Out on bail with a history of murder and mayhem

Out on bail with a history of murder and mayhem

Arthur J. Macrae and Albert Ortiz were sitting in a car eating hot dogs outside the New York Systems diner in Providence 's Olneyville Square when a middle-aged man walked by, stopped and turned to them.

"What the . . . are you looking at," the man said, pulling out a silver revolver with a 2-inch barrel, according to a police account of the incident.

Macrae and Ortiz, who were out celebrating St. Patrick's Day and had never before laid eyes on the man, responded that they weren't looking at anything in particular.

The man glared at them and walked up to the takeout counter. Then, he turned abruptly and fired at least four bullets into Macrae and Ortiz, seriously wounding both.

A month later, April 1985, police arrested Richard F. Gomes, an underworld figure with a fearsome reputation for violence, for the shootings.

Gomes, 55, of 7 Brook St., North Providence, has spent nearly 20 years behind bars. His convictions include desertion and mutiny while in the Army, assaulting a guard and a fellow inmate in prison and stabbing a man to death.

At the time of the Olneyville shootings, March 17, 1985, Gomes was free on bail, awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to murder two people to protect a drug ring with alleged ties to the New England organized-crime family of Raymond J. "Junior" Patriarca (see story on Page A-22).

After his arrest for attempted murder in the Olneyville shootings, Gomes was arrested three more times, on two drug-possession charges and a charge of receiving stolen property.

Yet, despite these arrests, his violent past and outstanding charges implicating him in attempts to kill four people, Gomes remains free awaiting trial. This is due to delays and faulty communication within the court system, a questionable bail ruling by a judge, and court guidelines that fail to define what constitutes a bail violation....

Inside the underworld

Inside the underworld

...Gilbert's testimony shines a harsh light on a layer of the underworld rarely seen by outsiders. It's not the organized crime of high-ranking mobsters in limousines and $1,000 suits. And it's nothing like the romantic popular mystique of the Mafia as a well-organized brotherhood of "men of honor."

Gilbert's world is a kingdom of ugliness, where men without conscience rule over drug users, enslaved both by their addiction and by their rulers' breathtaking capacity for violence.

In the macabre North Smithfield scene, for instance, Gilbert told of how the men discussed what to do about Olivo's body parts. They were afraid that his head would be found and used by police to trace the murder to them. They were also concerned that the tattoos on Olivo's upper arms - an Italian flag and a portrait of Christ's head - would help police identify the body.

One man tried pouring acid on the head and hands.

Another man applied lye to burn off the tattoos. It didn't work well, however, so the first man suggested that they cut off the tattoos with a knife. "You've gone this far," he reasoned.

Gilbert, finally disgusted, handed over his knife. "Here, you do it," he said, and walked away into the chill winter morning....

R.I. spent over $120,000 to keep witness happy, but he didn't live to testify

R.I. spent over $120,000 to keep witness happy, but he didn't live to testify

...Gilbert's mother, Dorothy Gilbert, 68, of Pawtucket , says she expressed concern about his apparent lack of protection.

"I said, 'What are you doing, Peter?' " Mrs. Gilbert says. "He said, 'Don't worry, I got a friend with me,' " and pulled up his pants leg to reveal a leg holster with a gun.

It is against the law for convicted felons, let alone prisoners still serving their sentences, to carry guns.

Tamburini denies that Gilbert carried a gun....

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Gilbert kept happy to tune of $169,000

Gilbert kept happy to tune of $169,000

...One day in 1985, Francis M. Dupointe, a budget officer under Violet, was thumbing through a stack of receipts that accounted for state money Gilbert had spent on himself.

Dupointe had seen some peculiar bills cross his desk, but why, he wondered, should a prisoner serving a murder sentence pay someone to shine his shoes?

"Come on, here's a man in a safe house," Dupointe says he told Edwin J. Semper, then a Providence police detective, who sat across the desk. "He has time to polish his own shoes."

And bowling?

"Instead of bowling 12 strings, maybe 3 was enough?" Dupointe says he told Semper. "Besides, I thought this guy's life was being threatened."

He says Semper shrugged and said: " 'We gotta keep the guy happy....' "

Internal charges filed on police Cmdr. Tamburini

Internal charges filed on police Cmdr. Tamburini

...The internal charges against Tamburini, the department's second-in-command, are the first in what is expected to be a series of disciplinary actions against police officers who had been responsible for Gilbert's protective custody.

"The prosecution process is under way," said Vincent F. Ragosta, a special counsel for the city who is prosecuting the cases....

City probe blames police, Violet, O'Neil, mayor for Gilbert 'fiasco'

City probe blames police, Violet, O'Neil, mayor for Gilbert 'fiasco'

...The report sheds no new light on questions that have buzzed around the case since Gilbert's death: whether any police officers knew of, or participated in, Gilbert's drug dealing, and whether they knew that Gilbert, a three-time murderer, carried guns.

But McGuirl's report does one thing two previous official investigations did not do: It lays blame....

Investigation into police pay abuses ends at City Hall

Investigation into police pay abuses ends at City Hall

An internal police investigation last year pointed to a pattern of financial abuse by two police officers who were former chauffeurs and close political supporters of Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr.

Three ranking police officials say Chief Bernard E. Gannon told them that he had sent the report to the state attorney general.

In fact, Gannon had carried the law enforcement report to City Hall, where the investigation ended....

Former officer close to Cianci is indicted on felony counts

Former officer close to Cianci is indicted on felony counts

PROVIDENCE --- A former city police officer with close ties to Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. was indicted yesterday on two felony counts of obtaining money under false pretenses from a troubled Police Department account.

Nicholas Ricamo Jr., a patrolman who retired last year, was indicted by a state grand jury investigating alleged financial abuses of the police Detail Office, which handles a million-dollar-plus payroll account from police headquarters....