CHAPTER TWO

The Wiseguys

The Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions’ maximum-security building in 1955. The warden’s quarters are to the right, covered by the tree. The inmates are housed in the building to the left. Courtesy of J.R. Ventura and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Photo provided by Captain Walter Duffy.

The Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions’ maximum-security building in 1955. The warden’s quarters are to the right, covered by the tree. The inmates are housed in the building to the left. Courtesy of J.R. Ventura and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Photo provided by Captain Walter Duffy.

How does a kid from Providence become a mob enforcer? Two men share their personal stories of joining Raymond Patriarca’s crime family. As they move from their formative years on the street to maximum security, they come up against murder charges, jailhouse feuds… and even the occasional farm animal.

 More on this episode from the Providence Journal →

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BOBBY WALASON

Bobby Walason, at age 3, with his mother, Jane, in May 1961. He grew up Oakland Beach, south of Providence. Courtesy of Bobby Walason.

Bobby Walason, at age 3, with his mother, Jane, in May 1961. He grew up Oakland Beach, south of Providence. Courtesy of Bobby Walason.

Bobby Walason, left, with his father, Charlie, center, and brother, Charlie Jr., circa 1976. Bobby's relationship with his father was strained. Courtesy of Bobby Walason.

Bobby Walason, left, with his father, Charlie, center, and brother, Charlie Jr., circa 1976. Bobby's relationship with his father was strained. Courtesy of Bobby Walason.


JERRY TILLINGHAST

A police mugshot of Jerry Tillinghast. Jerry’s first stint at the Adult Correctional Institutions was in 1968, when he was arrested in connection with the murder of a local bookie. The charges were later dropped. Courtesy of the Providence Journal.

A police mugshot of Jerry Tillinghast. Jerry’s first stint at the Adult Correctional Institutions was in 1968, when he was arrested in connection with the murder of a local bookie. The charges were later dropped. Courtesy of the Providence Journal.

If you’re gonna be bad, be good at it.
— Jerry Tillinghast
Jerry in the early 1980s, on the steps of Walpole Prison in Massachusetts. Courtesy of Gerald Tillinghast.

Jerry in the early 1980s, on the steps of Walpole Prison in Massachusetts. Courtesy of Gerald Tillinghast.


An aerial photo of the Adult Correctional Institutions' maximum-security prison in 1979. Courtesy of The Providence Journal/Lawrence S. Millard.

An aerial photo of the Adult Correctional Institutions' maximum-security prison in 1979. Courtesy of The Providence Journal/Lawrence S. Millard.

Freddy Bishop, left, and Gerard Ouimette in a 1968 police photo. Ouimette was the right-hand man of mob boss Raymond Patriarca at the Adult Correctional Institutions. Nicknamed "The Frenchman," Ouimette was so powerful that he had a phone inside his cell. Providence Journal file photo.

Freddy Bishop, left, and Gerard Ouimette in a 1968 police photo. Ouimette was the right-hand man of mob boss Raymond Patriarca at the Adult Correctional Institutions. Nicknamed "The Frenchman," Ouimette was so powerful that he had a phone inside his cell. Providence Journal file photo.


EPISODE CREDITS

This season of Crimetown is dedicated to the memory of Zachary Malinowski. Special thanks to Bobby Walason and Jerry Tillinghast. Thanks to the Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Historical Society, Julia Heymans, Emily Wiedemann, Dr. Marian Stuart, Dan Barry, Mike Stanton, Paul Dimaio, Mary Murphy and everyone who shared their stories with us. Providence is a special place. We are honored to tell a part of its story.

 

Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. It is produced by Drew Nelles. Additional production by Austin Mitchell. The show is edited by Alex Blumberg and Caitlin Kenney. Fact-checking by Mick Rouse. This episode was mixed by Matthew Boll. Sound design and scoring also by Matthew Boll. Original music by John Kusiak and Kenny Kusiac, Jon Ivans, Edwin and Bienart. Kate Parkinson-Morgan is the digital editor and Ale Lariu is the design director.

Ale LariuEpisode Two