""To his Idaho neighbors, Jay Shaw was an outgoing, glad-handing greenhorn cattle rancher who liked to go hunting — at least until this week, when they learned he was actually accused Boston Mafia hit man Enrico M. Ponzo, on the lam for nearly 20 years.
“It was a shock to my system,” said one neighbor, who spoke anonymously out of fear of retaliation from the friend who turned out to be a mobster. “He always told me he was from Jersey.”
Yesterday in federal court in Idaho, Ponzo, 42, pleaded not guilty to 1997 charges of racketeering, plotting to murder and attempting to murder. A federal official said he’ll eventually be extradited back to Massachusetts.
Pals said the man they nicknamed “The New Yorker” for his accent landed in Marsing, population 842, nine years ago, with girlfriend Cara Lyn Pace. She bought 12 acres of land, and they built a home, then had a son and a daughter.""Fuggetaboutit, sodbusters
“He came across as city slicker, but he caught on pretty quick how to raise cattle,” said a Marsing resident, who noted Shaw had “a big beer belly like every farmer out there.”
Cara worked with computers, and Jay — who liked to hang out at the town’s one coffee shop — cared for the kids.
Shaw was “always smiling and laughing,” a neighbor recalled. “A super nice guy.”
He also joined locals on hunting trips, where he impressed them with his shooting skills.
“I asked him how he knew so much about guns, and he said he was in the military,” the neighbor said.
But last fall, things began to fall apart. First, Pace packed up the kids and moved to Utah. Then, in December, Shaw sued her for joint custody and $137 a month in child support.
No way, Pace replied.
“Jeff has been a heavy drinker for many years,” she wrote in a Jan. 27 affidavit filed in an Idaho court. “His aggression was growing towards me so much that I was fearful for my life. I do not want my children exposed to this abuse or for them to think it is natural for men to treat women this way.”
Also, their son was struggling with authority — a trait his mother feared he might have picked up from Shaw.
“Jeff has little respect for rules or law,” Pace wrote.
There is no indication in the affidavit that Pace knew of Shaw’s true identity. Her lawyer did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Ten days after Pace filed, federal agents arrived in Marsing to arrest Ponzo. They found 38 firearms, $15,000 in cash, and a 100-ounce bar of gold or silver in his home.""