Oklahoma's death row helps break mob kingpin

Monday, October 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Tulsa Police Chief Dave Been believes Sergeant Mike Huff and the threat of Oklahoma's death row helped break mob kingpin Stephen ``The Rifleman'' Flemmi.

Flemmi pleaded guilty last week to ten murders, including that of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler.

Huff was 25 on May 27th, 1981, when Wheeler was murdered.

After 22 years, Huff knocked on H. Paul Rico's front door in Florida to arrest him for the 1981 murder.

Flemmi is cooperating with investigators and has told them Rico and others wanted Wheeler killed.

Rico denies any involvement in Wheeler's death. A confessed triggerman says Rico aided the hit by providing information about Wheeler.

The investigation Huff led into Wheeler's death went cold at the start. Investigators eventually focused on Wheeler's suspicions that money was being skimmed from World Jai Alai.

Rico was the company's chief of security. He had retired from the FBI in 1975.