On The Waterfront: Gangster Lies

2015 01 02_1102Joey, Joey Doyle!…Hey, I got one of your birds. I recognize him by the band. He flew into my coop. You want him?” were the opening lines shouted out by Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in the 1954 movie On The Waterfront. After Joey is tossed to his death from the rooftop of the five-story walk-up tenement house Terry says: “I thought they was gonna talk to him…I thought they was gonna talk to him and get him to dummy up…I figured the worst they was gonna do was lean on him a little bit…Wow! He wasn’t a bad kid, that Joey.

A federal witness Kevin Weeks the former right hand man of Whitey Bulger would tell us how 28 years later on May 27, 1982, he was on the waterfront in Boston. He said that prior to that day he knew that Whitey was looking for Brian Halloran who was cooperating with the FBI. He thought “we were just going to brace him, read him the riot act, but let him go.” Weeks would go on to say that he was “new to the game.”

Unlike Terry Malloy who was duped into calling Joey up to the roof, Weeks tells us he was a full participant in Halloran’s murder. He said he was with Whitey when John Hurley from Charlestown popped in to the Broadway Appliance and Furniture store on West Broadway and mentioned he had seen Halloran at the Pier restaurant down at the waterfront.

This apparently was the first murder that Weeks was involved in so you’d have to figure he would remember pretty much what happened. He testified about it in Boston before a jury twice and wrote a book about it. His story is that Whitey went looking around for someone to go with him. He disguised himself with a wig and a mustache and got in a special car similar to a James Bond car which they called the tow truck. Weeks was in Whitey’s green Olds Delta 88. They drove down to Jimmy’s Restaurant near by the Pier in their separate cars where they met. Weeks was to serve as the lookout while Jimmy and a man in the back seat in ski mask waited for Weeks to tell them Halloran had left the Pier restaurant. Then they drove up next to him and shot him along with another person in the car Michael Donohue.

Now we know Weeks is a gangster and that it is second nature to him to tell lies. How then do we decide how much, if any, of his story to believe? We do know one thing is certain and that is that Brian Halloran and Michael Donohue were murdered on the Waterfront after they left the Pier restaurant.

We also know for certain some other things. Halloran was cooperating with the FBI. He had come to Special Agents Gerald Montanari and Leo Brunnick with a story that Whitey Bulger and his partner Stevie Flemmi asked him to murder Roger Wheeler and Oklahoma business man. Halloran had been indicted for first degree murder by the Suffolk County DA’s office and was looking to escape prosecution for that murder by giving the FBI something that seemed better. The wise guys know the FBI cares little about state prosecutions if it can d make itself look good by taking down some top gangsters.

We know that two or three attempts had been made on Halloran’s life by other people before he approached the FBI according to Agent Montinari. We also know that Halloran’s cooperation with the FBI was widely known in the FBI and on the street. FBI Special Agent Daly and other agents filed informant reports stating that Halloran was known to be cooperating and he was walking around with a wire while the FBI was providing coverage.

We also know that Halloran had given information on Jimmy Flynn which resulted in a search of Flynn’s home shortly before he was gunned down. Halloran told a Boston detective just before he expired that it was Jimmy Flynn who shot him.

Those are some of the certainties that we can learn without relying on gangster testimony. Then we come to Weeks’s story about the murders. It seems fairly certain that Whitey was the one who carried it out; he had a motive by knowing Halloran was cooperating without even having to know the specifics of the cooperation. Halloran as a Winter Hill buddy of Howie Winter and others would know a lot about the dirty laundry.

We are told by Special Agent Morris that Agent Connolly knew Halloran was cooperating and giving information against Whitey. Morris said Connolly told Whitey about it. But we have to be careful with that because it is more likely Morris was the one who told him. Morris had direct knowledge of Halloran’s doings. One week after the murder Morris flew out to Glencoe, Georgia for training. He called Connolly in Boston and asked him to have Whitey come up with a thousand dollars to pay for his girlfriend Debbie’s flight down to join him. Whitey did. You have to wonder why Morris expected the grand and why Whitey would give it to him.

Accepting that Whitey did the murders, how did he bring them about? He was looking to murder Halloran but Halloran had been secreted by the FBI at a safe house down on Cape Cod. On the day of his demise he left the Cape and came to Boston. He was seen at an athletic club in South Boston earlier that afternoon; and he called the FBI from the Pier restaurant later that day. Whitey was with Weeks when word came to him that Halloran was at that location.

He had to move fast to get him. What makes more sense – he gets his “hit car” the tow truck, his disguise and the weapons and heads down there; or he goes looking around for someone who can go with him to do the job. The latter is Weeks’s story. But you have to ask why he needed someone else when he had Weeks with him. The truth is he didn’t. If there was a person in the back seat of the car with a ski mask on it was Weeks. This was a one car job; two was one too many.

What gives lie to Weeks’s story is he testified in 2002 that he went to the scene in his sister’s car and he wasn’t concerned because that would be just one of a hundred others; in his book and other testimony he said he went to the scene in Whitey’s car. Why the lie?

In the other three murders Weeks implicated himself in he always has himself playing a passive role. It would never look good to give a guy who machine-gunned down two guys just five years in the can. Weeks had to remove himself from being one of the shooters to get the deal with the prosecutors.

You can start to see the problem with much of what is supposed to have happened during the Whitey saga. It is a story told by gangsters who are following a script laid out in a book called Black Mass which was followed by the prosecutors who as Salemme said when it came to Connolly he never saw anyone more obsessed with getting someone than the prosecutors were with Connolly.


8 thoughts on “On The Waterfront: Gangster Lies

  1. That’s a very good point. He had no reason to lie, and if it was the first murder he was involved in he definitely would remember what car he was driving.

  2. Matt,

    Do you no longer think Pat Nee was the 2nd gunman? Did you recently review the trial transcripts and discover Weeks’s inconsistencies? Also, could you explain to me how you are able to access all the transcripts of Flemmi, Martorano, Weeks, et. al. testimony? I would really love to peruse it myself when I have some down time.

    1. Dave:

      The more I thought of it I have to say it makes no sense for there to be a second car, for Whitey to be going around looking for another helper when he already had one by his side, and he had to act with speed. I now believe Weeks was with Whitey but had to move himself to another car to get a deal; that was also the condition for Flemmi to get his deal by suggesting Whitey killed the women and he was just a bystander.

      The transcripts are all accessible at the federal courthouse’s public computer. I went to the Connolly trial and took extensive notes during that so I work off of those and I was at Whitey’s and have good notes from that which I rely on.

      1. Martorano says in his book that Winter Hill often used a second car, a “crash car” in their hits to distract witnesses and police. However as you point out, these statements by Martorano seem to be a device to place Whitey in many of the murder conspiracies he otherwise had no connection to.

        Weeks also said he was serving as the look-out, not as a crash car. Who knows, either theory makes infinitely more sense than Weeks not knowing who the second shooter was. I can see if Weeks was just ordered to park at XYZ spot, and to alert Whitey if he saw any police, and was otherwise completely in the dark about Whitey’s intentions, in order to insulate Whitey and the other shooter if Weeks somehow later flipped. But knowing Whitey was one of the shooters completely throws that theory out the window, and I don’t know why else Weeks would not know the identity of the 2nd shooter.

        1. Dave:

          Weeks said he went to the scene to be a lookout in his sister’s car; later he said it was in Whitey’s car. That tells me he’s making the whole thing up about the second car because that is one thing that he would have remembered.
          He says he communicated by walkie-talkie with Whitey. That’s about the worse way to do a hit using that type of device. You wouldn’t want to be seen with one and who knows who else would pick it up. I have to assume he was with Whitey in the car since Whitey would need someone else with him and Weeks was there. They were rushed. They didn’t have time for setting lookouts. Doesn’t it make more sense that Whitey parked across the street from the Pier – what did he gain by parking down the street at Jimmy’s and having someone else park there?

  3. Matt, Legend had it that they were exiting area after dining @ Anthony’s Pier 4 . The Port Cafe was on same side of Northern Ave. as Anthony’s with a shared property line. It was a comfortable and popular friendly dive. Directly across the street from the Port Cafe, as I remember, was the somewhat sprawling block sized and always well patronized Pier Restaurant. If George Washington could actually and did throw a stone across the Potomac then from the front of the Port Cafe he could have hit the Moakley Courthouse. . Such a busy and changed area, though it was teeming with activity and people then. It gives you an idea of scale though and , the dangers of reconstructed memory set by the side, reminds us that stine throwing could be as dangerous then as it is now. This is quite the brisk new tack you are taking by the way Commander.

  4. Matt, when will Black Mass ever be fully discredited to the point that everyone who cares realizes that it rightly belongs in the Fiction section of libraries and bookstores and book websites?

    Or is that too harsh?

    1. GOK:

      Not too harsh. Billy Bulger took a shot in his autobiography at the authors of Black Mass and that just increased their animosity toward him and their desire to get back at him. I believe as people get more and more facts evetually it will be considered as more fiction than true just like the movie Departed that admittedly was total fiction when it came to Whity

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