Joseph J. DiMare, 52, was a successful businessman and partner in a
family owned food processing corporation. They became dominant in
tomatoes with an international business. DiMare lived on Miami Beach and
then moved to Keystone Island in North Miami. On March 24, 1961 his
body was found in the passenger seat of his Cadillac Fleetwood in nearby
Sans Souci Estates, a largely undeveloped residential area adjacent to
the Keystone Islands in the City of North Miami. Joe DiMare’s wife
Frances ran into a nearby gas station and police were called. Frances DiMare's account of the incident was accepted by the police and published by the media. Here are some news articles reflecting her story:
For six decades the truth about an infamous murder in North Miami has
been concealed behind rumors, misleading information, and lies. The
volunteers have investigated the 1961 murder and after several years of
work, have assembled facts based upon discovered and analyzed evidence.
We have shared the information with the police and with the family of
the victim. Here is the case, and the essence of our findings for public
No one was ever arrested or prosecuted for the murder of international businessman and tomato magnate Joseph DiMare, 52, who had recently moved from Miami Beach to Keystone Point in North Miami. Mr. DiMare grew up in Boston, and with his younger brothers, started selling produce from pushcarts. They developed their partnership into a huge domestic and foreign produce farming, importation, and distribution business. Joseph DiMare would run aspects of the business from Miami, and he frequently traveled across the United States and through Latin America. He and his new wife Frances lived in the Keystone Point home along with his daughter; his sons were living at college but would visit and were in touch with their father frequently.
Joseph DiMare was shot and killed on March 24, 1961. In 2015, the victim’s youngest son, Richard, asked Paul Novack and the volunteer team to look into the case. We had previously identified his father’s homicide as having suspicious connections to other cases that were already on our radar.
The murder weapon was a .25 caliber Sata, an Italian auto pistol. It
was owned by and registered to Frances DiMare, purchased for her by
Joseph DiMare. Casings and projectiles in the car and in Mr. Dimare’s
head matched a casing and projectile previously fired from that weapon
by Mr. Dimare’s son, Richard, who had kept them.
A box of ammunition of the same brand and caliber was found, right after the murder, in the glove compartment of Dimare’s other vehicle, the one used by Frances, a Cadillac convertible parked at the house in Keystone Point.
At the time of the murder, Mr. DiMare was in the front passenger seat. Frances DiMare was in the driver’s seat, a few feet to the left of the victim.
Mr. DiMare was hit by four .25 rounds. Two rounds were fired from in front of the victim’s face, into the mouth. Two more rounds were fired from the left into the areas immediately in front of and behind his left ear. All four shots were fired a extremely close range, each one leaving gun powder around the wound.
There were nine abrasions or contusions on the victim’s head. The victim had contusions on his left arm and right index finger. Blood was found on the front seat, on the back seat, and on the exterior of the car, flowing down the window and out of the door bottom.
As we were able to confirm again in late 2019, blood was not found on the driver’s seat, on the steering wheel, or on the driver’s door. There was no blood spatter beyond the center of the front seat.
On the exterior of the car, streaks of blood were noticeably swept backward. The blood flow was substantial, reflecting the severity of the wounds and the time involved in bleeding following the shots.
Blood was not found in the victim’s lungs. A faint redness was found on the victim’s jaw. Medical investigation postulated that these findings could indicate that an arm was around the victim’s neck when he was shot, closing off the airway; or alternatively, that the killing shot caused an immediate cessation of respiration.
The victim’s gold ring and diamond cufflinks were not taken from him, he was wearing them when found in the car.
Two men were fishing about 200 yards to the east of where the car was found. They heard nothing, no shots, no commotion.
Frances had no cuts on her feet. Her shoes were found near the car. They appeared to have been “placed”, not strewn about.
When a female deputy was later asked to remove her shoes and run through the course that Frances said she had used to get from the car to the gas station, the deputy’s feet were cut and bruised in numerous places.
The first person that Frances spoke to at the gas station was Norman Logan; according to Logan, “she never once said he (her husband) was shot”.
Patrolman Ben Scola, North Miami Police Department, was the first officer on the scene. “I saw her at the gas station. She didn’t look too messed up. There were some scratches on her face and some specs of blood on her dress. The scratches looked as though she had made them herself by running her hands down her face. She told him that she was either knocked out or unconscious somehow, and that she did not see the shooting.
Shell casings were found in the back seat of the Cadillac. We have photographs that also show, upon enlargement, that there were at least two unfired rounds also sitting on the back seat.
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