The Chicago Syndicate: John Martorano
Showing posts with label John Martorano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Martorano. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Boston's Winter Hill Organization's Chain of Command


Boston's Winter Hill Organization's Chain of Command


Monday, September 21, 2015

Kevin Weeks Calls Whitey Bulger #BlackMass Movie Bogus

From 1978-1994, Kevin Weeks served as a member of the Winter Hill Gang, and a close friend, confidant, and henchman to Whitey Bulger. And he says Johnny Depp’s film is bogus.

“We really did kill those people,” says Kevin Weeks, the former mobster and right-hand man to notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger. “But the movie is a fantasy.”

The film that has Weeks riled up is Black Mass. Directed by Scott Cooper, it stars Johnny Depp as Winter Hill Gang leader James “Whitey” Bulger, and depicts the menacing Irishman’s rise up the criminal ranks from low-level gangster to the most feared criminal in not just his native South Boston, but the state of Massachusetts. Whitey was able to rise so far so fast thanks to his special relationship with the FBI, especially agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton)—an old neighborhood friend on Whitey’s payroll who’d funnel him information in exchange for intel on the local Italian mafia, led by Gennaro Angiulo. Bulger was eventually arrested in 2011 at an apartment complex in Santa Monica, California, after being on the run for 17 years, and was indicted for 19 murders. He was convicted of 11 of those murders, and is serving two consecutive life sentences behind bars. Interestingly enough, while Whitey’s reign of terror was going on, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) was the most powerful politician in the state, serving as president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

Weeks, who’s portrayed in the film by Friday Night Lights’ Jesse Plemons, started out in 1976 as a bouncer at Whitey’s local haunt Triple O’s, and by 1978 he was serving as Whitey’s driver and personal muscle. He officially joined the Winter Hill Gang full-time in 1982, and, along with Johnny Martorano and Stephen Flemmi, served as one of Whitey’s devoted henchmen. In 1999, Weeks was arrested on a 29-count indictment in a RICO case. In exchange for his damning grand testimony against Whitey, Weeks received a 5-year prison sentence. He was released in 2004, and has since penned three books, including the recent Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger, which hit shelves on July 22.

And to say that Weeks is unhappy with the film would be a major understatement. “My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron,” says Weeks. “I look like I have Down syndrome.”

According to Weeks, the filmmakers behind Black Mass “didn’t consult with anyone within the inner circle about the movie,” and as a result, there are major discrepancies between what really happened and what happens onscreen.

The Daily Beast spoke with Weeks—who saw the film opening night—who opened up about what Black Mass got right and wrong, the murders they committed, and a foiled attempt to assassinate Boston Herald journalist Howie Carr.

You saw Black Mass on Friday night. What did you think of it?

Very disappointing. The only resemblance to Whitey’s character was the hairline. The funny thing is, Whitey’s look didn’t really change at all, just his clothes. It’s like we were stuck in a time warp. And the mannerisms—the way that Whitey talked to us—he never swore at us. In all the years I was with that man, he never swore at me once. We never yelled at each other. The opening scene of me getting beaten up? That never happened. They also have me talking to a black FBI agent in the beginning of the film, but I wouldn’t talk to the FBI. I spoke to a DEA agent, Dan Doherty. And my cooperation came after Johnny Martorano started cooperating. Nothing in the film is chronological, really.

The biggest chronological discrepancy in the film was the death of Bulger’s son, which took place in 1973. The film makes it seem like his boy died later than that in order to position it as his motivation for upping his killing and crime activity.

They made it seem like that was the reason why. I wasn’t there for the death of his son—that happened before my time—but I was there for the death of his mother, which he took pretty bad. But really, Whitey was violent long before his son’s death. And the way the film portrays people like Stephen Flemmi and myself? We come across looking like a step away from Down syndrome, really. We’re portrayed as these low-life thugs that are borderline morons who haven’t washed for weeks. For all the money we were makin’, we came off like paupers. We dressed a certain way during the day, but at night we were wearing $2,700 Louis suits. There’s a scene early on in the film where Johnny Martorano’s character is at the bar Triple O’s, and is reaching into a peanut bowl, licking his fingers, and sticking them back into the bowl, and Whitey starts mocking him for it. First of all, Johnny Martorano was never in Triple O’s. Second, if Whitey ever started talking to Johnny like that—berating him—the movie would be over because Johnny would’ve shot him right then. As bad as Whitey was, Johnny was just as capable—if not more.

Right. Johnny was known as “The Basin Street Butcher.”

He was a violent killer. There’s another scene later on where Whitey is yelling at Stevie [Flemmi] in the car outside the police station where they’re waiting to pick up Deborah Hussey. The language is all wrong. We never really cursed like that unless we were grabbing somebody, and Whitey never would’ve berated Stevie, either. Stevie was a psychopath. Stevie would’ve killed him. And Stevie is portrayed as a very sympathetic character.

In the scene you mention, they pick up Hussey, take her to a house, and Whitey strangles her to death.

Right. And I’m already in the house—they show me in the background. The true story is that me and Jimmy went to that house and we were waiting for Stevie. That house was for sale, and we already had two bodies buried downstairs. When I get to the house with Jimmy, he says, “Oh, we’re waiting for Stevie and Deborah. Stevie might buy the place.” I go and use the bathroom upstairs, and as soon as I come down the stairs, I see Stevie and Deborah come in, and I hear boom-boom. I walk in and see that Jimmy had strangled her. I thought she was dead, but then Stevie put his head on her chest, said she was still alive, and he put a clothesline rope around her neck, put a stick in it and twisted. And then after, Stevie dragged her body downstairs and pulled her teeth out. So Stevie wasn’t all sympathetic, mourning, and sorrowful like he is in the movie. Stevie enjoyed murder.

Back to Johnny Depp’s performance as Whitey. The film made Whitey seem—relatively speaking—like a sympathetic character. He’s portrayed as a very loving family man.

He had a son, Douglas, and he did die of Reye’s syndrome, but Jimmy wasn’t this doting father. Lindsey [Cyr] lived in Quincy, and he used to preach to me all the time, “If you’re gonna be a criminal, you shouldn’t have kids. They’re a liability.” And that scene at the dinner table between Jimmy and Douglas where he tells his son, “Punch them when the other kid isn’t looking,” he didn’t talk to kids like that. He was my older son’s godfather and I remember the way he’d talk to my son. He just talked to him like he was a young kid. Oh, you playing baseball? Normal conversation. He didn’t bring business back to the house. So his portrayal of him, outside of the makeup, I couldn’t believe it. The hairline was fine but the teeth were terrible, too. Jimmy had one front tooth and a nerve in it had died so it was one shade less than white—a little yellow, ya know. And his girlfriend, Cathy [Greig], was a hygienist, so his teeth were in great shape except for that one tooth.

Whitey looks vampiric in the film—like a ghoul.

He really does. There’s one scene I have a really big problem with, and that’s a scene down in Miami. Now, I was never down in Miami and they never met Johnny [Martorano] down in Miami. They met Johnny out in a hotel by La Guardia Airport, and it was just Jimmy, Stevie, and Johnny who discussed the John Callahan murder, which came after Roger Wheeler. In the scene in the film, they have me down in Miami and we’re all sitting there. Callahan goes to give Jimmy a big of money and Jimmy says, “Give that to Kevin.” And I take it. And then Stevie supposedly propositions Brian Halloran to kill Roger Wheeler, and Jimmy notices Halloran’s demeanor and says, “Kevin, give him the bag with the $20,000 in it, and forget what you heard here.” That never happened. In fact, I didn’t know about Roger Wheeler’s death until the Callahan murder. So just by having me be there giving Halloran the money, they have involved me in a conspiracy to kill Roger Wheeler. I’ve been libeled. I wasn’t involved in that at all, so I have a big problem with that. I just don’t know where they get the right to put events in there that did not happen.

What about the turf war between the Winter Hill Gang and the Angiulo crime family?

Well, another scene in the beginning where Jimmy pulls up, I get in the car, then we drive somewhere and beat up a guy, and his name is “Joey Angiulo,” and he’s identified as Jerry Angiulo’s nephew. Just by saying that name, “Angiulo,” that never would’ve happened because if it did, there would have been a war. If it did, to make peace, Jerry Angiulo would’ve said, “Kill Kevin, and it’s over.” That scene did happen to another fellow, Paul Giaimo, and the story was that he’d slapped Whitey’s niece.  We got him in the car, drove up to M Street Park, proceeded to give him a beating, then drove him up to Cassidy’s and left the body out front so all his friends could see. Then we found out later on that we beat up the wrong person. But by making up this name and saying “Angiulo” and the mafia, it was so unrealistic. There would have been bodies in the streets if that happened.

As far as the FBI is concerned, the film seemed to really let the Bureau off the hook. John Connolly and John Morris are the only FBI agents in the film who seem to know about Whitey’s double-dealing, and they’re portrayed as sympathetic pawns, to a degree.

The FBI were the ones that enabled Jimmy and Stevie to survive. There’s a scene early on in the film where Connolly and Jimmy make this “alliance,” and then Jimmy goes back and tells Stevie about how they’re going to use the FBI against the mafia. That didn’t happen because Stevie had already been an important since 1965. In 1967, Flemmi and Frank Salemme blew up Joe Barboza’s attorney, John Fitzgerald, and then Stevie and Frankie went on the run, with Frankie going down to New York and Stevie going up to Montreal. Stevie comes back to Boston in 1974, and then the following year, Jimmy becomes an informant. And Connolly was on the payroll. We considered Connolly a criminal, too. He was our informant, and that’s how it was portrayed to all of us—that we were paying for his information. That’s why no one suspected that Jim Bulger was informing on us, because every time we made a score we’d put money aside to pay our contacts in law enforcement, and we were getting good information. Jimmy used to tell me, “I can call any one of six FBI agents and they’ll come to me and jump in this car with a machine gun and go on a hit.” One FBI agent actually gave us 17 kilos of C-4 which we were going to use to blow up a reporter, Howie Carr. Howie thought it was a made-up story, until he found out it was the truth.

Why did Bulger want to assassinate Howie Carr?

He was just a vicious bastard. He was attacking everybody—innocent people and everything. There was a time when we weren’t doing much and everything was running smoothly, and he wrote an article about this kid in South Boston who got killed, and Jimmy decided to make him a hobby and shut him up once and for all. When I look back on it, I wish we did kill him. He’s still the most hated reporter in Boston. Everybody hates him.

And it wasn’t just the FBI that knew about Whitey and what he was doing. Jeremiah O’Sullivan, the head of the organized crime task force, was giving information to Connolly. Every time Whitey or Stevie’s name was mentioned they’d give the information to Connolly knowing that Connolly would be giving the information to us. They were all on the payroll. All of them were receiving presents all the time—money, wine, trips. Some agents you couldn’t give money to because they’d feel insulted, so you’d give them a crystal or a Chelsea Clock. Everybody had their weakness.

One mystery surrounding Whitey Bulger is the Lady of the Dunes—the nickname for the body of the mysterious woman found at the Race Point Dunes. Many believe Bulger murdered her.

That wasn’t him. What happened was, because of Deborah Hussey and Debra Davis being killed, he used to visit Provincetown. And he’d usually have his girlfriend or a young girl he was with. But Whitey didn’t kill her. That’s just people jumping on it and saying, “It could have been him.” He didn’t do it.

But Whitey did kill Debra Davis, you’re saying? That murder was never actually proven to be Whitey’s doing.

I wasn’t there for Debra Davis—it was just Jim Bulger and Steve Flemmi—but here’s the story I was told: [Whitey] told me how when he was in the house with Stevie, they grabbed Debra, dragged her downstairs to the basement, and put her in a chair. She was being killed because she was going to leave Stevie, and he’d told her too much—including about his relationship with John Connolly. So she’s in the chair and Stevie begins putting duct tape around her. She had beautiful hair, so Jim Bulger said to me, “When the duct tape went around her face and her hair, that’s when I knew it was over.” And Stevie kissed her on the forehead and said, “You’re going to another place now.” And then Jim Bulger’s exact words to me were, “And then she was strangled.” So he didn’t say who strangled her.

The relationship between Whitey and his brother Billy has always fascinated me—that the most notorious crime boss in Boston could have a brother who, as president of the Massachusetts State Senate, was the most powerful politician in Massachusetts.

OK, I was up at Billy Bulger’s house over 100 times with Jimmy. He never discussed any street business or crime with Billy. It was always conversations about regular family stuff. There’s no doubt in my mind that Billy knew Jimmy was involved in the rackets, but as far as the murders, if Billy did hear something about that I bet he’d choose not to believe it, because he’s a very religious man. There was the case of Senator John E. Powers, who was a judge. He fired Whitey from being a janitor at the courthouse. Billy never forgave him for that because after Whitey was fired from that job, he started committing all these crimes and stuff. So when it came to John E. Powers getting a raise or anything like that, it never made it past Billy Bulger in the Senate. So if someone was attacking his family, sure, he would stick it to that person whatever way he could legally. But as far as shielding Whitey from investigations? Billy never did that. Never.

Whitey’s attorney, Hank Brennan, recently shot down Black Mass, saying that “the real menace to Boston during that time and in other mob cases around the country—the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program.”

Well, [Jay Carney, Bulger's other attorney] is a buffoon. I mean, really. He was supposed to defend Jim Bulger, and when he stood up and gave his opening remarks, he basically admitted to every charge. What, he’s spoken to Jim Bulger for a hundred hours, and that’s supposed to make him something? Now, he speaks about Jim like he’s his best friend. He doesn’t know a thing about the real Jim Bulger, what’s happened, or anything. He’s literally a buffoon.

But it was the federal government that enabled us to get as far as we did. Without their interference, we would’ve been a short-lived gang. In some cases, we knew about investigations before they’d even been approved, or received financing. And it wasn’t just Connolly and the FBI. There was a bug in the Lancaster Street Garage that was given to us by a state trooper. The state police keep trying to pin it all on the FBI, but they were tipping us off, too. Whitey had his hands in everything. He had FBI. He had the Boston Police. He had Quincy Police. He had one guy in the DEA who was saying stuff to Connolly. He had people all over law enforcement that were giving information to him. With the movie, there’s no accuracy at all. The premise of corruption with the FBI is right, but as far as the events, the people, and the personalities? You could’ve told the truth and the movie would’ve been more violent than it is but they fabricated events. The movie is pure fiction.

Thanks to Marlow Stern.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

John Connolly, Former FBI Agent, Gets 40 Years in Prison for Role in Mob Hit

A judge sentenced a rogue FBI agent to 40 years in prison on Thursday for the 1982 mob-related killing of a witness who was about to testify against Boston mob members, court officials said.

Disgraced ex-FBI agent John Connolly Jr. "crossed over to the dark side," said Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Stanford Blake. The sentence will run consecutively to a 10-year racketeering sentence.

Connolly, 68, was convicted in November of second-degree murder in the death of businessman John Callahan, an executive with World Jai-Alai. Callahan's bullet-riddled body was found in the trunk of a Cadillac parked at Miami International Airport.

Connolly's fall from celebrated mob-buster to paid gangland flunky captivated a South Florida courtroom for weeks. In testimony at his sentencing hearing last month, he denied having any role in Callahan's death.

"It's heartbreaking to hear what happened to your father and to your husband," he told members of Callahan's family. "My heart is broken when I hear what you say."

He explained, in the face of vigorous cross-examination, that rubbing elbows with killers and gangsters and winning their confidence was part of his job. His attorney argued that Connolly did what the FBI wanted him to do, and now was being held responsible.

Connolly did not testify at his trial.

Prosecutors had asked that Connolly be given a life sentence, saying the 30-year minimum was not enough because Connolly abused his badge.

In a Boston Globe interview published last month, however, Connolly vigorously denied being a corrupt agent. "I did not commit these crimes I was charged with," Connolly told the newspaper. "I never sold my badge. I never took anybody's money. I never caused anybody to be hurt, at least not knowingly, and I never would."

During his two-month trial, jurors heard that Connolly told his mob connections that Callahan, 45, was a potential witness against them, setting him up for the gangland-style slaying.

According to testimony, Connolly was absorbed by the very gangsters he was supposed to be targeting -- members of South Boston's notorious Winter Hill gang. His story was said to be the inspiration for the character played by Matt Damon in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie, "The Departed."

Connolly's tale was closely followed in New England, where he grew up in Boston's "Southie" neighborhood, the same area long dominated by the Winter Hill gang and its notorious leader, James "Whitey" Bulger. Sought in 19 slayings, Bulger is the FBI's second most-wanted fugitive.

During the first two decades of his FBI career, Connolly won kudos in the bureau's Boston office, cultivating informants against New England mobsters. Prosecutors said Connolly was corrupted by his two highest-ranking snitches: Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Connolly retired from the FBI in 1990 and later was indicted on federal racketeering and other charges stemming from his long relationship with Bulger and Flemmi. He was convicted of racketeering in 2002 and was serving a 10-year federal prison sentence when he was indicted in 2005 in the Callahan slaying.

During testimony, jurors heard that Connolly was on the mob payroll, collecting $235,000 from Bulger and Flemmi while shielding his mob pals from prosecution and leaking the identities of informants.

The prosecution's star witnesses at the Miami trial were Flemmi, who is now in prison, and mob hit man John Martorano, who has admitted to 20 murders, served 12 years in prison and is now free.

Callahan, who often socialized with gangsters, had asked the gang to execute Oklahoma businessman Roger Wheeler over a business dispute, according to testimony. Martorano killed Wheeler in 1981 on a golf course, shooting him once between the eyes, prosecutors said.

After Connolly told Bulger and Flemmi that Callahan was going to implicate them in the slaying, Martorano was sent to do away with Callahan, prosecutors said. But one star witness did not testify -- the former FBI agent who inspired the 1997 film "Donnie Brasco." He refused to take the stand after the judge denied his request to testify anonymously.

Thanks to Rich Phillips

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Executioner, John Martorano

There are few men alive today with the underworld credentials of John Martorano, and even fewer who are out of prison and walking the streets. For more than a decade, Martorano was the chief executioner for Boston's Winter Hill Gang, a loose confederation of Irish and Italian-American gangsters run by James "Whitey" Bulger.

Martorano, a former Catholic altar boy and high school football star, became a cool and calculating killer. But as correspondent Steve Kroft reports, he is perhaps best known as the government witness who helped expose a web of corruption and collusion involving the mob and the Boston office of the FBI.

For years, he was one of the most feared men in Boston, and this is why: Martorano says he never kept count of how many people he killed. "Until in the end, I never realized it was that many," he tells Kroft.

Asked how many, Martorano says, "A lot. Too many."

"Do you have a number?" Kroft asks.

"I confessed to 20 in court," Martorano replies.

"You sure you remembered 'em all?" Kroft asks.

"I hope so," Martorano says,

Martorano had to remember them all. It was part of a deal he cut with the federal government that put him back on the streets of Boston after only 12 years in prison -- a little more than seven months served for each of the 20 people he killed, many of them fellow gangsters, and many of them at close range after looking into their eyes.

Asked if he always killed people by shooting them, Martorano tells Kroft, "I think I stabbed one guy."

"But you like guns," Kroft remarks.

"Well, it's the easiest way I think," Martorano says.

Martorano says he did not get any satisfaction out of the fact that people were afraid of him. "But everybody likes to be respected for one thing or another," he admits.

His manner is unemotional and detached, and he speaks with the brevity of a professional witness, which he has become. His testimony helped wipe out one of the largest criminal enterprises in New England, for which he served as chief executioner. But Martorano is no psychopath, and he doesn't much like the term "hit man."

"The hit man is…that sounds to me like somebody that's getting paid to a paid contract. I mean, you could never pay me to kill anybody," he says.

"A lot of people would say you're a serial killer," Kroft remarks.

"I might be a vigilante, but not a serial killer," Martorano says. "Serial killers, you have to stop them. They'll never stop. And they enjoy it. I never enjoyed it. I don't enjoy risking my life but if the cause was right I would."

Martorano says he "always" felt like he was doing the right thing. "Even if it was wrong, I always tried to do the right thing."

If you believe Martorano -- and the Justice Department does -- he killed out of a sense of loyalty and duty. He sees himself as a stand-up guy, a man of his word, which is why he decided to talk to 60 Minutes.

It goes back 50 years, when Martorano was a star running back on the Mount St. Charles Academy football team in Rhode Island. One of his blockers was the late 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. He promised Bradley he would sit down with him and tell his story, but Ed died unexpectedly before Martorano got out of prison.

"I never thought I'd be sitting here with you, I thought I'd be here with Ed. But I'm sitting here because Ed wanted me to sit here and I'm honoring that," Martorano explains.

"I know one of the questions that Ed wanted to ask you. In sort of the way that Ed asked those questions, I think he wanted to be sitting here and say, 'What happened Johnny?' Why was it do you think that you went in different directions?" Kroft asks.

"Well, I think it was mainly the influence of my father and his principles and his values that he pushed onto me," Martorano explains.

His father owned an after hour's club called Luigi's in a rough Boston neighborhood known as the "Combat Zone." It was a hangout for hoodlums who would become Martorano's role models, and many of them shared his father’s simple Sicilian values.

"He was the oldest son, and he taught me 'You're the oldest son and this is your heritage. You've got to take care of your family and be a man. I don't care what else you are, you’ve got to be a man,'" Martorano says.

It was the code he lived by and killed for. The first time it was an ex con, Robert Palladino, he thought was going to implicate his brother Jimmy in a murder. Palladino was found under an expressway with a bullet in his head.

Martorano says he didn't see anything wrong with it. "I saved my brother’s life, somebody got hurt, that had to be," he says.

Asked if it felt like a duty, Martorano says, "An obligation."

"Was the next time easier?" Kroft asks.

"Well, it's sort of like a lawyer trying his first case. It's difficult but the next case is easier. Then it gets easier, I guess, as you go. 'Cause it's you know, doing this is harder than that," Martorano says.

Why?

"'Cause it's hard for me to do. I never did it before," he says.

By the 1970s, his circle of friends and family had expanded to include the Winter Hill Gang, led by the notorious Irish mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger and Stevie "The Rifleman" Flemmi. Martorano was their partner in a business that included gambling, loan sharking, extortion and murder. Martorano's specialty was conflict resolution.

"We had a lot of problems with people. And you know, you just killed them before they kill you. It's kill or get killed at times," Martorano explains.

"I mean, on one occasion, you walked into a crowded bar…and shot somebody. In broad daylight…with the policeman across the street," Kroft says.

"Correct," Martorano admits.

"That's pretty confident," Kroft remarks.

"Well, I felt confident," Martorano says. "You put a disguise on and you just get to feel invisible.

Martorano remembers what the disguise was. "I had a yellow hard hat, a white meat cutter's coat, full length and a beard and mustaches and sunglasses," he recalls.

Asked what he did afterwards, Martorano says, "I went home and changed, back to work."

They operated out of an old body shop, long since abandoned, but Whitey Bulger's chair is still there, and so is his old office.

"I think that's the trapdoor for the cellar. Used to leave that open all the time. Just to intimidate people. Try to get the truth out of them," Martorano remembers. "People would look down there and just wonder."

"Anybody go down there and never come up?" Kroft asks.

"I think so, yeah," Martorano says.

By 1978 Martorano had already killed 18 people, and facing an indictment for fixing horse races, he fled to Florida, where he was living a quiet life under the name "Richard Aucoin." He was only there a few years when Bulger and Flemmi called, asking him to carry out a murder that made headlines across the country, the assassination of a wealthy corporate executive in the parking lot of the exclusive Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.

The victim was Roger Wheeler, the CEO of Telex Corporation and owner of World Jai Alai, a profitable sports betting business that Bulger was trying to muscle in on. Martorano says the logistical information to carry out the hit was provided by a former Boston FBI agent named Paul Rico.

"How did you manage to get into the Southern Hills Country Club to kill Mr. Wheeler?" Kroft asks.

"There was no gates. We drive in. Waited for him to finish playing golf. I had an update when he was gonna -- his tee time. So, I just waited for him to finish," Martorano remembers.

"You knew what he looked like?" Kroft asks.

"I had his description from Rico," Martorano says.

Martorano says he shot Wheeler once in the head.

Martorano says it wasn't the first or the last time he would get useful information from an FBI man. One of the FBI's top organized crime investigators in Boston, a corrupt agent named John Connolly, helped them out for years. Martorano says it was Connolly who told them that an associate of theirs named John Callahan was about to rat them out on the Wheeler murder. Callahan would become Martorano's 20th and final victim.

"Do you think that John Connolly knew that you were gonna kill Callahan?" Kroft asks.

"Sure," Martorano says. "He said it, 'We're all going to go to jail the rest of our life if this guy doesn't get killed.'"

"And this an FBI agent telling you this?" Kroft asks.

"This is an FBI agent telling it to Whitey, telling it to me," Martorano says.

Martorano has already told this story under oath, and is expected to tell it again to a jury in Florida this spring when Connolly goes on trial for complicity in that murder. He's already serving a ten-year sentence for obstructing justice. In the end, it was a Massachusetts State Police investigation that began to unravel the Winter Hill Gang. In 1995, Martorano, Flemmi and Whitey Bulger were all indicted for racketeering. Bulger, who was tipped off by Connolly about his impending arrest, went underground and is still a fugitive. And in a Boston courtroom, Martorano was about to learn something that would change his life forever.

He knew that Bulger and Flemmi had been getting information from the FBI. But he didn't know they had been also been providing it. For decades, his partners were top-level FBI informants, snitching on the Italian mafia and on Martorano and other gang members. They had violated his code of loyalty, especially Whitey Bulger.

"I'll go along with a lot of things, but not -- no Judas, not no informant," Martorano says. "I never informed or ratted on nobody. And if I could've killed him, I would've killed him. But he wasn't there and that's what I think he deserves."

Martorano decided to strike back the only way he could, using words as his weapon. "I gave him back what he gave everybody else," Martorano says.

"You became an informant?" Kroft asks.

"Nope, I became a government witness," Martorano says. "Not an informant, or a rat. I became a government witness."

Asked what the difference is, Martorano tells Kroft, "One's got the courage to stand on the stand, the other ones' are doin' it behind your back, and droppin' dimes. And how can I be rattin' on a guy who's the rat for 30 years? I'm tryin' to stop him from rattin' anymore."

Bulger, who is still on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list, is now facing 19 murder charges as a result largely of Martorano’s testimony, and Flemmi is in prison for life. His cooperation helped solve nearly 40 murders, including the 20 he confessed to -- and it helped uncover secret mob graves -- all in return for a sentence of just 14 years.

"In some ways, he got away with murder," Kroft tells Donald Stern, who was the U.S. attorney who eventually signed off on the agreement.

"In some ways, he did get away with murder," Stern agrees.

"The only thing worse than this deal was not doing this deal. 'Cause if we didn't do this deal, no one would receive any punishment for these murders. Corrupt law enforcement arrangements would not have been uncovered and prosecuted. And the cancer in law enforcement that existed in Boston for a number of years would have remained there," Stern says.

"So you're saying it changed the landscape of organized crime in Boston?" Kroft asks.

"It did," Stern replies.

When Martorano was released from prison last spring, he decided to return to Boston. He says he feels safe here now. Most of his enemies are dead, in jail, or on the lam.

"In some cases, regret can take over a person's life. I don't get the sense that that's the case with you," Kroft remarks.

"Well, maybe that's just not my temperament or my personality. Maybe it is, but you can't see it. Or maybe I can't express it the way you want it, but I have my regrets," Martorano says.

"You seem cold," Kroft says. "You killed 20 people and that’s all you have to say about it?"

"I wish it wasn't that way. I mean, I wish there was none. You know, you can’t change the past. I’m trying to do the best I can with the future and explain it as best I can. I regret it all, I can’t change it," Martorano says.

"You still a Catholic?" Kroft asks.

"Sure," Martorano says.

"I mean, you can burn in hell for killing one person," Kroft points out.

"I don't believe that," Martorano says. "At one point, maybe a couple years ago, I sent for a priest and gave him a confession. It was maybe 30 years since my last confession. But I went through the whole scenario with him, and went through my whole life with him, and confessed. And at the end of it, he says, 'Well, what do you think I should give you for penance?' I says, 'Father, you can justifiably crucify me.' He laughed and says, 'Nope. Ten Hail Marys, ten Our Fathers, and don't do it again.' So I listened to him."

"Anything that could get you to kill again?" Kroft asks.

"Not that I can think of," Martorano says.

Not even Whitey Bulger?

Says Martorano, "Well, there’s a bounty out on him."

Thanks to Steve Kroft

Friday, November 21, 2003

Former FBI Agent Arrested in Mob Hit

A former FBI agent who handled high-ranking mob informants was arrested Thursday and charged with murder for allegedly helping to set up a 1981 mob hit on an Oklahoma businessman.

H. Paul Rico, 78, was arrested at his home near Miami in the slaying of 55-year-old Roger Wheeler, who was shot in the head at a Tulsa, Okla., country club after a round of golf.

Rico's arrest was the latest turn in a long-running scandal over the cozy relationship between the Boston FBI and its underworld informants. Last year, a former FBI agent was convicted of protecting gangsters, including James “Whitey” Bulger, who is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

Investigators said Wheeler's slaying was linked to his purchase of World Jai Alai and his suspicion that money was being skimmed from the Florida company. At the time, Rico was retired from the FBI and was the head of security for World Jai Alai.

Investigators said Rico provided John Martorano, a hit man for Boston's Winter Hill Gang, with information on Wheeler's schedule so he could be killed. Martorano admitted pulling the trigger and is awaiting sentencing.

The New York Times reported that Rico asked Martorano to carry out the hit because gang members believed Wheeler had learned $1 million a year was being skimmed from the jai alai operation.

Rico “flat-out categorically denies this,” said his attorney, William Cagney III. “He never assisted the Winter Hill Gang in trying to get inside information so they could ... do away with people.”

Rico was jailed in Florida. Gail Marcinkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the Boston FBI, declined to comment. Rico spent 24 years with the FBI, specializing in organized crime cases in Boston in the 1960s and '70s. He cultivated mobster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi and others as informants.

Bulger, the boss of the Winter Hill Gang, Flemmi and Martorano were all charged in Wheeler's murder in 2001 by Oklahoma prosecutors. District Attorney Tim Harris of Tulsa has said he planned to seek the death penalty against Bulger and Flemmi.

Prosecutors in Florida followed with an indictment charging all three in the 1982 slaying of World Jai Alai executive John “Jack” Callahan in Miami. Investigators said they believe Callahan was killed to keep him from telling authorities about links between World Jai Alai and the mob.

A congressional panel is investigating the Boston FBI office's ties to its mob informants, including Bulger, who fled in 1995 after being tipped off by then-agent John J. Connolly Jr. that he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges.

During Connolly's trial, prosecutors said Bulger and Flemmi were left untouched by law enforcement for decades because they were informing for the FBI on the New England Mafia, which is separate from the Winter Hill Gang. Connolly is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

In 2001, Rico testified about another case before a congressional committee. He denied that he and his partner helped framed an innocent man for a 1965 gangland slaying, but acknowledged that Joseph Salvati wrongly spent 30 years in prison for the crime.

Republican Rep. Christopher Shays accused Rico of feeling no remorse for his role in the conviction of four innocent men in that case. Rico replied, “What do you want, tears?"

Salvati's lawyer, Victor Garo, predicted that Rico's arrest will split the Boston FBI scandal wide open, exposing more government wrongdoing in Boston and Washington. "He was the inside man of the Boston office of the FBI in dealing with informants like Steve Flemmi and others,” Garo said. “I would imagine that right now many people are concerned about what he knows and what he will say. ... He knows about all the skeletons in the closet.”

Wheeler's son said he was pleased with Rico's arrest. “It's something I've wanted for years,” said Larry Wheeler, who said he believes Rico played a role in his father's murder.

The ongoing scandal has also damaged the career of one of the state's most legendary politicians, former state Senate president William Bulger, who is the brother of Whitey Bulger. Bulger resigned as president of the University of Massachusetts in August, following months of mounting pressure over his role in the federal investigation of his fugitive brother.

The departure came just two months after UMass trustees expressed confidence in Bulger even as a storm of protest swirled around him and his testimony before a congressional committee investigating the FBI's ties to its mob informants.

He testified under immunity before the panel in June about brother Whitey. While admitting he had spoken to his brother once since he fled, Bulger said he has no idea of his whereabouts and said there is little he could have done to steer him from a life of crime. William Bulger also said he thought the FBI investigators were trying to get his brother killed when they leaked to the media the fact that Whitey Bulger had been an informant.

Bulger's critics said his testimony was evasive and questioned how he could be so ignorant of his brother's criminal activities.

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