Former New England mob associate Tommy Hillary will testify that he introduced slain nightclub owner Stevie DiSarro to then Patriarca crime family boss Francis (Cadillac Frank) Salemme at the 84-year old Salemme’s federal murder trial next month, according to new briefs filed in the case and people familiar with prosecutorial strategy. Salemme and DiSarro owned The Channel nightclub together in South Boston in the early 1990s before a falling out between the pair is said to have resulted in DiSarro’s grisly demise.

The surrogate son of longtime New England mob don Raymond Patriarca, Hillary, 71, has been in the Witness Protection Program for 25 years. DiSarro was killed on May 10, 1993, per the indictment, on Salemme’s orders in a hit carried out by his son, Francis (Frankie Boy) Salemme, Jr. and Paul (Paulie the Plumber) Weadick. The younger Salemme died of natural causes in 1995. Cadillac Frank, who had been living in the Witness Protection Program since his release from prison in the 2000s, and seasoned Boston mafia figure Weadick were arrested and charged with DiSarro’s slaying in the summer of 2016 after DiSarro’s remains were dug up in Rhode Island that spring.

Hillary lived with Patriarca, the legendary Providence-stationed Godfather, from the time he was 13 until the notoriously crusty mob boss passed away from a heart attack in 1984. He was busted with Frankie Boy Salemme, Jr. in late 1992 for trying to extort money from an FBI agent posing as a Hollywood movie producer, promising the undercover G-man that they would grease the wheels with labor unions on a purported film hoping to shoot in New England. The arrest led to Hillary cooperating. The elder Salemme had been groomed as a killer by Patriarca in the 1960s, having done a decade and a half behind bars for blowing up the car of a mob attorney at Patriarca’s say-so.

At Cadillac Frank’s urging, Hillary and Frankie Boy traveled frequently to Los Angeles in the late 1980s and first part of the 1990s looking for business opportunities to bring back east. Hillary had connections on the west coast from his time living in Las Vegas and Palm Springs, California after Patriarca’s passing. Upon Salemme ascending to the Patriarca syndicate throne, Hillary returned to New England and took a prominent place inside Cadillac Frank’s regime, getting put in charge of the rackets in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Years prior to his getting indicted in the FBI sting dubbed Operation Dramex, Hillary arranged a lunch held at a swanky Boston steakhouse where the Salemmes met DiSarro for the first time. Soon thereafter, DiSarro and his brother-in-law, Roland Wheeler — with financing from the Salemmes –, bought The Channel, a popular rock-and-roll venue-turned-go-go bar in “Southie.” Salemme, Jr. and Weadick, Frankie Boy’s best friend, went to work at the club and Hillary visited often.

According to court filings, FBI agents approached DiSarro in March 1993 and told him he was on the verge of being indicted for tax evasion and bank fraud, prompting his cooperation against the Salemmes. DiSarro and Wheeler were called in front of a federal grand jury in April of that year to divulge what they knew about The Channel’s shady business practices. Informants have told the FBI that both Salemmes became suspicious of DiSarro’s behavior and figured he was feeding the government intelligence. The Salemmes also suspected him of stealing from them. At least two informants were told by Cadillac Frank personally that he either planned to plot or already took care of DiSarro’s killing.

The 43-year old DiSarro is believed to have been strangled to death inside the Salemme family home in the posh Boston suburb of Sharon, Massachusetts. Prosecutors theorize that Frankie Boy garroted DiSarro as Weadick, a convicted murderer, held his legs and Cadillac Frank watched on. After Salemme flipped in 1999 while incarcerated, he lied to his FBI handlers regarding his knowledge of DiSarro’s murder, however admitted to his involvement in almost a dozen others.

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