FOUND DEAD SHOT ON
TOP OF MOTHER'S GRAVE
retired longshoreman who confessed to being one of the Mafia's
biggest gun suppliers was found shot to death yesterday atop his
mother's grave in Queens.
name is Frank O'Hehir," read a note found on his body, police
sources told the Daily News. "Please call my attorney, Roger
Bernstein. This is an FBI case. Thank you."
65, who recently pleaded guilty to gunrunning for the Colombo
crime family, was wearing an electronic ankle monitoring bracelet
when his body was found in a remote corner of St. John's Cemetery
in Middle Village, police sources said.
gun was found near O'Hehir's body, the sources said, but it was
not clear last night whether he shot himself.
not sure it's a suicide," said Bernstein.
it was established that the dead man was a cog in a major mob
case developed by Waterfront Commission detectives and the FBI,
police clamped down on details about O'Hehir, who was supposed
to appear today for a pre-sentencing hearing.
month, O'Hehir explained to The News why he rejected a plea-bargain
deal of three years in prison in exchange for spilling the beans
about being quartermaster to the mob. He said he didn't think
he'd live that long anyway. "I might as well roll the dice
on a trial," O'Hehir said at the time as he fussed over his
cat, Buford, in his tidy Ridgewood, Queens, apartment.
had raided the apartment at dawn on May 10, looking for guns.
O'Hehir had a secret closet hidden behind a sliding American eagle
plaque built into the kitchen. Inside FBI agents found a few empty
holsters and an ammunition magazine.
last month what he would say at trial, O'Hehir said: "My
story? My story is that I'm an innocent man."
last week O'Hehir pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to
supplying the firepower for the Colombo crime family war.
recent weeks, said one stunned neighbor, Virginia Hart, O'Hehir
had been behaving oddly. At one point, she said, he announced
that he had married a long-time sweetheart. But Hart never saw
a woman around.
days, Hart said, O'Hehir would sit in the apartment complex' parking
lot in a lawn chair and stare at passing traffic.
said she saw him again yesterday morning. "He said, 'I'm
going to the lawyer this morning, and then I'm going to pick up
a newspaper in the afternoon,' " Hart said. "He had
promised to be at my baby twins' birthday party on Thursday."
neighbor, Jean Fellacher, said the normally outgoing O'Hehir "seemed
depressed lately" and tried to cheer himself up by providing
food and shelter for numerous stray cats. "He was not his
usual self," she said. "The last time I saw him he was
staring straight ahead."
said Bernstein, "we spoke a week ago, we had a pleasant lunch.
. . . He seemed fine."
a total shock to me," said Bernstein's investigator, Mike
Kessler. "Frank had this cat he was devoted to. For
him to walk away from the cat just doesn't make sense."