For Immediate Release - March 30, 2011

Essex First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley Named Prosecutor Of The Year

Essex First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley was named Prosecutor of the Year on Friday, March 25, at the Annual Massachusetts Prosecutor's Conference at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. The award was presented to Dawley by Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

"Jack is one of the most respected first assistants in the state," said District Attorney Blodgett. "He is an incredibly hard worker who has taken on some of the toughest cases during his tenure in Essex County, from murders to organized crime, with tremendous success. This office relies upon him for his sage advice, guidance and expertise."

Among the most notable cases Dawley has prosecuted was that of Mafia Underboss Carmen "The Cheeseman" DiNunzio, who is now serving a six-year prison term concurrent with a federal sentence, for extortion, promoting an illegal gaming operation and conspiring to violate state gaming laws. Dawley was able to prove that DiNunzio was demanding "protection" money from North Shore bookmakers, and that these acts of extortion took place under the threat of and actual acts of violence. DiNunzio's conviction was the result of tenacious work by Dawley and police, who employed time honored investigative techniques and electronic surveillance to bring down the Underboss.

Upon DiNunzio's conviction, Mark Rossetti, 50, of East Boston, described by Dawley as a capo in La Cosa Nostra, stepped in to fill the void. As the result of a cooperative investigation and use of the Statewide Grand Jury by Dawley, the State Police Organized Crime Unit, Boston Police and State Police detectives assigned to District Attorney Blodgett's Office, Rossetti was arrested on charges of trafficking heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws and being a habitual offender. He is in custody while awaiting trial.

As a result of that investigation, in addition to Rossetti, 32 other individuals were indicted on charges including illegal gambling, bookmaking, drug trafficking and crimes of violence.

Among his notable homicide wins, Prosecutor Dawley secured justice for the family of a newlywed immigrant who was working as a clerk at a Lynn convenience store, who was viciously stabbed to death by Leo Womack during an armed robbery. Although Womack could not be clearly identified on the store's video surveillance camera, Dawley was able to prove that Womack had been in the store prior to the slaying, had gone home and changed his clothes, but had returned wearing the same unique sneakers. Womack was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. That conviction has since been upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Prior to his service to the people of Essex County, Prosecutor Dawley had a very successful private practice in Boston for 17 years, and before that was an assistant district attorney in Suffolk County.

Prosecutor Dawley has been recognized by the Parents of Murdered Children for his unselfish dedication and advocacy, and has received awards of appreciation from the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and from the Massachusetts State Police Organized Crime Unit.