Identified Suspects

On Saturday November 28, 1981, Joan Webster arrived at Logan Airport on Eastern flight 960 from Newark. The Harvard grad student, still dressed from two cocktail parties in her hometown, collected her purse, a Lark suitcase, and tote bag as she left the airport. Joan had acknowledged a classmate at the luggage carousel, but most accounts suggested Joan was not noticed beyond that. Two accounts differed, and revealed Joan had been seen leaving Logan.[1][2]


Joan was reported missing on 12-1-1981, after a classmate called her home in NJ when Joan did not show up for class on Monday 11-30-1981 after the Thanksgiving break.[3] The next day, Wednesday 12-2-1981, Joan’s purse and wallet were found in a marshy area in Saugus, on the southbound side of Route 107 headed toward the airport. The location was known by authorities as a dumping area.[4] There was a massive search of the area, but no further evidence was found in connection to Joan’s disappearance. The MSP assumed responsibility for the case when Joan’s belongings were found in Saugus, and coordinated the efforts between the different agencies involved.

Numerous officers from multiple agencies conducted extensive inquiries in the first few days of airport personnel, cabbies, passengers, et al. A cabbie provided the description of a bearded man believed seen leaving the airport with Joan. A composite was made, but was suppressed and never published or distributed to the public.[5]

Two anonymous calls were placed; one to the Saugus Police, and one to the Websters on or about 1-20-1982.[6][7] The woman alleged Leonard Paradiso had assaulted her in 1972. Her contention was that Paradiso was responsible for the 1979 murder of Marie Iannuzzi, and the disappearance of Joan Webster, but provided no information regarding either case. The caller was later identified as Patty Bono who had grown up in the NE with Paradiso, and MSP Sgt. Carmen Tammaro.

On or about January 29, 1982, Joan’s Lark suitcase was recovered. One week later, authorities reported the suitcase was found in a locker at the Boston Greyhound Bus Station in Park Square. The bag and contents had not been disturbed and were analyzed by the FBI lab.[8] Former ADA Tim Burke, with privileged access to Webster case files, published an account in 2008 that the suitcase was recovered in NY, and falsely alleged the informant described contents.[9][10] Burke published on page 190 of his book that the MSP were in possession of a pair of shoes, and misrepresented they had been in Joan’s suitcase.[11][12] The shoes could only have been carried in the tote bag that was never recovered, and possession of this item would suggest the MSP had contact with Joan and/or the killer after Joan’s arrival in Boston.

The Websters called a high powered meeting in February 1982.[13] At that time, ADA Tim Burke and Trooper Andrew Palombo were assigned to investigate the Joan Webster disappearance. Trooper Palombo was also the lead investigator on the 1979 Marie Iannuzzi case, assigned to that case in February 1981.[14] Trooper Palombo, as lead investigator, had an inappropriate relationship with the prime suspect in that case. Trooper Palombo testified he met with the victim’s boyfriend David Doyle 20-30 times in undocumented meetings.[15] Strong circumstantial evidence against Doyle was overlooked by the bearded undercover cop who worked with informants.[16][17] Essex County DA Kevin Burke was quoted that the cold Iannuzzi case was given to Suffolk County because it was believed Marie Iannuzzi was murdered elsewhere, and then dumped in his jurisdiction in Essex County.[18] Former ADA Burke alleged the victim’s sister, Kathy Leonti called him in late February, 1982, and pleaded for him to look at the case. Burke claimed Kathy had read an article about Burke’s involvement in a cold triple homicide, and eventually called an ADA she would not have known otherwise, in a different county than her sister’s unresolved case.[19] The article by Jeremiah Murphy that featured Burke was published on Saturday, 2-27-1982.[20] His time line excludes the Webster meeting and their interest in Paradiso.[21] His scenario is impossible to explain his interest in Paradiso, and his involvement in the Iannuzzi case. By the following Tuesday, March 2, 1982, subpoenas had been issued for a grand jury. Burke falsely represents he commenced a John Doe grand jury on 3-5-1982 to determine which of 2 suspects, Leonard Paradiso or David Doyle, was the culprit in the Iannuzzi murder. The grand jury convened on 3-5-1982 in cause number 038655 for the murder of Marie Iannuzzi was the Commonwealth vs. Leonard Paradiso.[22] It was changed to a John Doe when Burke brought witnesses before them again on 4-5-1982.[23] By March 11, 1982, Paradiso was being described as a suspect in another Boston case. Trooper Carl Sjoberg planted suspicions regarding Paradiso with his parole officer Victor Anchukaitis based only on the anonymous calls placed by a still unidentified woman, and grand jury testimony that implicated David Doyle.[24][25][26][27][28] Recovered documents support witnesses were coerced by authorities.[29][30][31]


Paradiso was arrested for the murder of Marie Iannuzzi on 7-6-1982, and was held at the Charles Street Jail. In November 1982, Paradiso’s fingerprints were compared to items in the Joan Webster case, but results came back with no match.[32][33] Paradiso had been implicated in the disappearance of Joan Webster in January 1982, but still had not been named publicly as a suspect in that case. On December 8, 1982, Robert Bond was transferred from Walpole to the Charles Street Jail to stand trial for the murder of Mary Foreman. He was initially placed in cell 68 on the third tier, but later moved to cell 31 in close proximity to Paradiso.[34] On 12-13-1982, Bond was convicted of his second murder. Bond was sentenced to life on 1-10-1983, and was sentenced to return to Walpole.[35] Former ADA Burke indicated he met with Bond at the courthouse on the same date, and court officer John Gillen was also present.[36]

The press reported former ADA Tim Burke’s assertion he had received a letter from Robert Bond on 1-5-1983. The letter allegedly described confessions Paradiso made to Bond at the Charles Street Jail for the murder of Marie Iannuzzi, and the disappearance and murder of Joan Webster. Burke claims the letter was the basis to meet with Bond on 1-10-1983 at the courthouse, and set up an interview with the MSP. Later warrants, and documents filed with the court in both the Iannuzzi and Webster cases were based on Burke’s contention Bond had come forward with an unsolicited statement on 1-5-1983.[37] The taped interview conducted with the MSP on 1-14-1983 refutes Burke’s claim of a letter, and indicated authorities had not received a letter from Bond they expected.[38] The interview also revealed there were prior meetings with Sgt. Carmen Tammaro.[39] The letter was not mailed until 1-10-1983, the date Bond was sentenced for the murder of Mary Foreman, and met with ADA Tim Burke, and other authorities.[40] Bond filed an affidavit with the court on 11-15-1985 in a motion for the commonwealth to fulfill promises Bond had relied on. Bond named ADA Tim Burke, Sgt. Carmen Tammaro, Trooper Andrew Palombo, and “Bill,” believed to refer to Officer John Gillen.[41][42]

During the Bond interview on 1-14-1983, Bond offered Paradiso strangled Joan Webster.[43] Strangulation was the MO being developed for Paradiso. Bond offered another scenario claiming Paradiso hit Joan in the head with a whiskey bottle. Bond pointed to the right side of his head, and described a large amount of blood. Bond described the photos of Paradiso’s boat he had seen that showed liquor bottles lined on a shelf.[44] Bond left the determination for which manner of death to the officers. Bond was specific in his order of events, claiming Paradiso hit Joan in the head, raped her, and dumped her in the ocean.[45] The interview revealed Bond did not know or care where Paradiso kept his boat.[46] Authorities had knowledge multiple reports were filed in July 1981 that Paradiso’s boat was missing. A claim was filed for the vessel and insurance paid months before Joan disappeared. No other witnesses alleged the boat was still afloat after the July 26, 1981 date. Test results on the recovered boat in September 1983 showed no evidence Joan had ever been on board, and no evidence of any criminal activity.

A written Bond statement was produced later that was clearly constructed after the interview with the MSP on 1-14-1983, and vagaries were clarified. Bond asserted Joan was dumped in the ocean, but that was learned to be false when Joan’s remains were found buried in Hamilton, MA in April 1990.[47] Bond contradicted a known material fact, and incorrectly stated when Joan’s personal belongings were discarded in Saugus, MA. A close examination of the Bond statement indicates MSP had prior knowledge of the boat theory, and corroborates a meeting between MSP and Paradiso shortly after his arrest in July 1982.

The correct manner of death is contained in an informant’s statement that can be verified to be false on material points, and was falsely represented by authorities. ADA Tim Burke and Trooper Palombo misrepresented the date they received Bond’s letter, and they reversed the order of events in warrants and documents filed with the court. Sworn documents with the court allege Joan was raped, hit in the head, and then dumped in the ocean. Information was falsely represented to the Boston office of the FBI regarding the Bond statement by 1-28-1983. [48] The correct manner of death was contained in a statement that was constructed by Robert Bond with the MSP at the time of Bond’s second conviction for murder.[49]

Other witnesses were called to bolster the theory Joan had been dumped in the ocean, including Charlene Bullerwell. Her sensational testimony claimed Paradiso was a hit man for the mob, chopped up bodies, tied cinder blocks, and dumped them in the ocean.[50] She indicated she had been pressured by the FBI to testify at the Iannuzzi pretrial in March 1984, but she refused to testify at the trial later that year.[51][52] Burke's published account identifies Andrew Palombo as the confidential source to the FBI locating Bullerwell.[53][54][55] Joan’s remains were found buried in Hamilton, MA in April 1990. Her skeleton had been stripped of all clothing. The massive trauma to the right side of her head was 2” x 4,” an injury not consistent with a blow from a whiskey bottle in a crammed space. Joan was discarded in natural basin in a remote and heavily wooded area in a black trash bag, and the site covered with cut logs.

The correct manner of death could not be verified at the time of Bond’s statement. It would only be known to the killer or an accomplice to the crime. The Bond statement can be verified to be false on material facts, some known at the time, and others learned later. No evidence connected Joan Webster to Paradiso or his boat.[56] Two remaining possibilities to explain the correct manner of Joan’s death in a 1983 false informant statement are a “lucky” guess, or an official inside the investigation with specific knowledge and/or involvement in Joan Webster’s murder. Those involved in constructing the statement with Robert Bond become suspects complicit in Joan’s murder, diverting legitimate investigation, and warrants an independent examination of a murder case that remains open, contrary to prior claims by authorities.[57][58]

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