Sunday Reflection – The Need For The Reexamination of Whitey Bulger

What Tangled Webs
We Weave

Bear in mind that much of the information we are dealing with relative to Whitey during his Early Years and Learning Years is coming from old men who are looking back over 30 years trying to recollect things. These old men have led hard lives and kept no contemporaneous notes from which they can recreate the past. Passing time is known to hinder memory, that’s why we have statutes of limitation.  It also makes it difficult to prove what someone said happened 35 years ago didn’t.

Johnny “Murderman” Martorano who co-wrote “Hitman” was born on December 13, 1940, which put him at 71 years old when his book came out. He knew Whitey from late 1972 when Whitey came to associated with Howie Winter until 1979 when he took off for Florida after being indicted.  His most recent memory is over 30 years old.  Aside from his ancient memory, he was seriously influenced in telling his story by his co-author Howie Carr who had already written a book about this particular period of time. Howie Carr wrote of Murderman after he murdered a person he was chasing along with a 17-year-old boy and 19-year-old girl, “From then on, in certain circles. Johnny Martorano would be known as “Sickle Cell Anemia.” He was deadly to blacks.”

Here’s the problem Martorano faced in writing his book aside from his failing memory. He had already told one story to the feds to get his deal. That story had to put as much of the evil as possible on the person the feds were lusting after, Whitey. He knew the blacker he painted Whitey the more enticing it would be for the feds to seek to deal with him.

Understand Murderman’s evil equals or exceeds that of Whitey. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of men in America who equaled him in evil. Those who had were either executed or confined to prison for life.

Murderman admitted to committing cold-blooded premeditated murder over a period that lasted 17 years. His first was in 1965 when he killed Bobby Pallidino by shooting him in the head; his last, that we know about since we don’t know about those he did which no one witnessed, on July 24, 1982 when he killed his friend John Callahan, again shooting him in the head . What he calls “my killing spree” involved murdering 19 men and one woman.

Not only did he have to make Whitey more evil, which was going to be difficult in and of itself, but he had to make him the leader of the gang during the Learning Years, 1973 to 1979 which runs contrary to everything we knew about the gang. On the one hand he’s telling us Whitey’s a ham-and-egger and the next thing he’s telling us he’s planning all the gangs activities. He couldn’t have been both.

In telling his story to the feds, he was aided by the feds in helping his recollection. A dilemma faced by him and his co-author Howie Carr was that the latter had already told another story. They had to mesh them together so that neither one looked like a big liar. They assumed when they wrote the story that Murderman was through testifying.  He had testified twice against FBI Agent John Connolly who never fired a gun at any person, is in prison, and has already been incarcerated longer than Murderman.

Howie Carr and Murderman figured Whitey Bulger would never be caught and brought to trial, after all he was in his 80s when Murderman’s book was published. So he and the truth was fair game. They just hoped no one would notice any of their inconsistencies.

An example is the situation involving the hits on the Notarangeli group.  Murderman says in the fall of 1972 (this would be before Whitey joined them) they took heavy losses in their bookmaking business and got into debt to Gerry Angiulo. In early 1973 Angiulo had a meeting with Howie Winter and Murderman (Whitey’s not there) and gave them a way to make up their losses. He told them the Notaraneli group was muscling in on his Mafia bookmakers and he wanted them eliminated.

Howie Carr has it that Whitey was planning to eliminate Gerry Angiulo and his brothers. He wrote that Winter Hill wanted to control gambling north of the city so it decided to eliminate Notarangeli. He had it totally backwards. They were working with Angiulo not trying to eliminate him.

In doing this Murderman writes how they killed Michael Milano by mistake and then next went after Indian Al the leader of the gang. He wrote that Indian Al left the Aquarium Restaurant with four others. They were driving down Commercial Street when what Murderman called “the first team,” Murderman, Sims and “the guy from Somerville”, opened fire on the car wrongly killing Al Plummer who was not known as one of the gang. Howie Carr makes up his own facts writing: “Whitey was in the front seat of an automobile with an Uzi machine gun as an Notarangeli hood named Al Plummer drove down Commercial Street. Whitey opened fire, practically decapitating Plumer.”  

Murderman has the same “first team” gunning down William O’Brien on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester.  Howie has Whitey Bulger driving the car.  The closest Murderman has Whitey to any of these murders is he is somewhere driving a stolen car ready to act as a crash car in the case the cops come. It’s always convenient to have someone you want to dime out not near the scene so your story cannot be contradicted.

Facts matter.  People make judgments based on them. These are just a minuscule example of the false facts we’ve been fed by Howie Carr about Whitey, and more importantly about his brother Billy.

That’s why I have taken upon myself this reexamination. So much has been written by people with motives other than to tell the truth that I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to try to put things into proper perspective. I’ll get back to the reexamination  tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “Sunday Reflection – The Need For The Reexamination of Whitey Bulger

  1. Rather not…thank you for your interest. I want our family members names to be known instead of everyone being referred to as Whitey’s victims. Everyone knows his name by heart and none of ours….

  2. Matt: You and I have spoken before about the suspicious connections to my fathers disappearance and death. Since you and I have spoken, there have been 5 more nameless victims all with the same MO and suspicious ties to Whitey or Winter Hill. There are so many more deaths that all of these bastards will never be prosecuted for. It seems that everyone is TIRED of this whole ordeal and has put their feet up on the coffee table after this trial. Well if they only had to live this never ending nightmare called our lives I am sure they would work harder to help other families. I am doing the footwork mostly on my own now and have written to and received a letter from Whitey in jail. I am continuing my journey to make sure no stone is uncovered so that when I die I know that I have done everything that I possibly could to help myself and some of the other victim’s families. Looking forward to a face to face with him in jail soon. Working on setting up a blog of our own for victims of and potential victims of Whitey/Winter Hill Gang. I am hearing that there are upward of 100 deaths that were suspicious and marked as unknown on their death certificates and never pursued back when they happened.

  3. Matt,

    Here’s an interesting article. There were several more I could have cited in my last comment, but time is limited for sourcing everything. Another source your readers must become acquainted with is Judge Wolf’s letters to Mukasey and Holder regarding the misconduct in the Boston US Attorney’s Office and the sham that is the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

    On a different topic, I recently reviewed some of the First Circuit’s rulings in various Whitey-related cases. In every ruling the Court assumes Bulger has already been convicted of all crimes he has ever been accused of. The rulings often read like a Herald article. At today’s hearing, Carney should be prepared for these judges to kick him around the courtroom pretty hard for daring to question the complaints and the perception of the judge’s bias.

    1. Patty:
      I’m digesting your first one and see this one. I agree with you about the First Circuit rulings. I think I’ve suggested before in the civil cases it has heard that Whitey has committed all the crimes he is accused of doing. They base their conclusions on the findings of the lower court judges who have come to a similar conclusion. You could say that all of the First Circuit and Massachusetts District Court should recuse itself having already determined the guilt of Whitey. Realistically no one on that panel has not heard of Whitey Bulger and those who have would have to admit that they believe he is guilty of the crimes alleged, at least some of them. The problem is Whitey has not asked that Court to recuse itself and has indicated that he would be satisfied with any other judge. I’ll write more about the hearing. As I indicated,the judges were very civil to Carney as I have always found the Appeals Court judges in the First Circuit to be. Such a stark contrast with what Carney went through in front of Stearn’s magistrate who seemed to take personal affront at some of his arguments. Will read your cite and respond.

  4. Matt,

    The entire US Attorney’s Office in Boston and Wyshak and Kelly in particular have worked diligently to earn my mistrust.

    I can’t ‘credit [Wyshak and Kelly] with taking down this criminal empire’ because I don’t believe they did. Whitey and his ‘gang’ were a scattered handful of raggamuffins before they were propped up by the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for use as a weapon against the LCN. After LCN was decimated, the US Attorneys unilaterally broke their agreement and turned against Bulger and Flemmi.

    Today, every member of this ‘criminal empire’ is back on the street and under the US Attorney’s protection, except an 83 yr old Bulger. That’s not taking down an empire. That’s Wyshak and Kelly creating their own criminal empire. I see Wyshak’s gang members all around South Boston and they walk taller with the knowledge they cannot be charged with any crime. Their loyalty to Wyshak is certain. It is a particularly perverse empire when you consider all the non-gangsters who were targeted by Wyshak and served more time than mass murderers…Cathy and Margaret Greig, John Bulger, Carucci, and several others. Wyshak’s behavior is not just perverse, it’s shameful. That’s what happens when unfettered prosecutorial power is used to further a personal obsession and not justice.

    In 1990 when John Connolly retired, Bulger and Flemmi were already stepping away from the rackets and into legitimate businesses. (See United States v Michael Carucci) They had made a great deal of money the wrong way (and via the lottery), but had invested it the right way…..the statute appeared to be ticking on their criminal careers, so Wyshak whipped up his 1995 pretextual indictment. This indictment was a complete fraud propped up by witnesses who were even less credible than Martorano and Weeks. The witnesses included an elderly bookie who had to testify or Wyshak promised to lock up his ailing wife, a South Boston drug addict facing a a big federal sentence, a retired bookie who was paid a million in cash, a mortgage broker who Bulger caught scamming the elderly in the neighborhood, etc. etc. Wyshak even indicted Bulger as a member of La Cosa Nostra!

    You should know that Wyshak’s grand jury sat for three years and those charges were all he could conjure. During those years, everyone in South Boston knew about Wyshak’s grand jury and even knew when it was granted an 18 month extension. The reason everyone knew is that hundreds of South Boston residents were called before it. Any guy who got caught with a gun was yanked out of Southie District Court and found themselves facing ten years in federal court…..unless they could come up with something they could pin on Bulger. As a lawyer, I heard many of these stories. This wasn’t a secret grand jury, it was a scattergun move to get any indictment to beat the clock. John Connolly never tipped off Weeks or Bulger, they knew all about it from the parade of witnesses Wyshak put in the box.

    Wyshak’s pretextual indictment served his purposes, however, because Bulger left town (and again later when Wyshak dismissed it to get rid of Judge Wolf.) Wyshak must have been relieved when he didn’t have to be put to his proof on that indictment.

    Then Wyshak set about getting an updated indictment. The way he could get around the statute on a criminal empire that no longer existed was to focus on murders as RICO charges. Like he did with the first grand jury, Wyshak purchased the testimony he needed. “All your sins will be forgiven if you can put Bulger near a homicide.” Wyshak clearly wasn’t looking for the truth because he let his witnesses testify to whoppers, like the ski mask. It looked like the end of Apartheid came to the federal court. This had to be the best fire sale in the history of US law enforcement. Wyshak waved his hand and forgave scores of murders, as long as the witness could make some link to Bulger for at least one murder. Then he gave them some cash and let these monsters loose in society. Wyshak turned justice on its head to reach his personal goal of charging an 80 year old man living quietly in in California. The only way to justify that obsession is to publicly vilify the old man and get the media on your side, truth be damned.

    While the US Attorneys Office in Boston specializes in withholding exculpatory evidence, they also specialize in leaking inculpatory evidence. And it doesn’t matter if the leaks are true, nobody can contest them and the media loved Wyshak for all the anecdotes he gave them vilifying Bulger. He fed them novels worth of palaver. Their loyalty to him is certain. So Wyshak created a self-fulfilling prophecy. The worse he made Whitey look in the media, the more mayhem he had to pin on Bulger. Why he stopped at 19 murders is confusing. Why not fifty murders? He at least should have picked a number higher than 19. That put Bulger behind Martorano’s count.

    Wyshak’s pursuit of John Connolly through the Florida criminal justice system is further evidence of his obsession that you already know well.


    1. Patty:
      Thanks for the post. I need time to consider its contents. I will do that and let you know

    2. Patty:
      Hopefully I can reply to this comment today or tomorrow. It has me thinking so by replying I’ll flesh out my thoughts.

  5. Matt,

    Nice job. This might be your best post ever. The examples you cite of people manufacturing “Bulger facts” to suit their own interests are illustrative of just how irrelevant the truth has become in so many quarters. Such falsehoods have come to be expected from the Shelley Murphys and Howie Carrs of the world. Martorano, Weeks and the several hundred other witnesses who received freedom, cash, immunity and other benefits have been given so much incentive to lie that their perjury is almost understandable. It is the Wyshaks and Kellys who concern me most. They have ventured beyond reckless disregard for the truth. They have over-incentivized men of little morals to manufacture piles of accusations against the Bulgers and John Connolly. You prove that many of these accusations are suspect, contradictory, or even impossible. Still Wyshaks and Kelly have, and will continue to, feed their purchased and phony evidence to the federal court and the public. These prosecutors have paid their witnesses so extravagantly, at the expense of society and the notion of justice, the witnesses should be per se incredible and their testimony inadmissible. Prosecutors are obligated to be fair above all else. Here they have abrogated their duties by buying a load of testimony, some of which they know to be perjurious, because they know a jury has to believe only a small amount of it to convict in a RICO case. Wyshaks and Kelly manufactured a bogeyman in Whitey Bulger and now they will make themselves heroes by smiting the dragon they created. The harm they do to society is greater than any harm Bulger is accused of. There truly “is no greater tyranny” than a prosecutor without a modicum of integrity. Who will they fixate upon next?

    1. Patty:
      Thanks. It takes me a while going over things before some things begin to click. There’s been a huge swelling of belief about Whitey based on people making things up to suit the moment. When I first read Black Mass I thought the authors did a good job, as time is passing I see they are making things up and others are following, not least is the prosecutors who have become fixated on Whitey probably because of the media and book writers skewing of the facts. You have to give Wyshak and Kelly credit for taking down this criminal empire. You can criticized some of their methods as we have done and point out how they have been snookered but I assume at the time they dealt with these guys they accepted their stories without really putting them into proper perspective because of their mindset that both Bulgers epitomized evil. I do have great difficulty with Martorano saying that he and they conspired together to deceive the public as to their deal by adding in people he knew nothing about as ones he would testify against. I’d love to hear the prosecutors explanation for that and perhaps I will during Whitey’s trial.
      The time line in the development of these happenings is interesting. As I go back and put things together the story changes. It’s interesting seeing Howie Carr and Martorano making Whitey a small time criminal and a leader of top level criminals at the same time. Logic dictates that it can’t be true. Yet they write these things knowing most people won’t catch the inconsistencies. The prosecutors need very little to convict Whitey. Some cases seem iron clad although in their overreach they may have undermined themselves.
      I’m not of a mind to blame the prosecutors for creating Whitey. Whitey’s real and he is bad dude. I’m still examining the facts to see where I come down on how bad he really was. I know there has to be considered in all of this the animus towards Billy which to me is odd, to say the least. I’ll get to that at some point. I’m highly bothered by a quote attributed to Wyshak that John Connolly went bad “because he got too close to the Bulgers.”
      You ask a good question” “Who will they fixate upon next?” It’s hard to tell. They’ve already turned patronage into a crime in the probation case picking on the three probation persons doing the bidding of the legislature rather than the legislators and judges who put them in that position. Maybe we’ll see them finding some evidence to bring Sheila Burgess and Annie Dookham into some sort of RICO conspiracy.

  6. Facts do matter. And, many of the issues that you raise relate to material facts in the case. It is my opinion that James Bulger’s aliases are facts that do matter too.

    1. Jean:
      That’s true. All facts do matter. The prosecutor’s duty is to determine the facts as best as he or she is able to do. The duty is also to disclose facts that are contrary to the prosecutor’s belief. Obviously as prosecutor’s personal bias should not come into play in deciding the case. Nor should a prosecutor have any other reason for prosecuting a case such as gaining fame or advancing a career. If one acts on a bias, then all I can say is that person is not doing the job as it should be done. But the problem is it is difficult to show a prosecutor is motivated other than to do the right job. If you can do this by showing facts, as has been done in the past, then the prosecutor is subject to the appropriate discipline.

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