BOSTON — An associate of the Rhode Island mob took the stand against Frank Salemme in the second day of testimony, giving jurors a look inside the life of a mobster.
The 84-year-old is accused of murdering a Boston nightclub owner and burying his body in Providence.
Witness Thomas Hillary testified Thursday that he was very close to the Patriarca crime family, he was friends with the victim in this case, and he participated a lot of crimes.
He was on the stand for a few hours and he described how at one point, he thought Frank Salemme was going to kill him.
Hillary told the jury he was like family with R.I. mob boss Raymond Patriarca Sr. and Jr., but its his association with Frank Salemme that had him at center stage in a Boston courtroom.
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Hillary was also friends with Channel nightclub owner Steven DiSarro, the man Salemme is accused of killing.
The feds believe Salemme was a silent partner in the Channel nightclub. And that he had DiSarro killed, concerned DiSarro was going to flip on him to the feds.
Hillary and Salemme, along with Salemme's now dead son in Boston, were on the payroll at the Channel.
In chilling testimony, he described how he was kicked out of the business.
"I got 86'd out of the Channel," said Hillary.
And he said it happened at a restaurant in Chinatown. He said Salemme grabbed him by the throat as soon as he sat down
"Ba da bing, ba da boom, I'm like Frankie? What's up? I'm boxed in the booth. Next thing I know he grabbed me by the throat. I didnt expect it," said Hillary. "He is choking me. I never had a boss do this to me. He said get the F out of this town. If I ever see you I'll kill you myself. I knew it was serious."
Hillary said he called DiSarro to tell him what happened, and it was the last conversation he ever had with him.
Under contentious cross examination, Salemme's lawyer laid into Hillary's past.
Boozang: "Out of 73 years on this earth, how many years did you work legitimately?"
Hillary: "Let me put it this way. I look at my social security. It's not much."
Testimony resumes Monday.
On Friday, the jury is traveling to Sharon to see the murder scene and then get in a bus to Providence to see the mob grave where DiSarro's body was found after 25 years.
Cox Media Group