Feds Helping Reunite Winter Hill

WinterJean, a U.S, citizen stranded in Panama, wrote to me: wondering what u thought about the evidence from the MA State Trouper with respect to JM being back in the life and being protected “ ‘

Jim, background unknown, wrote: Any update on the Rule 35 motion?”

JM is John Martorano who wrote a book called Hitman spelling out his 20 murders. When asked about the title of the book he said he didn’t think he was a hitman. Even though it is clear that he fit perfectly into the definition he didn’t like it for some reason. He tells us that the Mafia’s Gerry Angiulo  hired him and Howie Winter to kill Indian Al and his gang.  He also tells us John Callahan hired him to murder Roger Wheeler. Both Angiulo and Callahan paid him around $50,000 grand for his work.

Only in the head of a deranged killer could he think he wasn’t a hitman; only in the federal system could a hitman be used as a star witness and be walking the street. I figured if he didn’t want to be called hitman he should be called Murderman which he is quite proficient at doing especially when the other party has his back to him or is unarmed.

Jean want to know if he’s still doing business and is he still being protected. I’m sure he’s still being protected because the federals want nothing to happen to him that would impugn his testimony in the many cases surrounding Whitey. I’m not sure why that is the case. The Boston juries who heard him testify have not believed him in those situations where he had no corroboration.

Is he back in business? Well seeing that it is the only business he knows and seeing that he has the federals covering his back, sort of like the guys in the FBI’s Top Echelon Informant program, there’s little incentive for him not to be. I wonder if he has a license to carry? Have any people gone missing lately”

Jim in his question about the Rule 35 motion is referring to the deal that Steven Flemmi made with the government in exchange for his testimony. As bad as Murderman is, Flemmi is worse. Murderan and Flemmi actually go way back to the time they were in the Roxbury Gang. Ever here the federals talk about that gang, or even read about it from any of those who wrote books relative to Winter Hill? For some reason no one wants to talk about it, perhaps they don’t know of its existence.

Flemmi has probably murdered as many people as Murderman. However, were Dante to place him in Hell, he’d have to be in a lower place than Murderman. Flemmi murdered his girl friend and his step-daughter; and Mengele-like cut off their fingers and pulled out their teeth.  The only appropriate cognomen I could come up with for him was Benji Ditchman. When I served our country in Japan I knew one thing I wanted to avoid were the Benji Ditches.

One submarine sailor wrote about having a couple of drinks in Japan that afterward: I was so drunk I went outside and fell in a Benji ditch in my dressed whites. Marines at gate didn’t even look at my ID they held there nose and told me to get lost. Crew made me sleep on the dock until someone had courage to bring me new clothes — that uniform went into the deep six bin and not on the boat.”  

Benji is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison but when asked about it he suggested that he still had a hope of getting out. The way he can get out is if the federal prosecutors file a Rule 35 motion which can modify his sentence. When pressed during Whitey’s trial the prosecutor Wyshak professed there was no way Benji could be released but he knew otherwise.

So we look forward to the day when the U.S. government will tell us Benji should be released from prison which will be one of the most despicable actions ever performed by any prosecutor. Of course, a judge will have to go along with it but that will be such a technicality it’s not even thought about. My guess is that once Whitey’s appeal is rejected, Benji will be back on the street.

As for Howie Winter, the other guy hired by Gerry Angiulo, he’s facing and extortion charge for a crime committed a couple of years ago but that also seems to have gone away.  He was indicted in September 2012 for the extortion; it is now two years later and this man who is reputed to have murdered many others has still not been brought to trial.  Does that seem strange? Maybe the Middlesex DA’s office will tell us what’s up. Or, is it just another example of our federal government climbing into bed with and protecting murderers?

It seems the federals want to put Murderman, Benji and Howie back together again. Who’d ever have thought? I wonder who’ll take Whitey’s place. You don’t think it’ll be a fed, do you?

13 thoughts on “Feds Helping Reunite Winter Hill

  1. Matt et al, I would not be surprised if it turns out that the FEDs are actually writing Whitey’s Autobiography and forcing him to “sign” it as a condition of being treated humanely and getting fed. The FED version will indict the Boston Cops and State Cops and 42% of the residents of South Boston and Savin Hill, and will exculpate and hold blameless everyone in the Justice Department during the Administrations of Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama.

  2. Matt from what little I know from the books that I have read it “seems” that Howie Winter was not a killer or at least a well known killer, no? What I dont understand is with guys like Martarano, Whitey, and Flemmi around why didnt any of them kill Howie Winter and take over his operations? I am talking about before he went to prison in the haorse racing scandal/crime. Not much is written about Howie Winter and he seems like a side note even though he was a boss.

    1. Jerome:

      Before Whitey went to Somerville, the gang that was there was run by Howie Winter, Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims. It was called the Winter gang. After the Boston gang war some of the guys from the Roxbury gang who were on the side of the Winter gang started to hang out in Somerville with it. Howie’s friends were real tough guys – especially Joe McDonald. Howie was also quite tough. He’s the only guy who didn’t rat out anyone among all the others. Howie and John Martorano were hired by Angiulo to wipe out Indian Al’s gang. He was involved in many of those murders. No one would kill him or try to take over because he brought the others in as partners. They all worked together.

      Howie went to prison before he was indicted for fixing horse races. He got jammed in strong arming people to put his pin ball or vending machines into their places and got 18 to 20. I think it was in 1978 he was in prison and stayed there for most of the time we are considering in the Whitey saga. Once he went to prison. Joe McDonald fled having been indicted on another matter, so did Jimmy Sims who was never heard from again, and so did John Martorano who ran to avoid the race fix case. That opened the door for Whitey and Stevie to take over. Not much is heard about him because he was not on the street.

      1. Thank you Matt for the explanation. Since you have worked in criminal justice system for a long time have you spent some time in the presence of these criminals? If so, did you ever feel unsafe or on alert when in their presence? I ask because if I remember correctly you sometimes saw a guy named Spike O’Toole at a restaraunt and you avoided being around him. Have you encountered Joe McDonald, Jimmy Sims, Howie Winter or any of the guys in Winter Hill? Thanks again Matt. Looking forward to reading your book on Whitey.

  3. Matt:
    you gotta stop with all this negativity
    voters and taxpayers should not be telling the
    criminal justice system how to run itself
    after reading your last blog on the patriots
    I threw my very expensive Wes Welker endorsed
    athletic supporter into the wood stove.
    Down here in the whisper stream they called your
    blog a psychological soup kitchen for the
    J Edgar Hoover Homeless
    in other news Pratt was freed at serving 29 years

    Pratt Case Figure Tells of Talks With FBI Agents
    December 19, 1996|EDWARD J. BOYER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

    SANTA ANA — Confronted by a sheaf of FBI documents containing information agents said he provided, the key witness against former Black Panther Party leader Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt briefly conceded Wednesday that he could be called an informant under certain circumstances, but maintained that he did not provide confidential information to FBI agents.

    Julius C. “Julio” Butler, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and an ex-Panther, testified that he merely had “conversations” with FBI agents. That did not constitute being an informant, he said.

    Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., one of Pratt’s lawyers, asked Butler to define “informant.”

    Butler said an informant “testifies or gives information on someone that might get them arrested and convicted.”

    “By that definition, when you told FBI agents that Geronimo Pratt had a machine gun and a .45-caliber pistol, would you say that you were an informant?” Cochran asked.

    “I guess you could say that,” Butler answered. “Yes.”

    Butler later returned to his position that he had not been an informant, describing his role variously as a “mediator” or “liaison” between the Panthers and law enforcement.

    Butler testified at Pratt’s 1972 murder trial that Pratt had confessed privately to him that he had killed Caroline Olsen and critically wounded her husband, Kenneth, during a December 1968 robbery that netted $18 on a Santa Monica tennis court.

    Pratt has maintained he was in Oakland attending Black Panther Party meetings when the crime occurred.

    Earlier this year Pratt filed a request for a new trial, seeking a hearing on evidence his lawyers say points to his innocence. As that petition was being heard in Los Angeles Superior Court, the district attorney’s office discovered that Butler’s name was included in its own confidential informant file.

    Pratt’s petition was transferred to Orange County Superior Court to avoid a conflict of interest after Pratt’s attorneys said they would call Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard P. Kalustian, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Pratt, as a witness.

    Butler returned to the witness stand for a second day Wednesday in the Orange County hearing to determine if is there is enough evidence to overturn the murder conviction that has kept Pratt behind bars for a quarter century.

    Cochran confronted Butler with passage after passage from FBI memos–documents showing that Butler had more than 30 contacts with agents in the 2 1/2 years before Pratt’s 1972 murder trial.

    One FBI memo said Butler told agents Aug. 13, 1969, that he had written a letter “containing information relating to an involvement of Black Panther Party members in an affair that could put them in the gas chamber.”

    That letter referred to the confession Butler said Pratt made to him about killing Caroline Olsen.

    A Nov. 11, 1969, FBI memo said Butler was “willing to provide information to the FBI on a confidential basis.” About a month later, agents said, Butler told them that “Elmer Pratt owned a Thompson machine gun . . . and said Pratt also had a .45-caliber pistol.”

    A memo dated July 9, 1970 states: “. . . in view of Butler’s continued cooperation with the FBI, he is being opened as a [ghetto informant].”

    The jury that convicted Pratt of murder in 1972 did not know the FBI memos existed. Nor did Cochran, who represented Pratt at his murder trial. Those documents were not released until 1979.

    Butler testified in 1972 that he had never informed on anyone, saying he was “never in the whole world a snitch.”

    Butler testified Wednesday that FBI memos saying he provided “confidential information” were incorrect. He said the information he provided was not confidential because he told others, such as his landlady and his neighbors.

    He also denied telling an FBI agent that he was willing to cooperate with the bureau.

    Butler’s testimony Wednesday established that he is an informant, Cochran said outside court. “Everybody–the FBI, Los Angeles police, district attorney’s investigators–believes he was an informant except himself,” Cochran said. “He can’t bring himself to say ‘informant.’ “

    1. MS:

      My negativity? Perhaps some of what you are putting out about our system of justice is rubbing off on me. Interesting piece on Pratt. Whitey would like it since he says he wasn’t an informant – all he did was talk to the agents. I wish you kept your Wes Welker’s protection and not listened to me. I really find it difficult to watch the NFL games so I probably should not be commenting at all on them. The commercials drove me away from watching plus the fall’s the best time of year to be outside. I suppose you don’t have a fall up in Maine. I’ve heard it goes from summer right into winter.

    2. msfreeh,
      In your last few paragraphs, other than the part about testifying, you could very easily substitute Bulger for Butler, and Carney for Cochran. Butler sounds like he has a lot in common with Whitey as far as his attitude on being an informant..

  4. They should have asked Johnny if he was a “button man” not a hitman. Button man would have been the term used in Angiulo circles back then.

    1. Henry:

      You’re right. I do recall the expression. It would have been a better title for the book than Hitman. The only problem is that with the title “Buttonman” it might be placed in the Crafts Section of the Library or book stores. Hoever it may have done we among some sewing circles.

      1. I don’t know about Boston but in New York if you’re a “button man” that means you got a button in one of the five families. Doesn’t mean anything about committing murders.

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