A federal appeals court ruled today that Frank Salemme and henchman Paul Weadick got a fair trial in 2018 on charges they murdered the owner of the Channel nightclub to keep him from talking to federal investigators looking into Salemme's criminal activities.
The ruling means that barring a successful appeal to the Supreme Court or a pardon by the president, Salemme, 88, and Weadick, 66, will spend the rest of their lives in prison. Salemme is currently locked up at a federal prison hospital in Springfield, MO, Weadick at a federal prison in Waymart, PA.
Steven DiSarro bought the closed Channel club and re-opened it in 1992, although under a relative's name because he knew he was under federal investigation at the time. Salemme's son, Frank, Jr., kept a watch on his father's secret investment in the club as a part-time general manager. But then, twice, FBI agents told DiSarro he was about to be indicted and it would be in his best interest to tell them what he knew about Salemme's operations.
According to the feds, Salemme found out about this and decided to kill DiSarro to keep him from talking.
A federal jury in Boston agreed with prosecutors that Salemme and Weadick picked up DiSarro at his home in 1993, then drove to Salemme's house, where Salemme strangled him while Weadick held down his legs. As they were in the process of killing DiSarro, Whitey Bulger's enforcer and serial killer Stephen Flemmi - who was also a good friend of Salemme's - just happened to walk in, he would later testify against Salemme and Weadick.
Salemme then had a Mafia associate who owned a mill in Providence bury DiSarro's tarp-covered body there. DiSarro's body laid in the ground there until 2016, when an excavator, facing federal charges of his own, told federal investigators about it, which in turn led them to the mill's owner, who admitted to burying the body for Salemme.
At the time, Salemme was living in Atlanta under the federal witness protection program as part of a 1999 deal for ratting out Whitey Bulger after learning that Bulger and Flemmi had been cooperating with the FBI to get him locked up.
Salemme and Weadick were charged under a federal law that specifically makes it illegal to kill a witness in a federal investigation.
In their appeal, Salemme and Weadick both objected to evidence introduced by the government to prove they were part of the Mafia. Weadick also objected to evidence about events and relationships before he got involved with Salemme.
In its ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston concluded there was nothing wrong with most of the evidence, that the two men's lawyers did not take advantage of an offer from the judge to challenge the contested evidence during the trial and that there was nothing wrong with trying both men together.
The court also held that while there was no proof that DiSarro had actually said anything to FBI agents, despite being approached by them twice, that doesn't matter under the federal law because evidence did show that both Salemme and Weadick were worried that he would sing, enough to kill him.
The court also concluded that the evidence showed that Weadick was, in fact, a Mafioso who would have good reason to help murder DiSarro to keep him from spilling any beans.
Simply put, it seems quite unlikely that Weadick would work scams with Frank Jr. backed by the threat of the NELCN [New England La Cosa Nostra] muscle, have access to the club's books while managing it as a front for NELCN leadership, and participate with Salemme himself in the murder of a threat to NECLN, all without himself having signaled his support of the criminal conspiracy known as NELCN.