An Overview of Whitey’s Murders: The Years Between The Groups (4 of 5)

(1) whitey 1The killings in the first three groups ended in 1976 with the murder of Richard Castucci. It would be several years when there were none. Hardly was there a reign of terror going on in Boston as some suggest. For these years Whitey operated mostly with Stevie Flemmi who had been an informant with the FBI. Attributing the first eleven murders to Whitey’s connection with the FBI is a reach; he did not become an informant until 1975, if he became an informant at all.

Flemmi had been on the lam between 1969 and 1974. He had been an informant all during that time. He was brought back to Boston by the FBI who worked to secure the dismissal of two serious criminal charges against him: one for a murder pending  in Suffolk County and one for blowing up an attorney’s car in Middlesex County. The FBI brought him back to continue his role as an informant and not out of the goodness of its heart. He was not carried on the roles of the FBI as such for much of this period although prior to his flight he had been handled by Agent Paul Rico, on his return by Agent Dennis Condon, Rico’s former partner, and then he was passed on to Agent John Connolly.

The FBI files show that Connolly first opened Whitey on September 18, 1975.  Whether he had actually informed Whitey of this or whether he had received any information from Whitey by this time is not known. Within two months of Connolly opening him both Tommy King and Buddy Leonard were murdered. It is highly unlikely that Connolly would have known about them. Of the other nine in the first three groups, the only other one that occurred after the FBI files claimed Whitey became an informant was Richard Castucci. It has always been clear to me that his killing had nothing to do with Connolly or the FBI but was a rip off of the New York Mafia of upwards of two hundred thousand dollars in gambling money owed to them.

Agent Connolly said he handled Whitey from that date in 1975 and we also know from Flemmi that he was handling him. After Castucci’s murder on December 1976 there were no murders alleged to have been committed by either Whitey or Flemmi for almost four and a half years. The idea that Connolly would have had any idea that Whitey was in the business of murdering people when he first brought him on board is far-fetched. Nor would he under normal circumstances have known of Whitey’s or his associates’ involvement in the King, Leonard or Castucci murders.

They  were not about to tell an agent they hardly knew. In effect, from the time he opened Whitey as an informant up until May 27, 1981, a period of almost six years, to suggest he knew or should have known of Whitey’s involvement in any murder runs square up against the facts of how gangsters operate. Especially since most of this period there were no murders committed.

It was during this six-year period that Whitey began his ascent to the top position in the Hill. The first time he made his bones would have probably been with the murder of Eddie Connors in June 1975 since in all the murders before that he was not armed or near the murders or someone else did the shooting.  Next would have been the murder of Buddy Leonard that November.

These latter murders all occurred with Stevie Flemmi back on the scene. Did he give Whitey the courage to take a life? When he came back from his sabbatical he immediately went back to the Hill. He then fell in with Whitey who was a kindred spirit: unlike the others they avoided the partying, the drugs, and the booze and concentrated on being in shape and chasing after women and money.

Their big break came when Howie got involved in an extortion scheme of some legitimate guys and he ended up being sentenced to twenty years in prison. Then Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims had fled town after being charged with a West Coast murder. That left John Martorano who was involved with all of them in the race fixing case.

Martorano who had done a small bit in the Plymouth House of Corrections shortly before for running a gaming operation in Plymouth County decided he did not like being incarcerated. When he got tipped off he was going to be indicted in a race fixing case he went on the lam for sixteen years.

Although Whitey and Stevie were also involved in the case they were not indicted because FBI agents Morris and Connolly asked AUSA O’Sullivan to leave them out of the indictment. They told him the gangsters were needed for his ongoing investigation of Gerry Angiulo. It is at this point we can go on to the last three groups.

16 thoughts on “An Overview of Whitey’s Murders: The Years Between The Groups (4 of 5)

  1. Matt, from the first paragraph :

    “Attributing the first eleven murders to Whitey’s connection to the FBI is a reach; he did not become an informant until 1975, *if he became an informant at all*.”

    And from the third paragraph :

    “Of the other nine in the first three groups, the only other one that occurred *after Whitey became an informant* was Richard Castucci.”

    I’m no Jerome, but I see a contradiction. Please clarify.

  2. Hi Matt and wasn’t Joe McDonald on the FBI’s ten most wanted list? Just to let you know that I am not from the Boston area as I am English but I have read the Deadly Alliance by Ralph Ranalli.

    What is your understanding of Frank Salemme Jr? As I read that he was caught in a FBI’s sting on the West coast along with some Mafia associates.

  3. Jerome, what I mean is that I am hardly the astute student and incisive mind that you are when it comes to MTC’s writings.

    1. GOK
      Thank you for the compliment. Have you read any book(s) covering this subject matter? I am a naturally inquisitive person and have my degree in Philosophy.

      1. Jerome, this summer I finally read MTC’s “Don’t Embarrass the Family” after receiving it as a Christmas gift. (Rewarding reading; can’t wait for another MTC book.) I’ve read nothing other on the topic, unless you consider Nick Pileggi’s “Wiseguy” to be in the ballpark.

        [I envy you your degree! Just yesterday I read somewhere that philosophy is the single most important subject to study.]

        1. GOK
          If you need some book recommendations I would highly recommend DEADLY ALLIANCE by Ralph Ranalli. Its a great compliment to this blog regarding the Top Echelon Informant program and also how the FBI enables dangerous criminals. I also recommend HITMAN by Howie Carr. Although Matt has pointed out that some of Martorano stories are full of lies and mis-truths its still the only book that discusses a lot of the murders involved in the Irish Gang Wars of the 60s and 70s. Both are probably at your local library.

          Philosophy is a great subject. Highly recommended

        1. Jon,
          I dont have a specialty but I do have my favorites. Been awhile but I liked Nietzsche a lot. A therapist that pulled many of his ideas from philosophers that I highly recommend is Albert Ellis. He was heavily influenced by the Stoics. His book A GUIDE TO RATIONAL LIVING is a classic.

          Was there a specialty that you chose?

          1. Thanks Jerome. I always had a special affection for Nietzsche. Genealogy of Morals, Ecce Homo, Zarathustra.

            I loved reading the Socratic dialogues as a kid, but not a fan of Plato. I became fond of Kant and some of the Continental philosophers in college. Also Wittgenstein.

            But it’s been a while.

  4. Matt,

    Do you think the mafia or any of the criminals in the Boston area ever wondered how Stevie suddenly returned to Boston in 1974 as a free man without harassment from the authorities?

  5. I take issue with your words made his bones in 1975. I would think that between 1965 when he got out of Federal prison and 1975 he would have killed someone in the Irish gangs war. The 1975 Tommy King murder seems well known. However, as good as you may be putting together past events I think it is impossible to tell if Whitey did or did not murder someone way back in the 1970s.

  6. Matt
    According to Part 3 and Part 4 of this series it implies you are stating that Whitey Bulger first kill/murder is Eddie connors. You state “with respect to Eddie Connors he murdered him along with Stevie Flemmi to gain his creds with the Hill”. I am thinking simialr to Norwood Born in that most likely Whitey Bulger did murder someone or other individuals before 1975. Before he teamed up with Steve Flemmi.

    According to your line of thinking, its a STRONG possibility that Flemmi convinced Bulger to become an informant with the FBI (if he bacme one officially is still a matter of debate) AND to become a murderer? How would Flemmi “convince” Bulger to become a murderer?

    1. Jerome:

      Norwood Born wants to believe something of which there is no proof; in fact prior to Whitey’s murder of Eddie Connors you have to remember he was in prison for 9 years – no one has alleged anywhere that before going to prison he committed a murder; when he gets out you have him joining the Hill in 1972. Everything he did with them is documented. Go back to 1970 and you have the Killeen/Mullen dispute. What time period does that leave you for Whitey to be murdering people. You will note that his murders are always done with the help of others; he was not associating with others of that type between his release from prison and 1970 as best I can tell. So who was it he murdered?

      Flemmi alone would not convince Whitey to become a murderer. It would be the pack that he ran with: birds of feather; a group of mad dogs – when on the Hill do what others do. It would have been his association with all of them who were murderers that would have forced his hand.

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