Finger helped identify 'murder victim' of Boston's 'Cadillac Frank'

  • Steven DiSarro, a Boston nightclub owner, was strangled to death in 1993
  • Police found his body in 2016 after suspect in marijuana bust revealed the secret
  • Remains of DiSarro, who was killed in 1993, were found behind Rhode Island mill
  • Medical examiner says he identified the man through a healed break in his finger 
  • Francis 'Cadillac Frank' Salemme, 84, and Paul Weadick, 62, on trial for murder  
  • Salemme's late son allegedly strangled DiSarro to death for being an informant  
  • Weadick is accused of holding DiSarro's feet while Salemme watched on

By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline and Hannah Moore For Dailymail.com

Published: 01:22 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 07:19 EDT, 16 May 2018

A medical examiner revealed he was able to identify a night club owner allegedly killed by the mob 20 years ago just from his finger.

Francis 'Cadillac Frank' Salemme, 84, and Paul Weadick, 62, are accused of killing Steven DiSarro in 1993 before burying his body behind a mill in Rhode Island.

DiSarro's remains were excavated from the property in March 2016, more than 20 years since his death. 

Rhode Island's acting chief medical examiner Dr. Alexander Chirkov told the US District Court in Boston a bone on his finger had been broken and healed, helping to identify the body. DiSarro's medical records showed he had been previously treated for a broken finger, WPRI reported. 

One of Rhode Island's top medical examiners said Steven DiSarro's remains were identified through a bone in his finger which had broken and re-healed - more than 20 years after he was allegedly murdered
One of Rhode Island's top medical examiners said Steven DiSarro's remains were identified through a bone in his finger which had broken and re-healed - more than 20 years after he was allegedly murdered

One of Rhode Island's top medical examiners said Steven DiSarro's remains were identified through a bone in his finger which had broken and re-healed - more than 20 years after he was allegedly murdered

DiSarro's body was dug up in March 2016, 23 years after he was allegedly strangled to death by mobsters who were afraid he would rat them out to police
DiSarro's body was dug up in March 2016, 23 years after he was allegedly strangled to death by mobsters who were afraid he would rat them out to police

DiSarro's body was dug up in March 2016, 23 years after he was allegedly strangled to death by mobsters who were afraid he would rat them out to police

DiSarro was allegedly strangled to death in 1993 by Salemme's son - Francis Jr - while Weadick held his feet off the floor and Salemme watched, prosecutors say
DiSarro was allegedly strangled to death in 1993 by Salemme's son - Francis Jr - while Weadick held his feet off the floor and Salemme watched, prosecutors say

DiSarro was allegedly strangled to death in 1993 by Salemme's son - Francis Jr - while Weadick held his feet off the floor and Salemme watched, prosecutors say

Dr Chirkov said a broken bone in DiSarro's neck helped investigators to ascertain how the 43-year-old died.

He said the hyoid bone, located just below the jaw in the neck, was snapped, which is 'evidence for manual strangulation'.

'To fracture this bone you have to apply force to the site,' he said.

Salemme and Weadick pair were brought in after William Ricci, the mill's owner who also has links to organized crime, was arrested when 1,400 marijuana plants were found inside.

Francis 'Cadillac Frank' Salemme, 84 (left and right), and Paul Weadick, 62, have gone on trial accused of murdering club owner Steven DiSarro in 1993

Salemme, former head of the Patriarca crime family, is accused of ordering DiSarro's death after the man was approached by police and asked for information
Salemme, former head of the Patriarca crime family, is accused of ordering DiSarro's death after the man was approached by police and asked for information

Salemme, former head of the Patriarca crime family, is accused of ordering DiSarro's death after the man was approached by police and asked for information

DiSarro (pictured) was the owner of a Boston nightclub called The Channel in which Salemme had an interest
DiSarro (pictured) was the owner of a Boston nightclub called The Channel in which Salemme had an interest

DiSarro (pictured) was the owner of a Boston nightclub called The Channel in which Salemme had an interest

Facing federal charges, Ricci told police to start digging out back which led to the discovery of DiSarro's skeletal remains, the Washington Post reports.

At the time of his death, DiSarro was the owner of a Boston nightclub called The Channel in which Salemme had an interest.

Shortly before he was killed, police had told DiSarro he was about to be indicted and that he should cooperate with them against Salemme and his son, Francis Jr.

Salemme, a convicted mafia hit-man, was head of the Patriarca crime family in New England and - together with James 'Whitey' Bulger - ran the Boston underworld.

After being approached by police DiSarro was summoned to a sit-down meeting with Salemme which left him 'extremely distraught', the Boston Herald reports. 

He was so frightened left behind a note to his infant son saying it might be 'some time' before he saw him again, the contents of which will be revealed during the trial.

It was at that meeting, prosecutors say, that DiSarro was strangled to death by Francis Jr as Weadick held his feet off the ground and Salemme watched.

After DiSarro spoke with police about turning on Salemme and his son, Francis Jr, he was summoned to a meeting with Salemme and was so distraught he left a note for his son before he went
After DiSarro spoke with police about turning on Salemme and his son, Francis Jr, he was summoned to a meeting with Salemme and was so distraught he left a note for his son before he went

After DiSarro spoke with police about turning on Salemme and his son, Francis Jr, he was summoned to a meeting with Salemme and was so distraught he left a note for his son before he went

Francis Jr (far left), DiSarro (second left) and Salemme (right, gesturing) are pictured together leaving a Brooklyn restaurant in 1990
Francis Jr (far left), DiSarro (second left) and Salemme (right, gesturing) are pictured together leaving a Brooklyn restaurant in 1990

Francis Jr (far left), DiSarro (second left) and Salemme (right, gesturing) are pictured together leaving a Brooklyn restaurant in 1990

Francis Jr is not on trial because he died in 1995.

The prosecution's star witness is Bulger's former top lieutenant, Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, who said he walked in on the killing as it was taking place.

He later spoke with Salemme who confirmed they had killed DiSarro and will testify to that fact, prosecutors say.

As part of the trial, jurors have been shown the home where the alleged killing took place and the mill where the body was discovered.  

Salemme was charged in 1995 with participating in eight murders and agreed to plead guilty in 1999 to racketeering and extortion.

The prosecution's star witness is Bulger's former top lieutenant, Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, who said he walked in on the killing as it was taking place (pictured: Investigators dig up DiSarro's body in 2016)
The prosecution's star witness is Bulger's former top lieutenant, Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, who said he walked in on the killing as it was taking place (pictured: Investigators dig up DiSarro's body in 2016)

The prosecution's star witness is Bulger's former top lieutenant, Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, who said he walked in on the killing as it was taking place (pictured: Investigators dig up DiSarro's body in 2016)

Pamela DiSarro, wife of murdered Steven, leaves court on May 9 after appearing as the government's first witness against Salemme
Pamela DiSarro, wife of murdered Steven, leaves court on May 9 after appearing as the government's first witness against Salemme

Pamela DiSarro, wife of murdered Steven, leaves court on May 9 after appearing as the government's first witness against Salemme

He began cooperating with authorities that year in an investigation into the FBI's corrupt relationship with Bulger and Flemmi, in particular agent John Connolly. 

In exchange for his cooperation, Salemme's sentence was reduced, and he entered the witness protection program.

Prosecutors say Connolly tipped off Bulger and Salemme to their impending indictment, allowing Bulger to flee in 1994 and remain a fugitive until 2011.

In return for testifying against Connolly, Salemme was granted witness protection and had been living in Atlanta until DiSarro's body was uncovered.

After learning that the body had been found he fled, and was eventually tracked to Connecticut where he was found with a car full of clothes and cash. 

Defense lawyers say that Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence for 10 murders, cannot not be trusted.

Salemme is pictured in 1972 being arrested in Boston for the murder of Wimpy Bennett
Salemme is pictured in 1972 being arrested in Boston for the murder of Wimpy Bennett

Salemme is pictured in 1972 being arrested in Boston for the murder of Wimpy Bennett

Steven Boozang, Salemme's lawyer, said Salemme has consistently denied killing DiSarro despite the potential to get a 'free pass' by cooperating with investigators.

'Just because he's done bad things doesn't mean he's done this,' Boozang said.

SAlemme also pleaded guilty in 2008 to obstruction of justice and admitted to lying to authorities when he said he another former Mafia leader may have been involved in DiSarro's killing.

Salemme's appearance is now a long way from his days as a feared mob boss. 

On his first day in court he wore a baggy gray suit with his thinning gray hair slicked back, and looked frail as he walked from a wheelchair to meet his lawyers. 

The trial began on Wednesday last week and testimony resumed on Monday.

Both Salemme and Weadick deny any involvement in the killing. The trial continues. 

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