By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Of all the murders in Tulsa over the years, the mob hit of Roger Wheeler remains one of the most shocking. It took place at Tulsa's most prestigious golf course, involved a string of mafia murders and didn't get solved for nearly 20 years because corrupt FBI agents ran interference for the killers.
Now, for the first time, the only investigator to know Wheeler before the homicide, is speaking candidly about what happened behind the scenes.
Roger Wheeler was a smart, tough, very successful businessman who decided in 1978 to spend $50 million to buy a business called World Jai Alai, a gambling game with one location in Connecticut and four in Florida.
"I just randomly got handed Roger Wheeler's file to do his background investigation," said Dan Twomey.
At the time, Dan Twomey worked for the Connecticut State Police and his job was to do background checks on people buying into gaming facilities with connections there. He says it didn't take Wheeler long to suspect the business wasn't what it seemed.
"We'd go out to eat and he'd say, ‘Dan, are these people I'm involved with, are they reputable people?' And, I remember saying Mr. Wheeler, you didn't buy into a church, you bought into a gambling facility. If bad guys can infiltrate a facility, they will," said Dan Twomey.
He says Wheeler soon discovered the Boston mob was skimming a million dollars a year from his business and he wasn't going to stand for it.
"The bad guys in Boston had a meeting. They find out this guy found out what's going on. We're either going to lose a million a year or take him out and they decided to take him out," said Dan Twomey.
And, that's exactly what happened in May of 1981, but the case wasn't solved until 18 years later when the triggerman began pointing the finger at other mob members and the corrupt FBI agents who had covered for the killers.
Twomey says all of it was such a waste of a decent life.
"He struck me as being a good man, a decent man, an honest man who was in a business he should not have been in," said Dan Twomey.
Twomey has always believed had it not been for that one business decision, out of thousands he made, Roger Wheeler would be alive today.
Wheeler was only 55 when he was murdered, at the time, a husband and father of five children.