Saturday, 2:15 PM
Mobster pleads guilty in Springfield slaying
(AP File Photo)
Frankie Roche at a 2005 appearance in state court.
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
It may sound like the plot from a movie: A New York mob family becomes dissatisfied with the money flowing into it from a "crew" in a smaller New England city. And members hatch a scheme to kill the man who heads the crew.
But prosecutors say the story that unfolded in Springfield was all too real.
Frankie A. Roche, 35, of Westfield pleaded guilty today in federal court to murdering Adolfo Bruno, the alleged head of the mob crew in Springfield. In a statement of charges filed today with the plea agreement, prosecutors alleged that Roche and other members of the crew acted to "usurp control" of the crew in order to increase the income from racketeering both for themselves and the Genovese crime family in New York.
Roche, who was paid $10,000 to commit the 2003 slaying, could have faced the death penalty. But in exchange for his plea to a charge of murder in aid of racketeering, prosecutors will recommend that he receive a life sentence, the plea agreement said.
Roche has also agreed to cooperate fully with law enforcement, and if he provides them "substantial assistance," his sentence could be reduced further, according to the court documents.
Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, said La Cosa Nostra, more commonly known as the Mafia, is still a major concern throughout Massachusetts and the FBI will continue to target it.
"I still think sometimes there is a misconception that the LCN has gone away, but that's incorrect, both in western Massachusetts and eastern Massachusetts,'' Bamford said. "There are still organizations in existence, crews, groups that are still active and thriving...and it's important for us to go after them.''
Bamford said that the turmoil and power struggle in the Genovese family is not uncommon within the Mafia. "It kind of represents how they do business, how they act and how they settle differences,'' Bamford said.
Roche admitted to murdering Bruno on Nov. 23, 2003, shooting him with a .45-caliber pistol as he exited a Springfield social club, prosecutors said.
The crew's illegal activities included illegal gambling, extortion, and loan sharking, according to the documents. The case was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI, and several other agencies, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.
Roche's attorney, Colleen Quinn Brady of New York, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
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