Linked Deaths

Danny Goldman was kidnapped during a crescendo of crime and corruption that was dominating all official aspects of Dade County. This film from 1966 has Ralph Renick interviewing Roy O’Nan about his participation and ties to corruption, illegal gambling, and several major law enforcement agencies in Dade County.

Members of the Department’s “upper echelon” were involved in multiple forms of corruption. They were managing crimes and criminals out of the Sheriff’s “intelligence office”, and those who either failed to split the proceeds of crime or threatened to talk about the criminal conspiracy were eliminated by set-up shootings. These same high ranking officers took over the Goldman kidnapping investigation from the first day. The organized crime figures who controlled them also dominated other branches of government and official offices, sufficient to control the entire system.

By 1966, the collaboration between law enforcement, burglars, and organized crime had become its own crime wave. However the pressures and threats of the partnership had gotten out of control. High ranking police officials, involved in sharing in the proceeds from particular targets, were concerned that the flow of money could be stopped. The risk of exposure by burglars testifying before grand juries and the perceived increase of crooks withholding more than their allotted share of the loot combined to create a dangerous scenario of retribution and consequences.

Shootings occurred as a means of protecting this major source of cash flow. In several cases with striking similarities, burglars were killed by county Sheriff’s deputies or municipal police officers. Burglars were assigned to do specific thefts or invited to attend a “meeting”. Deputies or officers were waiting – inside – for the burglars to arrive. Often, neither the burglars or the waiting detectives knew that they were both being directed by the same people. Crossing the threshold of doorways, each burglar was blown away – usually by multiple shotgun blasts.

Witness statements and physical evidence were gathered, and then ignored, by the investigating authorities from the same sheriff’s department. Records and statements made at the scenes said that there was no warning at all, that as the burglars entered the door they were promptly killed in an onslaught of gunfire. There is evidence that at least six burglars were killed as part of this manipulation and murder scheme run by ranking law enforcement officials.

Tommy Griffin in 1963 was apparently the first of this series of murders. Then in 1966 as the heat on the system grew, at least five more of these apparently planned events took place, ending the lives of Arthur Dyas, John LaMedica, Alfred McCurdy, Christopher McCary, and Bobby Williams.

Between the deaths caused by members of organized crime, and those caused by members of official agencies, the time period of Danny Goldman’s kidnapping and murder was a dangerous time that left many victims in its wake. It was part and parcel of activities that stretched back into the 1950’s as conspiracies run by Santo Trafficante and Meyer Lansky worked to take control over gambling and other criminal ventures throughout the State of Florida. Five decades later, murders of innocent victims and criminals remain unsolved and officially ignored. There are at least four young people who have been missing without adequate, accurate explanation or answers for decades. The citizens investigation has filled the void and moved all of these cases towards public awareness and honorable resolution.


“I’m going to hold Danny as security for the money. I wanted $10,000 but with the help I’ll need now it will  double. You get up $25,000. If you don’t get it for tonight the price will be double tomorrow. I’ll call about 6 or 7 tonight with instructions.”

The Kidnapper speaking to Aaron Goldman, March 28, 1966.

“We’ll have to find him, the boy or the kidnapper or both, one day.  I’ve never seen a case like this nor do I expect to ever see another one.”

FBI Special Agent to a Miami Herald reporter on June 25, 1966

“A lot of skeletons have been rattled; some of the ramifications will come out when the case is solved, most of them never.”

FBI Spokesman, June 25, 1966

“I’ve done my business as far as the kid was concerned and I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Joseph “Chicken” Cacciatore, July 1966

“I knew her only as Shirley Mason.”

George Defeis, referring to his alleged wife Shirley Defeis, who was actually Shirley Mason Cacciatore, October 25, 1966.

Other resources

Share this page: