Legacy of Shame
Timeline of the
FBI’s four-decades long cover-up of
complicity in Edward Deegan’s murder, and the agencies
of four innocent men
By Hans Sherrer
Issue 27, Winter 2005, page 24
– Boston FBI agent H. Paul
Rico wrote in an October 19, 1964, memorandum that an informant
reported Edward “Teddy” Deegan, a local hoodlum,
for a mob hit. “A memorandum from the Boston Office of the
the Director of the FBI [J. Edgar Hoover] dated March 10, 1965,
disclosed an informant’s report that [Vincent
Bear”] Flemmi and [Joseph] Barboza had contacted [Raymond]
Patriarca to get his “OK” to kill Deegan. That same
another informant told Rico that Flemmi believed Patriarca approved the
“hit” and that a “dry run” had
Neither Rico, Condon, Handley, nor any other FBI agents warned Deegan
or took steps to prevent their informants, Flemmi and Barboza, from
carrying out the plan.” 1
1965 - Edward Deegan was shot to death in a Chelsea, Massachusetts
alley on March 12th – two days after FBI Director Hoover had
informed he was marked for death, and did nothing to warn him or
otherwise protect him.
1965 - An FBI memo dated March 19, 1965 (seven days after
Deegan’s murder), notes:
“Informants report that Ronald Casessa, Romeo Martin, Vincent
James Flemmi, and Joseph Barboza, prominent local hoodlums, were
responsible for the [Deegan] killing. They accomplished this by having
Roy French, another Boston hoodlum, set Deegan up in a proposed
‘breaking and entering’ in Chelsea, Mass. French
walked in behind Deegan when they were gaining entrance to the building
and fired the first shot hitting Deegan in the back of the head.
Casessa and Martin immediately thereafter shot Deegan from the front.
The State and Chelsea Police Departments had reports similar to those
discussed above.” 2
1965 - FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was sent a memo dated June 9, 1965
by the FBI agent in charge of he Boston office identifying Flemmi as
the murderer of seven men, including Deegan. The memo stated,
“From all indications, (Jimmy The Bear) is going to continue
commit murder. ... The informant’s potential outweighs the
1967 - Six men were indicted in Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Boston)
for Deegan’s murder, however the FBI informant known by the
bureau to be one of the actual killers – Vincent Flemmi
was not indicted.
1968 – On July 31st Louis Greco, Henry Tameleo and Peter
were convicted of Deegan’s murder and sentenced to death.
Salvati was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted as an
accessory to Deegan’s murder and two counts of conspiracy.
jury didn’t believe multiple witnesses who testified that
was in Miami at the time of Deegan’s murder – which
knew was true. The prosecution’s star witness was Joseph
an FBI informant and one of the people known by the FBI to have been
present at Deegan’s killing.
1968 - On August 1st, FBI agent Rico bragged at a mob party in Boston
about how easy it was to convict the “four pigeons”
Greco, Tameleo, Salvati and Limone - and he thought “it was
funny” that Greco was sentenced to death when the FBI knew he
over 1,500 miles away in Miami when Deegan was murdered..
1972 - Greco, Tameleo and Limone’s death sentences are
to life in prison in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s
v. Georgia (1972) decision.
1977 - Attorney John Cavicchi began efforts to clear Greco. Those
efforts continued until Greco’s death 18 years later in 1995.
Cavicchi then began aiding Limone.
1983 – In August the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Pardons
recommended gubernatorial commutation of Limone’s sentence.
Limone’s petition was supported by Deegan’s family,
believed he was innocent. However, “FBI agents …
channeled false information to the office of the Governor to dissuade
him from approving the commutation petition. It worked. On September
20, 1983, Governor Dukakis denied Limone’s
1985 - After the FBI funneled false information to the
office, Governor Dukakis denied Greco’s commutation that had
recommended by the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Pardons.
1985 - Henry Tameleo died in prison of respiratory failure in August.
He had been imprisoned for 17 years. Tameleo was 84, and the oldest
prisoner in the Massachusetts state prison system at the time of his
1986 - After the FBI provides it with false information, the Advisory
Board of Pardons rescinds its vote approving a commutation hearing for
1993 - The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office ignores
information provided by a Massachusetts’ State Trooper that
Salvati had been framed for Deegan’s murder.
1993 - After the FBI funneled false information to the
office, Governor Weld denied Greco’s commutation that had
recommended by the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Pardons.
1995 - Greco dies in prison from colon cancer and heart disease after
27 years of incarceration.
1997 - Louis Greco Jr., one of Greco’s sons, commits suicide
drinking a bottle of Drano.
1997 - Salvati is released after 30 years of incarceration when
Massachusetts’ governor commutes his life sentence to time
served. Salvati’s wife Marie visited him every week he was
imprisoned, and she was waiting when he was released.
2000 - In December a Justice Department investigation into FBI
corruption uncovers secret FBI informant files that contain information
concerning the FBI’s prior knowledge that Deegan was marked
hit by FBI informants, that the FBI didn’t try to warn or
otherwise protect Deegan, that Deegan’s murder was carried
FBI informants, and that four men known by the FBI to be innocent
– Greco, Limone, Tameleo and Salvati – were framed
murder with the complicity of the FBI. The FBI documents show that
Limone had actually tried to protect Deegan by warning him that he was
2001 - Limone’s conviction is vacated in January and he is
released after 33 years, 2 months and 5 days imprisonment. He is 66.
2001 - Salvati’s conviction is vacated in January.
2001 - Limone, Greco’s son, and relatives of Tameleo file
separate federal lawsuits against multiple state and federal defendants
for wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, violation of their
civil rights, etc. Limone’s suit asks for a $300 million in
damages, and Greco’s asks for $75 million.
2002 - Salvati filed $300 million federal lawsuit against multiple
state and federal defendants for wrongful imprisonment, malicious
prosecution, violation of his civil rights, etc.
2003 – In June, Boston U.S. District Court Judge Nancy
rejected a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants in
suit. The motion argued the decisions leading to
indictment and conviction were judgment calls immune from a lawsuit. In
rejecting the motion, Judge Gertner wrote,
conduct cannot be ‘discretionary’ if it violates
constitution, federal laws, or established agency policies and
regulations. ‘There can be no doubt that suborning perjury
fabricating evidence violate the constitution.’” 5
2003 – In November an almost 150-page report by the House
Government Reform Committee was released after a two-year congressional
investigation into the FBI and its connections to the New England
Mafia. The report condemned the FBI’s use of known murderers
informants, the FBI’s shielding of those murderers from
prosecution, and the FBI’s use of perjurious testimony by
murderers to knowingly convict innocent people. The report concluded
that the FBI’s efforts “must be considered one of
greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement.”
2004 –Edward “Teddy” Deegan’s
and his two daughters filed lawsuits against the federal government.
They claimed damages for the government’s complicity in his
murder, including Director Hoover’s being informed two days
to his death that he was marked for death and doing nothing to stop the
killers - who were FBI informants - or to warn or otherwise protect
Deegan. Paul F. Denver, the attorney for Deegan’s daughters,
“The government owes the daughters compensation for the
death of their father because agents knew there was a threat against
their father’s life and took no steps to prevent the death of
Teddy Deegan,” 7
2004 –In September a Massachusetts state judge posthumously
vacated Greco’s conviction. The lawyer representing
family said, “This was an innocent man who was framed, and
most amazing part is the government knew it.” 8
2004 –Federal Judge Gertner ruled on September 17th that the
federal lawsuits related to the four men can go forward, since their
causes of action that began in 1968, continued after enactment of a
1974 law that eliminated the federal government’s immunity
lawsuits for wrongdoing by federal agents. In her decision, Judge
Gertner didn’t mince words, “… the state
of Limone, Greco, Salvati, and Tameleo was procured by the FBI and
nurtured by both federal agents and state officers who knew that the
charges were bogus. None of the agents or supervisors involved took
steps to stop the prosecution. Indeed, they did just the
FBI To Be Sued for $300 million, Talkleft.com
website, August 25, 2002.
Suffolk DA clears Greco posthumously on 1965 murder rap, by J.M.
November 4, 2004
Reports: ex-trooper had information to clear Salvati, by J. M.
Limone, et al v. United States, Civ. No. 02-10890-NG (DC MA),
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS, September 17, 2004
1 Limone, et al v. United States, Civ. No. 02-10890-NG (DC MA),
MEMORAN-DUM AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS, September 17, 2004, at
2 Limone, Id., at 8-9.
3 Devilish deal: Probers Unveil Memo Show-ing Boston FBI Protected
Killer, by J.M. Lawrence, Boston
Herald, May 12, 2002.
4 Limone, supra,, at 13.
5 Judge Rules Lawsuit Alleging FBI Frameup Can Proceed, AP,
July 18, 2003.
6 Report: FBI Shielded Killers, Washing-ton D.C., CBS News.com,
November 21, 2003.
7 Some Wonder Does FBI Still Stand For Fi-delity, Bravery, Integrity?, Newswithviews.com,
October 5, 2004.
8 District attorney’s office drops charges posthumously in
frame-up related to New England mob, Associated Press, Boston Herald,
November 4, 2004
9 Limone, supra, at 11.