Alias: Joseph Donati, The Baron, “The Animal”, Joseph Bentley
Born: September 20, 1932, New Bedford, Massachusetts
Ethnicity: Portuguese American
News: See United States v. Limone, in Support, (D.Mass/Boston) U.S. District Court and Appeals Court for the First Circuit opinions.
Died: February 11, 1976, San Francisco, California, of Lead Poison from a 30 caliber carbine and shot guns blasts. First guy ever to be killed while on the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Addresses: New Bedford, Massachusetts; Santa Rosa, California
Joe Barboza – A 1970 Interview With ‘The Animal’
A serial contract killer considered by authorities to be one of the most powerful and feared figures in Boston’s underworld at the time, Joseph Baron “The Animal” Barboza was born to Portuguese immigrants and grew up in the whaling city of New Bedford, Massachusetts, as the second oldest of four children.His father, a middleweight boxer with an eye for the ladies, would later abandon the family, leaving his long-suffering seamstress wife to care for their brood.A street-smart kid, the young Barboza followed in his father’s footsteps, briefly pursuing a career as a professional boxer.Later, he worked as a longshoreman and a clerk at a local fruit stand.Swarthy and good-looking, he was adored by women not only for his love of children and animals but also for his “bad boy” image.While he lacked a formal education, he spoke three languages and was a skilled chef who could whip up a native Portuguese dish or a wine-infused French meal at the drop of a hat, according to public records.Murder whoever was his real passion, he literally enjoyed killing people and was real good at it too.
In and out of reform schools since the age of 12, Barboza was already doing hard time by the time he turned 18, when he was imprisoned in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord State Prison in 1950.Three years into the sentence, he orchestrated a prison break by overpowering four guards in what was the largest escape in that institution’s history. With 7 inmates, including Barboza, on the prowl, there was mayhem in the streets of Boston.Trolling Boston’s red-light district at Scillay Square (aka) the Combat Zone, the convicts cruised the bars, attacking and beating innocent bystanders on the streets after they robbed them of cash, during their first and only night of freedom.The inmates were finally apprehended at an East Boston train station just 24 hours after their escape.
Entry New England Mafia :
It wasn’t that brazen escape that caught the eye of the New England mob, however. It was a legendary encounter with a Patriarca crime family underboss at an East Boston bar in 1958, after Barboza was paroled from prison, that really got him noticed.It also earned him the nickname “The Animal.”According to one account, Barboza was reportedly drinking at a Boston-area bar patronized by organized crime figures when an elderly patron, upset by his obnoxious behavior, berated him for his rudeness. Barboza, never one to take criticism lightly, approached the older man and slapped him hard across the face.Sitting nearby, underboss Henry Tameleo angrily shouted to Barboza” “I don’t want you to ever slap that man. I don’t want you to touch anybody with your hands again.” Suddenly, Barboza leaned over and bit the man’s ear. “I didn’t touch him with my hands,” snarled the man who would fore ever more be known as “The Animal”
Barboza hooked up with a motely gang of thieves: Cono “Conni” Frizzi, Sr., Nicky Femia, Vincent “The Bear” Flemmi and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Thomas Deprisco, and Arthur “Tash” Bratsos were part of his crew of killers, thieves and burglars, whom was supervised by Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.He soon became known for his fearlessness.Within a few years, he had earned his stripes as one of the mob’s most prolific serial contract killers.Because of his Portuguese heritage, however, he was never to become a made man.
The Flipping point:
By 1966, with a number of hits already under his belt. Barboza had become a serious reckless liability to the Italian bosses. The final straw came when he walked into a nightclub that was paying protection money to underboss Gennaro Angiulo and demanded that he be paid too.In October 1966, after being arrested on a weapons charge while cruising Boston’s Combat Zone with two other hoodlums, Barboza had been in a tough situation. Held on $100,000 bail, he waited for his mobster friends to bail him out.Nobody did.Then he heard rumors that the New England Mafia had a hit out on him.Both men were pals of Barboza, and were trying to raise money for his bail when the entered the North End bar called the “Nite Lite Cafe” on Commercial Street in the Little Italy section of town.The men were in possession of $59,000 and needed $41,000 more to bail out Barboza, who was being held on weapons charges.unfortunately, Bratos and DePrisco tried to shake down the wrong crowd. Later the Law Enforcement agents found their bullet riddled bodies were found inside Bratos’s black Cadillac in South Boston on November 1, 1966, in an attempt to make it look like it was part of the pending Irish Gang War. making it looked like a Irish mob hit instead of the dreaded Italian Mafia Hit.In the very end of things the killers were never apprehended nor was the $59,000 ever found, according to PUBLIC ACCOUNTS.
Soon after FBI agents: Dennis Condin and H. Paul Rico began courting Barboza as an informant while he sat in prison, where he was serving a five year term of imprisonment for the weapons charge with a hit on his head at that time the going rate for Barboza was $100,000 for whom ever accomplished the hit.Then in the summer of 1967, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi made a prison visit at the request of FBI agents: Condon and Rico in a bid to turn Barboza into an FBI informant and eventual witness against the New England mob. Flemmi was told by FBI agents: Condon and Rico to tell Barboza that their was a $100,000 contract out on his life and that the FBI would protect him if he cooperated with them against the dreaded Italian New England Mafia members.It was a day the FBI had long awaited. FBI agents: Condon and Rico helped coach Barboza to falsely testify against Limone, Salvati, Greco and Tamileo for a murder they were found later NOT to Have committed.
Coached by FBI agents:
In June 1967, Barboza officially flipped for the FBI and was coached by FBI agents: Condon and Rico for trial.By the time he was through, seven mobsters, including Raymond Patriarca Sr. and Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo were indicted on murder and other charges.In the first of two trials, Angiulo was found NOT GUILTY after tow hours of jury deliberations.jurors would later tell reporters they found Barboza’s testimony could not be believed.The outcome was far different in the second trial, however, leading to the conviction of Patriarca on conspiracy to murder charges.Shortly after that verdict. Tameleo, who had intervened when Barboza slapped an elderly man in a Revere bar, and Peter Limone, a body guard for Angiulo, along with two others were convicted of the murder of Edward “Teddy” Deegan.
All these convictions didn’t sit well with some mob underlings. While the trials were in session, later found out that Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi planted a bomb under the hood of Barboza’s black Oldsmobile, which he had given to his attorney, John Fitzgerald (later to become Judge Fitsgerald of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals), as payment for legal fees. Miraculously, Fitzgerald survived the blast but lost his right leg.
Code name “Baron”:
The bombing prompted federal officials to begin moving their star witness Barboza, now known by the code name “Baron” to secret locations with a platoon of armed Federal Agents with machine guns, to secret locations in a bid to protect him from assassination from the Mafia whom is was discovered that Barboza had a $500.000 hit on his head to anyone that could locate him and kill him as numerous FBI informants reported.In one of the many locations the FBI hid him it was later discovered he was on a small island off the Massachusetts coast, a military base northwest of Boston and even at one point in time when the feds thought that the mob had a line on him Barboza was hidden at Fort knox, Kentucky, where he stayed in the junior officers quarters.The maneuvers worked, albeit only temporarily. Barboza’s testimony sent Patriarca Sr. to a federal penitentiary in Atlanta, put four mob associates: Limone, Tamileo, Greco and French on death row and handed life sentences to two others: Salvati and Cassesso.In return for his testimony, Barboza was given a one-year prison sentence.
Federal witness protection program:
In 1969, Barboza, was paroled into the new Witness Protection Program, becoming the very first informant to gain federal protection status which Barboza clearly opened the program. Barboza was forever barred from living in Boston and headed to Santa Rosa, California, where he enrolled in culinary cooking school.Yet killing like cooking remained part of his resume and his repertoire. Just two years later, in 1971, he pleaded guilty in California to the second degree murder of a twenty-seven-year-old truck driver in a dispute over stolen bonds. he was also suspected in killing Four others while he was on the federal witness protection program in California. He was sentenced to serve five years in Folsom Prison, where he became known as an amateur artist and poet, penning verses such as “The Mafia Double Crosses’ and “Boston gang War.” His Mafia colleagues, however, never gave up the quest to kill him.
On February 11, 1976. less than three months after Barboza was released from Folsom Prison, the contract killer who claimed to have murder 29 people in new England and another 5 more people in California including a mother 7 her young daughter while on the Federal Witness Protection Program and suspected in numerous rapes of young women was gunned down by Boston mob capo Joseph “J.R.” Russo as Barboza walked to his car in San Francisco, California.The killer whose raspy voice brought down the head of the New England Mafia had finally been silenced.
- According to Marino’s indictment, Joseph “J.R.” Russo was named as an unindicted coconspirator of Marino’s 1989 through 1994 indictment according to public records, also Russo is that half brother of Marino’s codefendant: Robert “Bobby Russo” Carrozza, whom was also a suspect in that hit also according to public records. Russo’s “Alfred Plead” in Federal Court in Boston represented that Russo was NOT admitting guilt, however, according to that U.S Supreme Court case allowed Russo to Plead an Alfred Plea which states in relevant part that Russo was NOT admitting guilt but that the government may have enough evidence at trial to convict of that crime.