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      Convicted murderer Gerald Mastracchio arrested in pot bust

      Gerald Mastracchio, a convicted murderer, is back in jail after violating parole.

      Mastracchio and Joseph Ziroli, 53, were arrested on Putnam Pike in Johnston Thursday for running a marijuana grow operation. The bust was made after a three-month investigation by Rhode Island State Police, Johnston and North Providence Police.

      Mastracchio was found guilty in the 1979 murder of 13-year-old Richard Valente. He was accused of beating Valente's head with a baseball bat and then throwing his body off the Jamestown Bridge and into Narragansett Bay. Mastracchio received a life sentence but was released after serving 23 years. He returned to jail after violating parole in 2012 but was again released.

      According to a press release, 28 marijuana plants along with digital scales and packaging materials were discovered Thursday.

      Mastracchio is due in court for a bail hearing on Thursday.

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