Joseph Barboza

Joseph Barboza
Barboza's 1967 mugshot
Born (1932-09-20)September 20, 1932
Died February 11, 1976(1976-02-11) (aged 43)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Cause of death Gun shots
Resting place South Dartmouth Cemetery, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names The Animal
The Baron
The Wild Thing
The Joe Valachi of New England
Joseph Donati
Joseph Baroboza Baron
Joseph Bentley
Occupation Mobster
Children 2
Allegiance Patriarca crime family
Conviction(s) Murder (1971)
Criminal penalty 5 years' imprisonment

Joseph Barboza Jr. (/bɑːrˈbzə/;[1] September 20, 1932 – February 11, 1976), nicknamed "the Animal", was an American mobster and notorious mob hitman for the Patriarca crime family during the 1960s.

Early life

Barboza was born on September 20, 1932 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Portuguese emigrants from Azores, Portugal Joseph Barboza Sr. (born José Barbosa), a middle-weight boxer and Palmeda Camille, who was a seamstress.[2] His father was from Los Angeles, California and fought in only two professional boxing matches; his debut professional boxing match was against Pete Frisco on January 27, 1933, and the second match was against Carlos Chipres on April 27, 1933. Barboza had two brothers; Donald and Anthony Barboza and a sister, Anne Houghton.[3]

Barboza was fluent in Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. He was married to a Jewish woman and fathered a daughter in 1965 and also a son and lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts while employed by the Patriarca crime family.

Professional boxing career

Joseph Barboza
Real name Joseph Barboza
Nickname(s) The Baron
Weight(s) Light heavyweight
Nationality American
Boxing record
Total fights 11
Wins 8
Losses 3

Barboza would pursue a career as a professional light heavyweight boxer and member of the United States Boxing Association, using the name of "the Baron".[2] His first boxing match on April 18, 1949 against Rocky Lucero in El Paso, Texas and his last fight on September 23, 1961 against Don Bale in Boston, Massachusetts. He fought with an orthodox stance. His boxing record shows Joseph as winning eight out of the eleven matches, with five of them ending in knock outs.[4] He was classified as an out-fighter who was known for having very powerful punches. He was a sparring partner of Patriarca crime family associate, Americo Sacramone, future Massachusetts Auditor Joe DeNucci, Edward G. Connors and Anthony Veranis. He later worked as a longshoreman and as a clerk in a fruit store but always returned to crime.

Escape from prison

He was first sent to prison in 1950 to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution - Concord for five years. Barboza would later lead a wild prison break in the summer of 1953, which would become the largest in the prison's seventy-five-year history. Joe and six other fellow inmates had guzzled contraband whiskey and pilfered amphetamine tablets, overpowered four prison guards and raced away in two separate cars. During their furlough of freedom they beat random people in the street, cruised the bars in Boston's Scollay Square, wandered to the neighborhoods of Lynn and Revere, and were finally apprehended at a subway station in East Boston. The escape party had barely lasted twenty-four hours. That November, while awaiting trial for his prison break, Barboza slugged a prison guard in the cafeteria for no reason. Three months later, he tossed a table at a guard's chest when he entered his cell.

Entry into organized crime

Barboza may have first been exposed to figures of Boston organized crime while incarcerated at Walpole. Paroled in 1958, he became a recognized figure in East Boston's organized crime circles and was a regular at a bar on the corner of Bennington Street and Brook Street, which became known among local criminals as "Barboza's Corner". His crew of small-time burglars and thieves consisted of Joseph W. Amico, Patrick Fabiano, James Kearns, Arthur Bratsos, Thomas DePrisco, father and son team Joseph and Ronald Dermody, Carlton Eaton, Edward Goss and Nicholas Femia.[citation needed] The crew was officially supervised for the Patriarca crime family by Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi. He was never officially inducted into the Patriarca crime family because of his Portuguese heritage but within eight years during the escalation of gangland warfare he earned a reputation as one of Boston's most prolific contract killers and sidewalk soldiers.

In 1964, Barboza legally changed his name to "Baron".

It was widely believed[citation needed] in law official circles that Barboza had performed contract killings for Raymond L. S. Patriarca. By January 1966, Barboza was considered a powerful crime figure in the Boston underworld. For disturbing the peace one night, he slugged a Metropolitan District Commission Police Officer, Joe MacLean, and received a six-month sentence. After his release from prison and his graduation from an expensive cooking school he was shipped out on the SS President Wilson to the Orient.[citation needed]

A few notorious victims on his murder roster included Edward McLaughlin and both Cornelius Hughes and Stevie Hughes, killed between 1965 and 1966. Barboza aligned himself with the Winter Hill Gang in part because James "Buddy" McLean was an ally of Vincent Flemmi, who Barboza trusted along with his brother Stephen Flemmi. As early as 1965, FBI agent H. Paul Rico, was using that trust to drive Barboza into becoming an informant. Joe drove a 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass which was referred to by law enforcement as "the James Bond car" because it had a sophisticated alarm system and a device for making thick black smoke come out of the tailpipe.[5]

Turning government witness

By 1966, he had a very turbulent position in the Boston underworld. He had been shot at while standing outside his home in Chelsea. The local authorities believed there had been other unreported attempts. Brimming with reckless power, he was not abiding to the traditional rules of La Cosa Nostra. One night he went into a nightclub that was paying Gennaro Angiulo for protection and demanded that the owner make payments to him as well. By mid-1966, the unrelenting attention from the law Barboza received from the authorities only made his standing in organized crime more tenuous.

In October 1966, he came to terms with his falling-out with the organized crime element after he and three local hoodlums were arrested on weapons charges while cruising the Combat Zone in Boston. His accomplices were released on bail, but Barboza had his bail set at $100,000 which he could not afford. Nobody from the Patriarca crime family came down to post his bail and he heard that it was the Mafia family who tipped off the cops.

Two of his associates Bratsos and DePrisco, went to raise Barboza's bail. Five weeks later, after raising $59,000 the pair were murdered in the Nite Lite Cafe by soldiers serving under Ralph "Ralphie Chong" Lamattina, who served in the crew of Ilario Zannino. After relieving them of their bail money, they stuffed their bodies in the back seat of Bratsos' car and dumped it in South Boston, hoping to throw blame onto the Irish gangs. However, a mob associate named Joseph Lanzi tipped the cops about the murder. On April 18, 1967 he was murdered by Jerry Angiulo's enforcers Carmen Gagliardi, Frank Otero and Ben DeChristoforo.[6]

The FBI began diligent efforts to turn Barboza into an informant. In December, Joe Amico was murdered. The following month, after a ten-day trial, Barboza was sentenced to a five-year term at Walpole on the weapons charges. In the summer of 1967, Steve Flemmi met with Joseph and informed him that Gennaro Angiulo and his brothers had plans to murder him. In June 1967, Barboza turned FBI informant while imprisoned for murder, and eventually testified against Raymond Patriarca before becoming one of the first informants to enter the Witness Protection Program. The government told Barboza his wife and children would not be protected unless he agreed to testify. The government also promised to set him up in his own restaurant — and plastic surgery to change his appearance and further protect Barboza and his family — but it did not fulfill either of these promises.

Barboza went on to testify against Raymond Patriarca and many high-ranking members and associates of the New England family. On June 20, Patriarca and Henry Tameleo were indicted for conspiracy to murder in the 1966 killing of Providence bookmaker Willie Marfeo. On August 9, Gennaro Angiulo was accused of participating in the murder of Rocco DiSeglio. Finally in October, six men were charged with the March 1965 murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan, who had been marked for death for several burglaries which he had committed with Stephen Flemmi, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Shortly after the indictment of Raymond Patriarca, which drew front-page stories about Barboza as a turncoat, Barboza wrote to the Boston Herald: "All I want to be is left alone." The La Cosa Nostra was willing to pay Barboza $25,000 to quit talking. He showed some interest in the deal raising the price to $50,000 which was agreed upon but later turned down after consulting his lawyer.

Angiulo was later found not guilty. Despite efforts by reporters to coax jurors to explain their deliberations, none did. Twenty years later, however, jury foreman Kenneth Matthews said none of the sixteen jurors had found Barboza believable, stating "He didn't help the state at all. He wasn't reliable. He was nothing as a witness".

On January 30, 1968, a bomb was planted in the car of Barboza's attorney, John E. Fitzgerald, resulting in Fitzgerald losing his right leg below the knee.[7] After that Barboza was moved around frequently from Thacher Island to Fort Devens and even to the Junior Officers' quarters located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Barboza owned a German Shepherd dog and while at Fort Knox he would walk his dog with future corrupt FBI agent John Morris who was a member of the military police at the time. In May 1968, the Deegan trial began. After 50 days of testimony and deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Found guilty and sentenced to death were Peter Limone, Louis Greco, Henry Tameleo and Ronald Cassesso. Sentenced to life in prison were Joseph Salvati and Wilfred Roy French.

Barboza was given a one-year prison term, including time served. He was paroled in March 1969, under the name of "Joseph Bentley", and relocated to Santa Rosa, California[7] where he enrolled in a culinary arts school.[8] In summer 1970, Barboza murdered Clay Wilson. According to the FBI, this was the 26th murder by Barboza.[9] In 1971, he pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge and was sentenced to five years at Folsom Prison. At prison Barboza wrote poems about the American Mafia, "Boston Gang War", "The Mafia Double Crosses", "A Cat's Lives" and "The Gang War Ends".


Barboza was released on October 30, 1975[7] and moved into a $250-a-month apartment as "Joseph Donati". He took the last name from twin brothers Richard and Robert Donati. After he was befriended by small-time South Boston hoodlum James Chalmas, Gennaro Angiulo found out where Barboza was. On February 11, 1976, Barboza left Chalmas' San Francisco apartment; as he was walking to his car, he was hit by four shotgun blasts at close range. Although he was armed with a Colt .38, Barboza never had a chance to draw it.[10][11]

Barboza's attorney F. Lee Bailey said about his death "With all due respect to my former client, I don't think society has suffered a great loss".[10]

Ilario Zannino, chief enforcer of Gennaro Angiulo, was later overheard on a hidden bug saying that it was J. R. Russo who had assassinated Barboza. In the conversation, Zannino described Russo as "a genius with a carbine".

Barboza is buried in South Dartmouth Cemetery in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.[12]

False testimony against rivals

While working for the FBI, Agent H. Paul Rico helped to frame Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, Louis Greco as well as his former mob superior, Henry Tameleo for the murder of Edward Deegan.

Out of the six people convicted for the murder, only Ronald "Ronnie the Pig" Cassesso and Wilfred Roy French were actually involved and present in the alley where the murder took place. FBI agent Paul Rico had offered French and Cassesso leniency if they would corroborate Barboza's false testimony. Both French and Cassesso refused the offer and when French was threatened with the death penalty he responded by telling Rico to "warm up the electric chair". Cassesso died in prison 30 years later. French was finally freed 34 years later.

Winter Hill enforcer John Martorano became a government witness in 1999 after learning that both Stephen Flemmi and James "Whitey" Bulger were FBI informants and had been delivering information about the Mafia and the Winter Hill Gang to them. In his plea agreement, he told the Drug Enforcement Administration agent that Barboza had admitted to lying about the men convicted of killing Teddy Deegan.

Martorano also revealed that Vincent Flemmi had admitted to murdering Deegan.[13]

Tameleo and Greco died in prison after serving almost 30 years, and Salvati and Limone were finally released in 1997 and 2001, respectively. The families of Greco, Tameleo, Salvati and Limone filed lawsuits totaling in excess of one billion dollars filed against the Federal government. In July 2007, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner in Boston found the bureau helped convict the four men and the U.S. Government was ordered to pay $100 million in damages to the four defendants.[14]


Num Victim Date of death Reason
1 Harold Hannon August 4, 1964 Revenge for the murder of Tommy Sullivan.
2 Wilfred J. Delaney August 4, 1964 Ally of Harold Hannon.
3 Theodore Deegan March 12, 1965 Revenge for the robberies Deegan had committed against Patriarca crime family.
4 Romeo A. Martin July 9, 1965
5 Edward McLaughlin October 16, 1965 Rival gang leader.
6 Raymond DiStasio November 15, 1965 Refused to pay a debt of $15,000.[15]
7 John B. O'Neal November 15, 1965 Witness of the murder of Ray DiStasio.[15]
8 Cornelius Hughes May 25, 1966 Rival gang member.
9 Samuel Lindenbaum May 25, 1966 Ally of Cornelius Hughes.
10 Stephen Hughes September 23, 1966 Rival gang member.
11 Clay Wilson Summer 1970[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Joe Barboza - A 1970 Interview With 'The Animal'"
  2. ^ a b Mendes, Eurico (January 23, 2019). "20th Century Fox produz filme sobre o mafioso Joseph Barboza" (PDF). Portuguese Times (in Portuguese). Retrieved May 12, 2020. Joseph Barboza Jr. nasceu a 20 de setembro de 1932 em New Bedford, Massachusetts, onde os mastros dos graciosos navios baleeiros tinham dado lugar às negras chaminés das fábricas de têxteis e já havia ao tempo numerosa comunidade portuguesa. Era o segundo dos cinco filhos de Joseph Barboza Sr. e Palmetta “Patty” Barboza (nascida Camille). Ele nascido nos Açores em 1903 e ela em Massachusetts por volta de 1908, embora algumas biografias digam que eram ambos naturais de Lisboa.
  3. ^ "Donald J. Barboza, Sr". June 11, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  4. ^ "Joe Barboza". BoxRec. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  5. ^ Sherman p. 96
  6. ^ Teresa
  7. ^ a b c "Limone v. United States, 497 F. Supp. 2d 143 (D. Mass. 2007)". Court Listener. July 26, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "How 'Animal' Hitman Met His Death In SF's Sunset District". KPIX-TV. May 15, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2020. The FBI set him up in a culinary school in Santa Rosa. He got a job in the kitchen of a freighter, and he also once worked for the Rathskeller Restaurant in San Francisco.
  9. ^ a b Prothero, P. Mitchell (February 20, 2002). "Feature: FBI testified on behalf of hitman". UPI. Retrieved May 12, 2020. In Santa Rosa, Calif., during the summer of 1970, Joe "The Animal" Barboza murdered small-time thug Clay Wilson, while under the protection of the federal witness protection program. As this was the 26th murder committed by Barboza that the FBI knew about [...]The FBI believed that he'd already committed 26 murders.
  10. ^ a b Robinson, Walter; Cullen, John F. (February 12, 1976). "Told friends minutes before his death Baron predict his own murder". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 12, 2020 – via
  11. ^ Connelly, Sherryl (July 26, 2014). "Heinous Boston mob killer became government informant, was one of first in witness protection: new book". New York Daily News. On Feb. 11, 1976, Barboza, living under the name Joe Donati, left his San Francisco apartment and was hit by four shotgun blasts fired from a Ford van. The Animal was carrying a Colt .38, but never got the chance to use it.
  12. ^ "BURIALS AND BURIAL PLACES" (PDF). 1997. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  13. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. (October 12, 2000). "PROBE INTO FBI SUGGESTS SIX WRONGLY CONVICTED". Hartford Courant. What's more, Martorano has said that Vincent J. "Jimmy the Bear" Flemmi -- Stephen Flemmi's brother -- also admitted killing Deegan. Martorano's account of the two admissions is not necessarily contradictory because, in the 1960s, Vincent Flemmi and Barboza were partners and Vincent Flemmi has long been suspected of being a Barboza accomplice in the Deegan murder.
  14. ^ "U.S. Must Pay Out $100 Million for Wrongful FBI Conviction". Reuters. 2007-07-27. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
  15. ^ a b Sherman p. 118–119

Further reading

External links