A federal district judge has ordered the federal government to pay $101.8 million for the framing of four men for a 1965 gangland murder that they did not commit.
Two of the men who were wrongfully convicted, Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo, died while in prison. The other two men, Joseph Salvati and Peter Limone, were exonerated six years ago. Salvati had been on parole since 1997 while Limone was set free after serving 33 years in prison.
Judge Nancy Gertner said that FBI officials let employees “break laws, violated rules, and ruin lives” by wrongfully convicted them four men.
The men were exonerated after FBI memorandums were found that had not been submitted during trial. The memos indicated that the U.S. government’s main witness, mob hit man Joseph Barboza, had lied when he accused the four men of killing mobster Edward Deegan and that officials knew he was lying.
Barboza was allegedly protecting the actual murderer and FBI officials supposedly played along with him because, per the memo’s suggestion, Barboza had helped them solve other crimes and the real killer, Vincent Flemmi, was an informant.
Flemmi passed away in prison. He had been serving time for an unrelated case.
Limone was awarded $26 million. Mr. Salvati received $29 million. Mr. Tameleo’s estate received $13 million, and Mr. Greco’s estate received $28 million. The spouses and other family members of the four men also received money.
Limone accused the federal government of stealing 33 years of his life. He was 33 and the father of four young kids when he was arrested. He served several years on death row until Massachusetts got rid of the death penalty. Limone’s attorney said there was evidence proving that Barboza fingered his client because he refused to fire a waitress that Barboza had been romantically involved with.
Tameleo’s wife died while he was in prison. Greco’s wife became very depressed following his arrest and one of his sons killed himself after his father died.
Salvati’s attorney said that his client owed a $400 loan shark debt, which is why Barboza accused Salvati of committing murder.
In Massachusetts, the death penalty no longer exists. Life in prison without parole is the only penalty for first-degree murder.
Here is a list of other wrongful murder convictions that have taken place in Massachusetts.
U.S. Must Pay $101.8 Million for Role in False Convictions, NY Times, July 27, 2007
Resources for Keeping the Death Penalty out of Massachusetts
Related Web Resource:
Massachusetts Wrongfully Convicted, Northwestern.edu
The federal government is in charge of prosecuting capital cases in the state. Wrongful convictions can be successfully fought by an experienced criminal defense team.
Altman & Altman LLP represents clients who have been charged with committing a crime in Massachusetts. Our criminal defense lawyers can help defend you and, if you are wrongfully convicted, we will fight for your exoneration.
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