Boston Globe
 October 25, 2003

 Convicted Mafia killer freed after 15 years behind Bars
 By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff

 After 15 years in prison, Pasquale Barone Jr. became a free man yesterday 
 after a federal judge apologized to him, calling his trial for killing a 
 man for the New England Mafia "fraudulent," because prosecutors withheld 
 evidence from the defense.

 US District Judge Mark L. Wolf said he was disappointed that the only way 
 he could order Barone's release yesterday was to accept a plea agreement 
 that had been worked out between prosecutors and defense lawyers as he was 
 trying to decide whether to order a new trial for Barone.

 Barone pleaded guilty yesterday to racketeering charges, admitting his 
 role in two murders and a credit union robbery. In exchange, prosecutors 
 agreed that Barone should be sentenced to the time he had already served 
 on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to murder for the mob and be 
 freed immediately.

 "In this case, Barone is required to plead guilty to get out of prison . . 
 . which in some circumstances might be viewed as extortionate," said Wolf, 
 adding that he didn't think the government could have won a second trial.

 "This was a hard decision for me," Barone, 42, of Boston's North End, told 
 the judge after pleading guilty, saying it was in his best interest to 
 accept the deal offered by the government. "I just want to put this behind 
 me and get on with my life. I want to have a half-decent life.

 "I want this court to know I have no animosity toward anybody," Barone 
 said. "I'm not threatening anybody. The only thing I want to do is go home 
 and be with my family."

 The judge found that a federal prosecutor had failed to tell the defense 
 during Barone's 1993 trial that a key government witness had changed his 
 story just before trial but wasn't allowed to recant his claim that Barone 
 gunned down Vincent "Jimmy" Limoli in 1985 at the behest of mobster 
 Vincent Ferrara.

 Walter Jordan, the key witness against Barone and his former 
 brother-in-law, came forward a year ago and said that he had lied on the 
 witness stand. A memo written by a Boston police detective detailed 
 Jordan's recantation but was never turned over to Barone's lawyers by 

 Barone, who has been jailed since his 1988 arrest, pleaded guilty to 
 manslaughter in state court in Limoli's killing and was sentenced to five 
 years. But the allegation that the murder was committed on behalf of the 
 Mafia allowed prosecutors to bring the federal charge of murder in aid of 
 racketeering against Barone.

 Wolf said he was unhappy that the government didn't just drop the case. 
 "It's not just disappointing, but disturbing and dishonorable," Wolf said.

 Wolf berated prosecutors during the two-hour hearing for not apologizing 
 to Barone for failing to turn over evidence at trial that the judge said 
 would probably have led to his acquittal.

 US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, who was not in office at the time of 
 Barone's trial, bristled at Wolf's remark. "I feel no need at all to 
 apologize to a convicted killer," Sullivan told reporters later. "Mr. 
 Barone has admitted his guilt for the killing of his best friend. . . . I 
 apologize to the victims that have suffered at the hands of Mr. Barone and 
 are suffering at the hands of justice, as well."

 At yesterday's hearing, Barone admitted that he shot Limoli in the North 
 End on Oct. 28, 1985, after Limoli stole drugs from a mobster. Limoli had 
 been the best man at Barone's wedding and the godfather of his daughter.

 Barone also admitted that he helped kill another man, Anthony "Dapper" 
 Corlito, on July 21, 1979, and shot a guard in the neck during the robbery 
 of a credit union on Nov. 5, 1982. As part of Barone's agreement, the 
 Suffolk district attorney's office has agreed not to prosecute him in 
 state court for Corlito's murder.

 Sullivan disputed Wolf's finding that the evidence would have led to 
 Barone's acquittal, saying, "The impact it would have had at trial is a 
 matter of a difference of opinion."

 Sullivan also said prosecutors were prepared to retry Barone on 
 racketeering charges but believed that Barone's guilty plea allowed them 
 to avoid protacted legal proceedings and appeals. He also said that the 
 maximum sentence Barone would have received if convicted was 20 years, and 
 he's already served 15 for his federal and state convictions.

 Assistant US Attorney James F. Lang told the judge: "I hope your honor 
 wasn't intending to characterize this plea agreement as extortionate 
 conduct on the part of the government. It was certainly nothing of the 

 Lang said the agreement was a "vigorously negotiated settlement between 
 the parties" in light of the developments in the case. He said the 
 government believes it's an appropriate resolution.

 Defense attorneys Richard Egbert and Bernard Grossberg said the plea 
 agreement was the only way that Barone could win his freedom immediately 
 and avoid the possibility of another two years in prison while the 
 government appealed Wolf's findings of government misconduct.

 "It would have been nice if the government had recognized the harm that 
 the prosecutor's misconduct had created and dismissed this case, but they 
 didn't," Egbert said. "We made a judgment that his liberty was foremost. . 
 . . The consequences when the government cheats are extraordinary, and 
 every citizen should understand the harm that comes. And he lived that in 
 living color."

 After trading his orange prison jumpsuit for a black running suit and 
 T-shirt, Barone walked out of a cell inside the US marshals office at the 
 federal courthouse just before 4:30 p.m. and was greeted by about 20 
 relatives, including his 19-year-old daughter, two sisters, and his 

 "Let's go get drunk," he joked, as he went through a receiving line of 
 hugs and kisses. Then he told his lawyers, "I wouldn't be here if it 
 weren't for you."

 When asked about his plans, Barone said: "I'm just so overwhelmed with 
 everything right now. I'm just going to take it easy and enjoy the things 
 I missed. I'd like a nice meal at my sister's."

 Barone's parents, who attended all his other proceedings, weren't in court 
 yesterday. But he said that they were returning from a trip and that he 
 planned to show up at the door of their North End home after leaving court.

 Barone's daughter, Celia, 19, was 4 when her father went to prison; she is 
 now taller than he. "It's exciting," she said. "I have my father home. I 
 don't understand a lot of it. I'm just glad it all worked out in the end. 
 I get to start my life over with him."