Ex-FBI agent charged in Oklahoma with mob slaying to be extradited from Florida

Friday, December 5th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ A former FBI agent charged with a 1981 mob murder in Oklahoma has agreed to be extradited for trial, his attorney said Friday.

H. Paul Rico, 78, has improved enough from heart problems to travel to Oklahoma to face charges that he helped organize the slaying of a jai-alai executive, attorney Garvin Isaacs told state Circuit Judge Gerald Klein.

Klein gave Oklahoma authorities 30 days to get Rico. Isaacs said he expected Rico would be sent to Oklahoma next week.

``Paul Rico is innocent. He will plead not guilty and will demand trial by jury,'' Isaacs said.

Rico has been in jail since his arrest. He appeared in court by a video teleconference, but he did not say anything.

Rico, who retired from the FBI in 1975, served as security chief for Roger Wheeler's World Jai Alai when Wheeler was shot to death at a Tulsa, Okla., country club on May 27, 1981.

Investigators say Wheeler suspected money was being skimmed from the Miami jai-alai business by Boston's Winter Hill gang, an Irish mob that fed information to Rico on its rival New England Mafia.

Wheeler's confessed hit man, John Martorano, implicated Rico in the killing.