden interest” in DiSarro’s Channel club, and that relationship came up during criminal investigations in the early 1990s, according to the DeLuca indictment.
The indictment on the murder charges against Salemme has been sealed from the public.
Salemme, who was the boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra in the 1990s until he was indicted on racketeering charges in 1995 and convicted in 1999, was arrested this morning in Connecticut.
Salemme was “fleeing from potential prosecution” and had left his home in Atlanta, Ga., Wyshak said.
Salemme’s lawyer, Steven Boozang, denied that his client was on the run.
“He was on his way back to answer any charges,” Boozang told reporters after the hearing. He said Salemme denies the charges and is determined to bring the case to trial.