Feared mobster Frank “Bobo” Marrapese, a convicted killer and former member of the Patriarca crime family in Providence, died Friday morning while serving time in Rhode Island for his role in an illegal gambling ring.
State Police Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Philbin confirmed the passing of the 74-year-old gangster in a brief phone interview. Marrapese died at Rhode Island Hospital, according to Susan Perez, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.
A cause of death wasn’t immediately available, though authorities said he dealt with heart problems. His death was first reported by WPRI-TV in Providence.
Marrapese was released in 2008 from the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, R.I., after serving 25 years for the 1975 slaying of Richard “Dickie” Callei.
Callei had visited the Acorn Social Club, then a mob hangout in the Federal Hill section of Providence, the night he was fatally shot. His body was later discovered buried near a golf course. Marrapese was convicted of the killing in 1987.
He was acquitted of two other murders, including the brutal 1982 bludgeoning death of 20-year-old Ronald McElroy, an East Providence man whose skull was crushed with a baseball bat after a traffic incident.
A 1984 Boston Globe article mentioned Marrapese as a potential successor to Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the head of organized crime in New England who died the day before the story appeared.
The article noted that Marrapese was at the time “out of action and . . . unable to campaign for the top job” because he was serving a 10-year bid for buying a truckload of stolen chairs and also facing murder indictments.
“He faces another charge of stealing 888 cases of whiskey in Providence,” the article stated.
More recently, Marrapese found trouble in 2011, when he was charged as part of a sprawling illegal betting ring that also ensnared longtime Patriarca associates Edward Lato and Alfred ‘‘Chippy’’ Scivola.
Marrapese pleaded guilty in 2013 to criminal charges in connection with the ring and was sentenced to nine years in prison, landing him back at the ACI.
“He was the real deal,” Philbin said Friday, adding that many mobsters from the heyday of organized crime are on the decline. “They’re all getting older now. I’m sure there’s somebody young ready to take his place. There’s always somebody behind him.”