NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- Reputed New England crime boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca pleaded innocent today to ordering the 1968 gangland execution of accused bank robber Robert 'Bobby' Candos.
Patriarca was covered with white sheets and a lime-colored blanket at his five-minute arraignment on a stretcher in Superior Court.
Released on $50,000 bail, Patriarca, 73, was returned by ambulance to a Providence, R.I., hospital for an examination by his doctor.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Kane had asked for $1 million bail on the two charges, saying the slaying was 'cold-blooded murder.' Patriarca's lawyer, John Cicilline, called the figure 'ransom.'
Patriarca's eyes remained closed as two medical attendants stood by his stretcher. Intraveneous tubes were attached to his nose.
Police lined the corridors of the courtroom as the ailing Patriarca was wheeled in on the stretcher from the ambulance. Three police cruisers were stationed on County Street along with about 50 spectators and 30 reporters and photographers.
Patriarca was taken by ambulance from Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., to the New Beford courtroom after he waived a bedside arraignment on a fugitive from justice warrant. Rhode Island officials lodged the warrant against Patriarca as a result of the charges against him in Massachusetts.
Patriarca, reputed to be New England chief of organized crime since World War II, was admitted to Miriam March 15 with a recurring heart problem. Fifteen hours after he was admitted, he was indicted for allegedly ordering the 1968 gangland slaying of Candos.
He was charged today with conspiracy and accessory to murder charges.
Rudolph Sciarra, allegedly a top lieutenant in the mob, also was indicted in the Candos slaying after admitted hit-man Nicholas Palmigiano appeared before a New Bedford grand jury.
Palmigiano, 42, a participant in the federal witness protection program, also implicated Patriarca and Sciarra in December in the 1965 slaying of Raymond 'Baby' Curcio in Providence.
Palmigiano said he killed Candos with a .45-caliber handgun on orders from Patriarca. He said Patriarca suspected Candos was 'going bad' -- about to testify against him in a federal grand jury investigation.
Judge Francis F. Prince told Cicilline to arrange a lawyer licensed in Massachusetts for Patriarca. Patriarca waived his right to be present during the hearing.