Thursday, 4:30 PM
Exonerated murder suspects describe decades of pain in prison
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Joseph Salvati, pictured above with his wife Marie, described today in federal court the pain of spending decades in prison for a murder he did not commit.
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
In an emotional day in federal court, Peter Limone and Joseph Salvati described how they spent decades in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 1965 gangland murder, missing out on family milestones as their young children grew into adults and had children of their own.
"The first couple of years were real rough," said Salvati, who was a 34-year-old father of four when he was arrested in 1967 on the word of mob hit man who had been recruited by the FBI as a government witness. "The kids were bothered on the street. The (prison) visits were hard. They'd have to leave and leave you behind."
But, Salvati said that neither he nor Marie, his wife of 53 years, ever gave up hope that he would be exonerated of the 1965 slaying in Chelsea of petty thief Edward "Teddy" Deegan. In 1997, then Governor William Weld commuted Salvati's life sentence, leading to his release after 29 years and five months in prison.
On Jan. 5, 2001, Limone was also set free and the convictions of both men were put aside after it was revealed that long secret FBI documents that indicated that Limone, Salvati and two other men who died in prison -- Henry Tameleo and Louis Greco -- had been framed by the hit man, Joseph "The Animal" Barboza.
Limone, Salvati, and the families of Greco and Tameleo are suing the government for $100 million for false imprisonment.
"I couldn't believe the FBI would do a thing like that, these are people you look up to," said Salvati, describing his reaction to the discovery that FBI never disclosed evidence that might have helped him prove his innocence at trial. "They didn't care 40 years ago, and they don't care now."
Limone, also a father of four who served 33 years in prison, finished testifying earlier today. He became emotional as he described the pain of being in prison when his parents and other relatives died. He said in 1999 his brother, Salvatore "came up to see me on a Tuesday, then the next day they called to tell me he was dead."
(David Kamerman/Globe Staff)
Peter Limone and his wife Olympia Limone exited federal court in South Boston last week after he testified in a civil lawsuit that charges the government with false imprisonment for sending him to prison for decades for a murder he did not commit.