A Deal With the Devil
One night in 1982, a 20-year-old man is senselessly murdered at an abandoned gas station. A mobster is taken into witness protection after he pins the murder on his boss. This brutal crime will push three wiseguys out of the mafia in very different ways.
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The Providence Journal reports on the death of Ronald McElroy in an article from August 24, 1982. Ronald's brother, Jimmy, recounts details from the night of the murder, saying that some things were hard to remember and what he did recall "didn't make sense." In the article, Jimmy fondly remembers his brother: "He was an all-around guy... He played softball for my team when I needed somebody... He loved waterskiing. He loved everything." Courtesy of the Providence Journal.
In an article dated June 12, 1984, the Providence Journal reports on Bobo Marrapese's indictment for murder in the killing of Ronald McElroy. The reporter notes that Bobo was already serving a ten-year term in federal prison for buying a truckload of stolen chairs. Courtesy of the Providence Journal.
"Gino concluded that there was not much difference between cops and mobsters, other than the side of the law they chose. They were remarkably similar. Each had a strong allegiance to an organization; they were ambitious and constantly evaluating and measuring up the competition.
Success for police officers was defined by rising through the ranks. For a mobster, it was the same type of progression. Instead of a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain, it was made man, capo, underboss, and boss. Each step brought more responsibility and more chance of failure, but everyone was driven by prestige and power."
—from Anthony Pesare's novel "They Always Win," inspired by the real-life investigation of Bobo Marrapese
Our ad music is by Matthew Boll. Additional mixing by Martin Peralta, Enoch Kim and Kenny Kuziak. Our digital editor is Kate Parkinson-Morgan. Our design director is Ale Lariu. This season of Crimetown is dedicated to the memory of Zachary Malinowski. Thanks to the Providence Journal, Julia Heymans, Emily Wiedemann, Lisa Newby, Mary Murphy and everyone who shared their stories with us. Providence is a special place, and we're honored to tell a part of its story.
Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. It is produced by Drew Nelles, Austin Mitchell, Kaitlin Roberts and Mike Plunkett, with additional production by Laura Sim. The show is edited by Alex Blumberg and Caitlin Kenney. Fact-checking by Mick Rouse. This episode of Crimetown was mixed, sound designed and scored by Matthew Boll. Additional sound design by Ted Robinson at Silver Sound. Our title track is "Run to Your Mama" by Goat. Original music by John Kusiak, Jon Ivans, Edwin and Bienart.