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Former mobster pleads guilty to lying about 1993 murder of South Boston nightclub owner

Robert DeLuca.
Robert DeLuca.Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP/Associated Press

A longtime Rhode Island mobster who served only a day in jail after cooperating against fellow mobsters in an extortion plot, admitted Friday that he lied to investigators about the 1993 murder of a South Boston nightclub owner and other gangland slayings.

Seventy-one-year-old Robert DeLuca pleaded guilty Friday in US District Court in Boston to obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.

He admitted that after striking a deal with prosecutors in 2011 in exchange for leniency on extortion charges, he thwarted the investigation into the 1993 slaying of Steven A. DiSarro by failing to disclose that he knew who killed the nightclub owner and had helped dispose of his body. DiSarro’s remains were discovered in March buried behind an old mill in Providence.

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As part of a plea agreement, DeLuca will testify against former New England Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and Paul Weadick, a plumber from Burlington, who were charged in September with killing DiSarro.

DeLuca, a former capo in the New England Mafia, also admitted Friday that he lied when he told investigators in 2011 that he didn’t know anything about other murders, including the 1992 slaying of Kevin Hanrahan. DeLuca has agreed to plead guilty to state charges in Rhode Island for conspiracy to murder Hanrahan, a mob enforcer who was shot to death in Providence, but has yet to be charged in that case.

US District Judge Denise J. Casper set sentencing for Feb. 1 on the federal charges.

DeLuca’s attorney, Carlos J. Dominguez, said his client pleaded guilty because “he wants to accept responsibility and move on.”

Assistant US Attorney Fred Wyshak told the judge that DeLuca spent only a day in jail in 2011 for extorting payments from strip club owners in Rhode Island because he cooperated against fellow mobsters and denied any involvement in murders or other violent crimes.

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“That would, of course, not have happened if Mr. DeLuca was truthful,” Wyshak said.


Shelley Murphy can be reached at shelley.murphy@globe.com.