The murder trial with James “Whitey” Bulger continues today, but yesterday was a continuation of “Whitey Bulger, This Is Your Life”. Monday saw former gangster John “The Basin Street Butcher” Martorano take the stand in a fit of revenge against James Bulger. The reason for revenge was that Martorano felt betrayed by Bulger and Bulger’s parter Stephen “Rifleman” Flemmi—both of whom he named his youngest son after—who were his best friends and godfathers to his children. The betrayal came in the form of Bulger being an FBI informant. Martoran stated, “It broke my heart. It broke all loyalties.”
Martorano went into murders he committed in his time as part of the Winter Hill Gang. Some of them were in tandem with Bulger whom he said served as backup to make sure the hit was finished. The first described was with Bulger blocking the target with his car while he fired at the target with a machine gun from another car. Apparently Bulger was nervous about getting shot since “tracer bullets were coming out of the machine gun and flying over his head.” Prosecutor Fred Wyshak asked Martorano, “Was he angry?” to which Martorano replied, “No. He was joking about it.”
Another murder described was one of two brothers who left Bulger’s group cross. One brother was tracked down to a Medford, Massachusetts restaurant. Martorano said that he “shot him in the heart.” After the other brother was killed, Bulger and company put the body in a car trunk and dropped it off in a South Carolina housing project. Bulger expected some kids to steal the car—which happened.
In 1995 Martorano pled guilty and was given 14 years under the condition that he fully testifying against Bulger. He was released in 2007 after serving 12 years. His testimony also led to reeling in corrupt FBI agent John Connolly who was brought up racketeering, obstruction of justice, and several other charges before the federal court. He served 10 years in a federal facility and is currently doing 40 years in state prison for his role in the murder of John Callahan, a Florida businessman and former owner of World Jai Alai. Also working with federal authorities was Stephen Flemmi who got life terms without parole and dodged a death sentence.
Martorano—who was there to bring Bulger down because of his working as an informant—went in depth about Bulger and Connolly’s working relationship. He said that the three of them grew up in the same housing projects and Connolly looked up to the Bulger brothers James and William—who later became state Senate president and UMass president.
Martorano said that when John Connolly returned to Boston after becoming an FBI agent, he thanked “Billy” Bulger (William) for keeping him on the right track. He reportedly told William Bulger, “If there’s anything I can do…” as a means of repaying him. William Bulger told Connolly that if he could keep “Whitey” Bulger “out of trouble that would be a great help”. Going back to his hearing before Congress about what he (William) knew of James Bulger’s business and whereabouts, this in a way points to the fact that he knew what it was that his brother did for a living which is in contrast to the vagueness he gave at the time. Eventually William Bulger was removed from his position at the University of Massachusetts by then Governor Mitt Romney because of the revelation that he was in contact with James “Whitey” Bulger while the former crime boss was on the run. Bulger’s younger brother, John “Jackie” Bulger was convicted in 2003 for two counts of perjury after swearing that he had no communication with his oldest brother.
Continuing, John Martorano stated that James Bulger and company said that he (Bulger) would meet up with Connolly and “be a good listener.” It would go on that Connelly was getting money and gifts from the man he looked up to from the “old neighborhood”. One gift was unset diamonds as an engagement present for Connolly’s fiancée.
Prosecutors pointed out that the working relationship between Connolly and Bulger’s group allowed for Bulger’s outfit to thrive. He had an inside eye to what the FBI was up to after all. The relationship also allowed for Bulger to effectively carry out some murders. The trial is only five days into what is expected to be a three month trial with some 80 witnesses to appear, it’s expected that more will come out about the FBI working with Bulger’s group through a corrupt agent. Furthermore, it could get down to showing how Bulger’s group worked with local law enforcement and that allowed his outfit to grow uninterrupted as long as it did.
The trial continues today as of his report.