Alias: Larry Baione
Born: June 15, 1920, Boston
Died: February 27, 1996, Springfield, Missouri
Association: Patriarca Family, New England Mafia
A genuine tough guy. One of the most prolific bookmakers and loan sharks in the New England History, Ilario Zannino rose to become a top Lieutenant in the Patriarca family.Hard drinking, tough talking which can be backed with brutality, he was second in command under Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo.
Boston’s ruthless mob underboss. Standing only five feet and seven inches and weighing 160 pounds, Zannino didn’t look like much of a mob heavyweight to outsiders, yet he had a vicious side that would serve him well both past, present and future.Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, a part of Boston, on June 15, 1920, the son of Joseph Zannino and Isabella LaGrada, he worked as an assistant in his father’s shoemaking shop as a youngster.Later after his family moved to Franklin, Massachusetts, where his mother ran a chicken and pig farm, the young Zannino would gather garbage in the South End to feed the pigs.He also held jobs as a waiter, professional boxer, night club operator and restaurant manager, later moving into racketeering, running Las Vegas nights, loan-sharking and bookmaking operations.By the 1980s, he had earned enough money to live in a brick mansion on the waterfront in Swampscott, just fifteen miles north of Boston.
As a teenager at Franklin High School, from which he graduated in 1938, Zannino dreamed of going to medical school.Instead, he became a contract killer and mob enforcer whose vicious reputation as a hit man made him among the most lethal of mob assassins.Known as “Larry Baione” among his mobster pals, he was nicknamed “Zip” as a youngster, an ironic twist given that a corrupt FBI agent with that same moniker, John “Zip” Connolly, would eventually bring him down. With FBI agent Connolly’s false reports, and false Federal Grand Jury testimonies.It is unclear how Zannino got entangled with the Mafia , but even as a teenager, it seemed he was always looking for trouble.member of a youth gang called “Let’s Go,” he would roam the streets of the South End hanging off an automobile running board, clutching a revolver, according to The Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr.Still he was apparently generous with close friends and family members, often giving them $500.00 or $1,000.00 to friends or relatives who were in need of it.
When he attended the 1954 wedding of another former gang member, a man who would later go on to become a school principle, he pressed a $100.00 bill a fortune at the time into the grooms’ hand and curtly said, “Get a necktie kid.”Convicted in the 1965 murder of a waiter he stabbed to death at a South End restaurant, reportedly because the service was too slow, Zannino also had a conviction for a jewelry heist and so spent much of the 1970s behind bars.
He had a reputation for shaking down other hoodlums, including much earlier Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo.When Angiulo went to mob boss Patriarca Sr. with $50,000 in hand and a promise to pay $100,000 annually in tribute, things really turned around.Angiulo’s brazen act won over Patriarca , who soon made Zannino an enforcer for the Boston mob boss.It was a relationship that would last the rest of their lives which became a very lucrative business.Zannino’s status in the New England mob got the attention of the FBI until 1981, when the FBI , with help from Bulger, Flemmi, bugged Angiulo‘s Prince Street headquarters in Boston’s North End.Here, Zannino was often heard by FBI agents discussing mob hits with Angiulo.”We gotta kill this guy, you know,” Zannino is heard on audio tape saying, Etc.Zannino is heard on tape saying in reference to killing Angelo Patrizzi, a thirty-eight-year-old ex-con who vowed vengeance against mob leaders for the death of his half brother, killed after he was found skimming money from loan shark receipts.Nicknamed “Hole in the head” because of the .32-caliber bullet fragments in his skull from a prior shooting episode, Patrizzi had an 8th grade education, a loud mouth and a grudge that was making the mobsters nervous.Zannino left that meeting with a chilling promise.Zannino told Angiulo, I know what to do. Patrizzi’s body was later found in the trunk of a stolen car behind the parking lot of a motel in Lynn, Massachusetts called the Harbor House.His legs had been hogtied to his neck, and he was stuffed inside a sleeping bag, where he had slowly strangle himself to death.It was a gruesome murder. It wasn’t only murder the feds would seek to pin on Zannino.
For years, investigators had been trying to find the killer of Mafia informant Joseph Baron “The Animal” Barboza, who was shot to death in San Francisco in 1976.In the FBI‘s secretly taped conversation being recorded, Zannino identified the hit man as powerful mob capo Joseph J.R. Russo, (an unindicted coconspirator of Marino’s case via: United States v. Marino, R-97-40009-NMG. (D.Mass) and half brother of Marino’s codefendant Carrozza according to the government), Russo who later took over the New England Mafia, via: acts of violence.Joseph “J.R.” Russo, who was later took over the New England Mafia in 1989, was identified by Zannino as the shooter in the Barboza killing. Which Barboza was the very first man ever to be killed while on the Federal Witness Protection Program.Zannino stated “We Clipped Barboza ,” Zannino would brag, calling Russo “a genius with a carbine.” Zannino also was suspected of orchestrating a January 30, 1968, car bombing that seriously injured Barboza’s attorney, John E. Fitzgerald.The blast ripped off one of Fitzgerald’s’s legs. on tape Zannino is heard apologizing for not killing Fitzgerald, blaming it on the lawyer’s habit of leaving the driver’s side door open when starting a car.In 1987, as federal investigators were wrapping up the trials of several mobsters based on those audiotapes, Zannino was facing a trial of his own.
Convicted on racketeering charges for running an illegal lucrative gambling operation and extortion rackets, he received a thirty year prison sentence.While being taken out of the courtroom, a reporter asked what he thought of the verdict. “I hope they all die in their beds,” he said, referring to the jury, the Boston Globe would report the next day.It was a typical Zannino outburst but one that would add additional time to his thirty-year sentence. Not that it really mattered.On February 27, 1996, Zannino beat the feds out of his jail sentence, nine years into his incarceration, the tough-talking mobster with the quick trigger finger died of natural causes in a prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri.