Reputed mob associate, cattle rancher to be sentenced

A reputed New England mob associate who lived as a cattle rancher in Idaho under an alias for more than a decade before he was caught and convicted of several crimes should spend 40 years in prison, federal prosecutors said in a sentencing recommendation.

Enrico Ponzo, 45, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston after his conviction in November on a string of federal charges, including the attempted murder of a man who became the boss of the New England Mafia.

Ponzo was an active participant in the violent Mafia power struggles during the 1980s and 1990s, prosecutors said.

“The reign of terror imposed on the city of Boston by Ponzo, his confederates, and their enemies during the shooting war impacted the lives of everyone who lived here,” and was motivated by greed for status, power and money, prosecutors wrote, according to The Boston Globe.

They described Ponzo as a “vicious, violent, cold-blooded criminal.”

Ponzo, representing himself, requested a sentence of 15 years or fewer. He said he lived a “hardworking, selfless life in Idaho from 2000 through 2011 as a stay-at-home dad, cattle rancher, and elected community volunteer.”

A jury found Ponzo responsible for the attempted murder in June 1989 of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, who was shot by masked men outside a suburban Boston pancake house. Salemme survived and later became head of the New England mob. Ponzo was acquitted of some charges, including two killings and four other attempted murders.

Ponzo fled Boston to Arizona in 1994 and wasn’t captured until 2011, when authorities found him in Marsing, Idaho, where he ran a small ranch and used an alias.


Man charged in killing asks for exclusion of confession

A Vermont man charged along with his wife in the killing of a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude a detailed confession he gave to police from his upcoming trial because he didn’t understand what he was doing when he waived his right to silence.

The attorney for Allen Prue made the arguments in papers asking a judge to suppress all statements Prue made to police in March 2012 in the days after Melissa Jenkins was abducted and killed.

Defense Attorney Robert Katims argued that Prue was deceived into waiving his right to silence.

“A reasonable person would not conclude that further questioning was to take place, let alone hours of interrogation,” said the motion.

Allen Prue, 32, and Patricia Prue, 35, face kidnapping and first-degree murder charges in Jenkins’ death.

Allen Prue gave the lengthy confession at a Connecticut River boat launch near where Jenkins’ body was found, the Caledonian Record reported.

“Melissa, if you can hear me, I’m terribly sorry,” part of the confession said. “You didn’t deserve that. You’re a nice person. You deserved to live a long life, watch your baby grow up. I’m just terribly sorry I did this to you, Melissa. I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry.”


Woman held after alleged ax attack on boyfriend

A Lunenburg woman has been arrested after allegedly attacking her live-in boyfriend with an ax, landing him in the hospital with a serious neck wound.

Authorities say 47-year-old Rhonda Ravanis was charged with attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, vandalizing property and resisting arrest after attacking 53-year-old Robert Volpe at about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Police say after attacking her boyfriend, Ravanis used the ax to damage a neighbor’s house.

Ravanis was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, but was instead sent for a competency evaluation by a judge because she was being uncooperative. She is scheduled to appear in court next month when a lawyer will be appointed for her.

Volpe remains in a hospital in critical condition. Police did not disclose a possible motive.


Senator requests investigation into reports of tax fraud

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.

The medical societies in both states say Social Security numbers have been stolen and used to file fraudulent federal tax returns. At least several hospitals and some private providers have been targeted.

Rick Adams, a spokesman for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, tells the Valley News about 50 doctors and other employees who work at the hospital have been affected.

Scott Colby of the New Hampshire Medical Society says similar cases have been reported in other states, such as Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Shaheen is asking for a joint investigation between the Secret Service and IRS.

“We must act swiftly to stop any fraudulent activity, bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure that physicians and providers have the information they need to protect themselves,” Shaheen said Wednesday.


Police investigating placing of rabbit heads in mailboxes

Westfield police are investigating after severed rabbit heads were found this week in two mailboxes in this western Massachusetts town.

The Westfield News reports that a man called police Monday evening to report that a rabbit’s head had been left in his mother’s mailbox.

The woman says a rabbit’s head also had been left in her sister’s mailbox about four blocks away.

The heads were removed and disposed of.

Police say a hunter who saw the heads said they appeared to be from wild rabbits, not domesticated rabbits.

Police say no one in the neighborhood reported seeing anything suspicious and they are seeking the public’s help.