Florida Should Prosecute Martorano For The Second Murder He Committed in That State

I don’t expect the justice system to be perfect — that is not a quality of mankind.  I like to think for the most part it is on the level but recognize mistakes are made.  Judges, prosecutors and investigators are subject to the slings and arrows and temptations the rest of us suffer.  I remember it was commonly said of one very judicious and calm judge who would come into the courtroom all bent out of shape that he just had a fight with his wife.  Another judge, well-respected, happened to have a favorite football team.  Whenever it lost a game over the weekend, the next Monday would be very difficult for all the lawyers who appeared in front of him.  That’s how life works.

Where I do get exorcised is when I see a great injustice occur.  We have one in the case of John Martorano a man who admits to living a criminal life which includes the murder of twenty people and is free to walk among us.  The absurd response the prosecutors make to the inquiry of “how can you let a man who committed twenty murders only serve twelve years” is that “he told us how he murdered the people.  We would never have solved the cases otherwise”.  Hearing this I wonder since when does a person get a benefit for telling of his murderous acts.

Martorano has no repentance connected with his confessions to these murders.  He said he admitted them because he feared someone else might implicate him in the murders and he’d never get out of jail again.  So when the prosecutors tell us that is the only way they could have solved the murders they are not being candid.  Others who were willing to testify could have put them on Martorano.

What makes the deal so odious is that Martorano goes around bragging that he is a “Hitman.”  A book has been written about his many murders by Howard the Talk Show Host who has elevated Martorano to celebrity status and has befriended him.  The final words in Howard’s book attributed to Martorano is his shout out to the world:  “I’m Back.”  I’m sure the families of the twenty or so victims aren’t so happy to hear that.

Martorano belongs in prison.  It’s from behind bars from which he should be heard  shouting “I’m back.”   I’ve noted before we’ve executed over a thousand people who have committed one or two murders, it’s unthinkable we have to rub elbows with a man who committed at least twenty and proudly talks about his vile acts.

What is it with the Florida authorities ,who know he sat in a car with a man and put a bullet in his head to keep him from talking and then moved the body to another location hoping to pin the murder on someone else — someone from the Cuban community —, that they’re not bothered that he sits around in their state smiling and boasting how he got away with murder in their state?

Here’s a tip for Florida if it wants to redeem its reputation as being a state that punishes criminals appropriately rather than coddling them.  Martorano tells how he and his Winter Hill group including Whitey, Jimmy Simms, Joe McDonald, and Howie Winter were hired by the Mafioso Gerry Angiulo to kill Al Angeli and some others.   They set out to do this.  They mistook another guy, Michael Milano, for Al and murder him while he is driving in his car.  He had with him a woman passenger in front and a male friend in back who was hit by bullets and paralyzed for life.   They then shot at Frank Capizzi a father who had just dropped his kids off at school who survived.  He later wrote that when his kids saw his car they were frightened beyond words.

They again go after Al Angeli this time firing at a car he is sitting in on Commercial Street in Boston outside the Coast Guard station.  This time they killed a guy named Al “Bud” Plummer a 49-year-old World War II veteran who was married with two children.    Meanwhile Capizzi and Angeli flee the state.

Ralph DiMasi was also a target of Martorano and the Winter Hill gang.   He was on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester in a car being driven by William O’Brien who was getting a birthday cake for his daughter.  They missed DiMasi but killed O’Brien.

Now listen up Florida authorities:  John “Jake” Leary was an ex- boxer like Tony  Veranis who was murdered by Martorano.  He was a friend of Al Angeli.  He fled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida  when he realized Al and his friends were going to be killed by Winter Hill.   According to Martorano in his braggadocio book, he and his Winter Hill gang found out where Leary lived in Florida.  Joe McDonald and Jimmy Simms, two of Martorano’s partners, loaded up a car with Winter Hill weapons and drove to your fair and sunny state.  Joe McDonald snuck into Leary’s apartment and as Martorano described it, “emptied his gun into Leary’s face.”  Martorano and Howard the Talk Show Host then noted sardonically:  “Back in Medford, Leary left a widow and three small children.”  Yeah, it’s all a big joke to them.

How can it be Florida — you let Martorano off for putting a bullet in John Callahan’s head by agreeing he would not do any state time for that murder — and you are now going to let him off for murdering a second man in your state, John Leary.

Remember your theory in the case of John Connolly — he told Whitey that Callahan may not stand up to FBI pressure so Whitey had Martorano murder Callahan and you tried Connolly for his murder.

This is a much stronger case.  Martorano and his partners in Winter Hill were murdering people for the Mafia.  Two of his partners went to Florida and killed a man.  That’s a lot closer connection to a murder than Connolly had.  And what makes it nicer,  Martorano implicates himself.  Isn’t it time having given him a pass on one Florida murder you brought Martorano to justice for his involvement in a second Florida murder?


12 thoughts on “Florida Should Prosecute Martorano For The Second Murder He Committed in That State

  1. Florida is inundated in criminal prosecutions including murder, this despite the fact that the crime rate in Florida has been falling for about the last 15 years. Still, the entire state of Massachusetts seems to average about 185 homicides a year and Miami-Dade County alone, with one third the population, had 218 homicides in 2011.

    I doubt Satz would do anything about the old murder but no because he fears the feds but because the evidence consists of a tale in a book that Martorano could easily deflect by claiming he was merely boasting.

    Granted what went on in the Boston area during the era that is the subject of this blog was a perversion of justice of the worst degree. If one wanted to find a working definition of “ongoing conspiracy” one would only have to study the conduct of the FBI agents and supervisors as well as certain AUSA’s during this time period.

    That said, I think having lived through this storm can cause a person to think that this situation was the norm across the USA. It was not. It was (thankfully) a very unique cancer.

    Besides having spent my professional career in South Florida my job required me to travel the country quite often. I also do some law enforcement teaching that has caused me to cover just about the entire US. Wherever I ended up I found the relationship between the local/state officers and prosecutors vis a vis the federal people to be roughly analogous to mine in Florida. There were minor disagreements and sniping but basically everyone pretty much played well together. Certainly no one feared the FBI.

    1. JHG:
      The reason it seems to be the norm is that the actions of the Boston FBI were committed with the knowledge of FBI headquarters. Over Connolly’s tenure there were several different SACs and ASACs. The knowledge the Connolly had Whitey and Flemmi as informants was known to all in the Boston office. There are FBI 302s indicating the second in command of the FBI and the head of its organized crime section were well aware of Boston’s problems. We would have known of none of these had not the top echelon informants been disclosed by Judge wolf.
      The bottom line is we really don’t know what happened in the other FBI offices since no judge has forced them to disclose the identities of their top echelon informants. There are scattered cases in other cities that resemble what happened in Boston. We’ve seen in the Mark Rossetti case that the FBI still is teaming up with Mafia capos. I don’t subscribe to the rogue agent or rogue office theory.

  2. That was not a correct summation of the Miami-Dade State Attorneys Office’s theory of the case against Connolly for the Callahan murder. In the near future I will discuss the Florida prosecution (beyond the points I have already made in the comments section of other posts to this blog)..

    Anyone who feels Martorano should be prosecuted for the Leary homicide that occurred in Broward County should contact Broward State Attorney Mike Satz or newly elected Sheriff Israel. I doubt either man has ever heard of the case. Miami-dade and Broward are two different worlds.

    1. Thanks, I would be interested to hear the theory of the case against Connolly if I misunderstand it. I suggest the case was pushed by the U.S. Attorney’s office here in Boston. AUSA Wyshak and his team drove down to Miami with a truck full of evidence for the trial. I had believed that its theory was to please the federal government. You may also want to touch upon the what gives Florida the right to try a federal agent for actions he performed as a federal agent. It really goes against our tradition as shown by cases under the Supremacy Clause.
      As far a Martorano is concerned, he’s the one who implicated himself in the murder in Florida in his book bragging about his exploits involved in murdering people. As far as contacting Florida, it would probably be a waste of time because it seems Florida already is inundated with murder prosecutions (which makes me wonder why they found time to prosecute Connolly) and the prosecuting authorities in Florida would not dare do anything against Martorano because he is being protected by the feds.

  3. What bothers people is not a bottle of booze on food stamps. It’s the corrosive effect of lots of those bottles. The legendary Boston Globe writer Charlie Sennott wrote this in 1994 about a woman named Claribel Ventura:

    “In February of that year, I wrote a story for the Boston Sunday Globe that documented Ventura’s extended family, who had come to Dorchester from Puerto Rico in 1968. It was one of the first articles I ever wrote for the paper, and my intention was to take the story past the mean-spirited debate and try to see how and why Ventura’s life came unhinged.

    There was little revealing in this story of four generations on welfare, but a lot that was depressing and maddening. In less than 30 years, the matriarch of the family, Eulalia Rivera, had given birth to 17 children, who in turn had 74 grandchildren, who at the time of my story had themselves produced 15 great-grandchildren – a total of 106 people, not one of whom seemed to have ever held a steady job. The entire family, the Globe reported, relied on state and federal public assistance totalling roughly $1 million per year. When Maribel Ventura, one of Claribel’s 17 siblings, was asked by the Globe how she would respond to angry taxpayers, she responded, “Just tell them to keep paying.” ”

    THAT is what it takes to get apathetic MA voters angry. People whose sense of fundamental fairness has been insulted can be dangerous to the people in power. Does Howie Carr take a chain saw to issues needing more nuance and subtlety? Hell yes. But tell that to one of the people who didn’t get a job or a pension in a state where the spoils are often a zero-sum game and an amazing number of the fortunate had the last name “Bulger”. Influence I understand. But licking the plate while others go hungry is another thing altogether.

    1. Sennott’s column that you point to is one of the things that really upsets people as you note. It bothers me too, very much. It sometimes difficult to try to separate one’s revulsion against those people with the need of other people who really are in difficulty and need a hand. Programs are set up with good ideas in mind but since they are administered by people they tend to fall away from their original purpose. I can’t think that the idea behind helping people in need would produce generation after generation of dependent people. I learned over the weekend that 40% of public students in Chicago don’t graduate from high school. What does that tell us about the future of America?
      Good metaphor for what Howard does. As I told another person who comments, Howard is entitled to do what he does and he does it well. I don’t like a lot of his stuff but I recognize he has good talent and puts it to good use. I think he’s ill advised in his relationship with Martorano. But reading about Joey Butttafuoco I see he also become some sort of a celebrity. Both of that is a sad commentary on America. I’ll take shots at Howard when I can because that his stock in trade so he can take it not that he even knows I exist.
      Throughout history people have gotten jobs through influence. Howard complains about people getting jobs through connections but his kids got their jobs through his connections in the media. It is a a zero-sum game in that for every job opening one person will get it. That’s the nature of the system we live under. People who run for office have to get elected. For that, more than ever, they need money. What does a person do when a person who has been backing and helping him for years asks him to give his kid a job? Say no! If one’s as qualified as the other (and being qualifications for many jobs can included lots of people) you don’t turn down your friend. Why are the lobbyists in DC or Boston giving the money they give – they may not want a job but probably something more valuable.
      As long as the government has money, people are going to try to get jobs from it. Every change in government in this country produces a huge turn over in payrolls of people who have connections. Where does John Kerry’s brother Cameron work? Railing against people with connections getting job is like railing against the concept of that made America. Thee a good book out called “Chief” It’s written by the first Jewish police chief of the New York City police. He got his job through connections. He hated civil service. He said if you had a “godfather” you not only had to do a good job to prove yourself but you did not want to embarrass your sponsor.
      The Bulgers who got government jobs are few. Whitey had one as a custodian, worked in the court with my brother, actually did that type work until he quit because the pay was so low. Jackie Bulger worked in the courthouse all his life working his way up to a clerk’s job. He was there everyday, on time, working hard like that others. He would retire but lose his pension thanks to Whitey. Billy got his job by running for office both as a rep and a senator. He got the UMass job and all I heard was that he was doing a banged up job when he lost it due to Whitey. Only one of Billy’s nine kids that I know of (I may be mistaken since I know very little about this) who got a state job was Chris in the probation department. He was a lawyer and fully competent to do the job. He lost it during the probation scandal for no good reason that I could see. The name Bulger is so vilified that it cost Chris his job. As far as ongoing influence, I don’t think there are many people who pick up the phone when Billy calls.
      Thanks for writing. Appreciate the thoughts.

  4. So far, Carr’s unscathed. We know his books are full of falsehoods. Has Carr been concocting tall tales and planting them in the minds of Martorano and his murderous associates? Has Carr been coaching or coaxing Martorano to perpetuate falsehoods? Hypothetically: if Connolly telling Flemmi to lie is a crime, could Carr be convicted if it were proven in court HE spoon fed falsehoods to Martorano? Can reporters tamper with witnesses? What motives could Carr have? (1) His long standing hatred of the Bulgers? His ceaseless attempt for 20 years to besmirch the Bulger family is a matter of public record; (2) Fear of losing his job? If Carr is proven to have reported and published deliberate falsehoods, he could be fired by the Herald and radio station. Mike Barnacle was fired for less, as I understand it. So, ask these questions: What did Carr know and when did he know it? What, if anything, did he make up and impart to jurists, prosecutors or potential witnesses? Who, if anyone, has he told tall tales and fabrications to? What are his motives in publishing and perpetuating falsehoods? Who has he collaborated with? Who has Carr’s collaborators collaborated with? How often has he or his collaborators met with witnesses or federal personnel formally in offices or informally in restaurants or coffee shops or on the golf course? Carr casts himself as an expert on murders in Boston. Has he withheld or concealed any information about murders? What promises has he made to the murderers and other felons he’s befriended? Has money ($) or gifts or favors been exchanged for tall tales or falsehoods? Carr, the chronic character assassin, has gotten very cozy with real assassins. It would be ironic if Carr’s books, columns and mouth resulted in the prosecution and re-imprisonment of some of his newfound killer friends. It would be IRONIC if his mugshot appeared alongside Martorano’s in the press; in fact, you can see it everyday that he places his ad for Hitman in the Herald, you see the serial character assassins bloated mug beside the real assassins bloated mug. The two fatsos, one from Milton, one from Maine. Birds of a feather!

    1. The First Amendment doesn’t require people to refrain from having a point of view even if it is full of falsehoods. It also allows people to associate with whom they please. The way to fight back is to try to get your own writings out there, as you have written you have done, and see what the market place thinks of each person’s position. The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee any specific audience. If President Obama comes to Boston and speaks at the Hatch Shell I’d expect a crowd commensurate with the Fourth of July group would appear. If I spoke, a few of the hang-arounders would listen for a minute or two and wander off.
      Howard has a couple of good audiences in the paper and the radio. He appeals to the begrudgers. He does a good job beating up on people. He serves a purpose although I don’t agree with many of his ideas. Most people stuck in the car on the commute home listen to him because he provides entertainment – he’s making good money of his gig. I daresay he has not come near doing anything criminal. He may have evidence from some of the people he has befriended that may require him to testify in some forum or other.
      That’s the beauty of America — it gives us a chance to speak back to power and money. Nothing more. It does not protect us from ideas or the words from people we don’t like. Fight those whose speech you don’t like by speaking back. Let Howard have his fun ringing his bell and filling his pockets and vacationing in a high priced resort in Florida while his audience gleefully listens to him complaining that some guy bought a bottle of booze with food stamps.

  5. Were that done, a grand jury in Florida might be very interested in hearing everything Howard Carr has learnd from John Martorano and his murderous associates about murders and accessories to murder. If Boston College must disclose its information about alleged former IRA “killers”, why does Carr get a free pass on keeping secret the info he culls from killers in the Boston area and their associates and accessories?

    1. No one has given Howard a free pass. I expect he will be subpoenaed to be a witness for the defense in Whitey’s trial or by any other authorities looking into events relating to Martorano.

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