Lawyer Urges Judge To Free Man Jailed In 1965 Mob Killing
by J.M. Lawrence
Tuesday, January 2, 2001
Attorneys for reputed mobster Peter Limone - who claims he was framed for a 1965 gangland murder - want a Middlesex Superior Court judge to release him this week after 32 years in prison.
“I don't understand why he's still in jail,” Limone attorney John Cavicchi said. “This case is a disgrace.”
Calling on the commonwealth to give justice to the former dice game operator and grandfather of eight, Cavicchi has filed motions calling on the court to vacate Limone's 1968 conviction and dismiss indictments charging him with the murder of low-level hoodlum Edward `Teddy” Deegan.
Limone, 66, spent another Christmas at MCI-Norfolk after Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II's office opposed a motion to release him on bail while Judge Margaret Hinkle reviews newly found evidence in the case.
“We have no interest in keeping an innocent person in prison but we have no interest in making a rush to judgment either,” James Borghesani, spokesman for Martin, said yesterday.
A Justice Department task force probing corruption within the FBI released explosive reports last month from agents' files suggesting agents allowed turncoat Mob hitman Joseph `The Animal” Barboza to frame four of the six men who went to prison for Deegan's murder in a Chelsea alley.
Barboza's testimony as the only witness in the Deegan murder sent Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo away for a murder they did not commit, according to the agents' reports that were discovered by FBI agents in Washington. Greco and Tameleo died in prison. Salvati's sentence was commuted in 1997.
Information contained in the FBI reports show two days before Deegan was killed on March 12, 1965, an FBI informant told special agent H. Paul Rico that Vincent Flemmi planned to kill Deegan and that then New England Mafia boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca approved the hit.
Several days after the killing in a report later forwarded to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Rico wrote the names of five men who the informant said killed Deegan: Flemmi, Joseph Barboza, Ronald Cassesso, Wilfred Roy French and Romeo Martin.
Cavicchi has asked Hinkle to hold a hearing Friday afternoon with Limone present. The attorney said he will argue the courts should throw out Limone's conviction based on a 1957 U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring informants' accounts be supplied to a defendant's defense team.
“I expect the judge to obey the law,” said Cavicchi who was argued Limone's innocence for more than two decades.
Cavicchi expressed outrage over Limone's continued incarceration and accused the commonwealth of dragging its feet to cover up an embarrassing chapter in the city's justice system.
“That's absurd,” Borghesani said, citing three other cases in the past two years in which Martin's office has moved to exonerate men later shown innocent through new evidence. “We will do the right thing when the evidence supports it.”