Monday, April 22, 2013

Mafia Hit-man: Joseph “The Animal” Barboza

Joseph “The Animal” Barboza was born September 20, 1932  and lived until February 11, 1976. Like most mobster he was taken out by 4 gun shot wounds by his own people turned enemies. But while Barboza was alive he was a very feared hit-man who claimed to commit about 29 murders. All 29 murders are yet to be confirmed and some are thought to be Barboza's glorifying himself for the sake of respect, but one thing's for sure, he was a hit-man and does have proven killings under his belt.

Joe found a talent in boxing and pursued a professional career as a light heavyweight boxer and became a member of the United States Boxing Association for a short period of time having his first boxing match on April 18, 1949 against Rocky Lucero in El Paso, Texas and his last fight on September 23, 1961 against Don Bale in Boston, Massachusetts. He fought with an weird stance and boxed under the name "The Baron". His boxing record shows Joseph winning about 75% of his fights with most of them ending in knockouts. He was classified as a powerhouse fighter who may not make it the distance but could end the fight early with power punches.

Joe was first sent to a Massachusetts prison in 1950  to serve five years. Three years into his prison time he and fellow inmates planned and succeeded the biggest prison break in Massachusetts history. After drinking Whiskey and popping amphetamine tablets, seven men overpowered the guards and made a break to two different cars. After drinking, fighting, bar hopping, beating random people on the streets and some more crazy mayhem, Barboza was captured and taken back to prison just short of 24 hours of the break.

It is thought that he first met figures of Boston organized crime while incarcerated at Walpole, and it is thought that they arranged to have him paroled in 1958. He became a recognized figure in East Boston's organized crime circles and was a regular habituate of a bar on the corner of Bennington Street and Brook Street which became known among local criminals as "Barboza's Corner". His crew of small-time burglars and thieves consisted of Joseph W. Amico, Patrick Fabiano, James Kearns, Arthur Bratsos, Thomas DePrisco, father and son team Joseph Dermody and Ronald Dermody, Carlton Eaton, Edward Goss and Nicholas Femia. All of his crew would all later be murdered by rival mobsters including himself. The crew was officially supervised for the Patriarca crime family by Stephen Flemmi. He was never officially inducted into the Patriarca crime family because of his Portuguese heritage but within eight years during the escalation of gangland warfare he earned a reputation as one of Boston's most prolific contract killers and sidewalk soldiers. He had a reputation of being absolutely fearless.

It was widely believed in law official circles that Barboza had performed contract killings for Raymond L.S. Patriarca. By January 1966, Barboza was considered a powerful crime figure in the Boston underworld and was often represented by F. Lee Bailey which proved to be a huge mistake-But he was also facing major problems. The authorities were constantly on his heels. For disturbing the peace one night at the same Revere nightclub where he chewed the ear off, he slugged a Boston Police Department Detective and received a six-month sentence. After his release from prison and his graduation from an expensive cooking school he was shipped out on the S.S. President Wilson to the Orient.

In his 1975 autobiography "Barboza" written by true crime writer Hank Messick he admitted to murdering at least seven men, although he bragged to his friends that the total was closer to twenty nine because he wanted to be respected and feared—nobody really knew the truth.He loved children and animals and was known to take neighborhood children to the park or zoo. He would often buy popcorn for children in the movie theater that didn't have any and his young daughter wanted for nothing. A few notorious victims on his murder roster while involved with organized crime included Edward McLaughlin and both Cornelius Hughes and Stevie Hughes, who Barboza hunted down in a fit of rage after receiving news that his best friend Vincent Flemmi was badly wounded in a 1967 shootout with them. Barboza aligned himself with the Winter Hill Gang in part because James "Buddy" McLean was an ally of James Flemmi. Barboza trusted Steven and James Flemmi, and as early as 1965 H. Paul Rico, was using that trust to drive Barboza in becoming an informant. Joe drove a 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass which was referred to by law enforcement as "the James Bond car" because it had a sophisticated alarm system and a device for making thick black smoke come out of the tailpipe.

After a while Barboza starting stepping on the wrong people's toes. This was no good for him since he was not a made man in anyone's family and was not going to become one due to his Portuguese back round. After being picked up on weapon charges in 1966 he was jailed and a bond was put up at $100,000.00. When no one cane to his aid to produce the bail Barboza started to think maybe his organized crime friends were no longer supported of him and his crew and he was right. When two people from his crew, Arthur C. Bratsos and Thomas J. DePrisco, rised $59,000 they were stoped died in thier track by soldiers of  Ralph "Ralphie Chong" Lamattina, who served in the crew of Ilario Zannino. Bratsos and Deprisco got the money stolen from them and then they were murdered, their bodies were later dumped in Boston in the hopes to blame the whole thing on the Irish mob.

After realizing the Mafia was no longer on his side and hearing that most of his crew and associate's were being murdered, Barboza would become the first person the government would offer the witness protection program to. Barbazo stood up and testifed aginst Raymond Patriarca, Sr., the crime family boss and many other high ranking members of the family. The mafia would offer Barboza $25,000.00 to stop talking and Barboza upped the ante to $50,000.00, neither offer was settle on and the testimoma would head to trial. In the end the trial would found guilty and sentenced to death were Peter J. Limone, Louis Greco, Henry Tameleo and Ronald Cassesso. Sentenced to life in prison were Joseph Salvati and Wilfred Roy French.

After trail Barboza got out of town and headed to San Fransisco where he attended culinary arts school. He also supposedly killed ten more men. This was also never proven, but he was charged and convicted of one murder and sentenced to one year in Folsom  prison. After his release, is whereabouts were leaked and this is when he would be found and taken out by the same people that he worked for and worked with.

While working with the corrupt FBI agent H. Paul Rico, he helped to frame Mafia associates Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, Louis Greco as well as his former mob superior, Henry Tameleo for the murder of a small time criminal named Edward "Teddy" Deegan in Chelsea, Massachusetts, protecting the real culprit. Deegan was the maternal uncle of Gerry Indelicato, future aide to Governor Michael Dukakis. Deegan had been marked for death by the New England family in 1965 for several burglaries which he had committed with future Winter Hill Gang heavyweight, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Out of the six people convicted for the murder, only Ronald "Ronnie the Pig" Casseso and Wilfred Roy French were actually involved and present in the alley where the murder took place. FBI agent Paul Rico had offered French and Casseso leniency if they would corroborate Barboza's false testimony. Both French and Casseso refused the offer and when French was threatened with the death penalty he responded by telling Rico to "warm up the electric chair." Cassesso died in prison 30 years later. French was finally freed 34 years later.

Winter Hill enforcer John Martorano became a government witness in 1999 after learning that both Steven Flemmi and James "Whitey' Bulger were FBI informants and have been delivering information about the Mafia and the Winter Hill Gang to them. In his plea agreement, he told the Drug Enforcement Administration agent that Barboza had admitted to lying about the men convicted of killing Teddy Deegan. Barboza allegedly said that the Patriarca crime family had "screwed me and now I’m going to screw as many of them as possible."

Martorano also revealed that Vincent "Jimmie the Bear" Flemmi, the brother of Stephen Flemmi, had admitted to murdering Deegan. Vincent Flemmi and his brother were both acting as informants to the FBI. Instead of arresting Vincent Flemmi, the FBI knowingly let four men go to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Barboza used this opportunity to settle some old grudges with some local North Enders and Mafia associates who he felt had not shown him the proper respect.

Tameleo and Greco died in prison after serving almost 30 years, and Salvati and Limone were finally released in 1997 and 2001, respectively. Lawyers representing the families of Greco, Tameleo, Salvati and Limone currently have lawsuits totaling in excess of one billion dollars filed against the Federal government.

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