I wrote earlier today about the injustice of John Connolly being in prison. After doing that I had a conversation with an associate who read the blog and I recognized that my post was a little confusing. Let me cut to the chase: what makes the Florida Appeals Court decision so wrong is that if Martorano was unarmed and had poisoned Callahan while sitting outside a McDonald’s or if he strangled him while both were sitting in their bathing suits on a Fort Lauderdale beach then Connolly could still have been convicted of murder by gun. Does that make sense? The decision is really an abomination of the law. It is so grossly and inconceivably wrong running up against everything the Florida legislature intended by enacting the murder by gun statute which was to take guns away from the scenes of crimes.
For those unfamiliar with the facts John Martorano admitted he was hired by John Callahan to murder Roger Wheeler in Oklahoma which he did by shooting him in the head and then when he learned Callahan was being looked at by the FBI he invited Callahan to Florida and shot him in the head in the airport parking lot. He implicated Connolly by saying that Steve Flemmi told him that John Connolly told him they would all go to prison unless Callahan was taken out or something to that effect.
The federal appeals court in Florida upheld the conviction because about three weeks before the murder John Connolly met with Flemmi and was wearing his FBI gun.John Martorano would never do any prison time for the murder of John Callahan or Roger Wheeler. Connolly is coming up on 15 years in prison.
Two persons commented to my post earlier today go into the matter in greater detail. I agree with some of what is in the comments but disagree with other aspects. I suggest that these people who believe they are helping Connolly are hurting him. He is not going to get out of prison by trying to rewrite history, challenging factual findings, or attacking judges. For instance, I think the suggestion by Baker of the appeals judge being involved in some sort of affair with the prosecutor has no bearing on the matter even if it were true which I am hard pressed to believe. It is things like that which will guarantee that Connolly never sees the light of day since you cannot attack judges in that manner and expect other judges to give you a fair hearing.
I disagree that Connolly’s sentence in federal court in Boston was far beyond the pale. I have written that it was harsh. Judge Tauro sentenced him to ten years in prison. As I recall it was at the upper end of the guidelines that were presented to Judge Tauro by the probation department. Further, going back to that sentence accomplishes little since Connolly has already served it. The emphasis must be on doing what one can do at this point to help Connolly get out of prison in Florida.
Where I mostly disagree with Bill is that he seems to argue that Connolly’s conviction in Florida of murder with a gun was wrong. He points to the use of evil persons who have murdered and lied in the past and gained great benefits for their testimony or who have never met Connolly who testified against him suggesting they should not have been believed or used. He tells about how preposterous their story is about Connolly’s involvement. He argues that Connolly was acquitted of conspiracy. That’s all fine and good but it is water over the dam. That did happen and a jury did believe these people that Connolly was involved in being an accessory before to the murder by gun of John Callahan.
I accept the jury’s decision because the jury had to determine the facts and it determined them against Connolly. What I do not accept is that Connolly could have been convicted of the gun charge. It is important that “the gun” charge be maintained for Connolly to come within the statute of limitations. The appeals court decision upholding his conviction is preposterous. If you can slip poison into someone’s cup and kill a person but earlier in that morning while mixing the poison you picked up your shotgun and locked it away in a gun cabinet and that changes the crime then as Dickens said the law is an ass.
I often wonder how these prosecutors and judges can sleep at night perpetuating this total injustice.Time to recognize this and set Connolly free.