The Whitey Bulger Murders: On the Waterfront

Waterfront-Brando-Cobb_lThe waterfront murders are two more to notch into Whitey’s belt. Some may argue as to how Whitey got the information that led to his murdering Brian Halloran and the guy who happened to be giving him a lift, Michael Donohue, in May of 1982 but there is little doubt he was the guy doing the shooting.

You may recall how Louis Litif was supposedly murdered by Whitey.  The evidence used to reach that conclusion was the statement of Brian Halloran that he dropped Litif off at Triple O’s the time he was murdered. Halloran at the time he made that statement was trying to get a deal for himself. He had been charged with the first degree murder of George Pappas at a Chinatown restaurant.

Halloran went to the FBI agents Brunnick and Montanari and gave them that story. He also told them that Whitey had something to do with the murder of Roger Wheeler out in Oklahoma. He said that he met at the condo of John Callahan with Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi and in the presence of Callahan they asked him if he would be willing to go to Oklahoma and murder Wheeler.

That story was nonsense. As I will explain in a later post Halloran was not even on the radar when it came to a hit on Wheeler. Even if it that was not true then anyone knowing the players would understand that neither Whitey nor Flemmi would think for a second to use Halloran who was known as a drunk and drug user for a hit. He would have been the most unreliable person they could have found.

Halloran also told the FBI agents that he had three attempts on his life. He said that Pat Nee had tried to set him up to be killed. Nee we would learn from Flemmi would be the other person who shot Halloran.

What Halloran knew about the hit of Wheeler came from his buddy John Callahan who had arranged it. Halloran was smart enough to know that to get out of a first degree murder rap and into the federal witness protection program he had to offer up someone much larger than himself. That’s why he implicated Whitey.

Of course none of that matters to the understanding the situation. What does is that Halloran was willing to put Whitey into both murders. Whether he was telling the truth or not was of no consequence, in either case Whitey was in the position where he was going to be charged with murder based on Halloran’s evidence.

It is the common belief among the prosecutors and media that Whitey learned from FBI agent Connolly of Halloran’s statements implicating him. Agent Morris will testify that he told Connolly about this and that Connolly admitted to him that he told Whitey and Stevie. But it is just as likely that Morris himself learned of the information and he passed it on to them. Morris would testify that at one point after Halloran was murdered and he planned to give more information to Whitey about a wiretap he said to Connolly, “I don’t want another Halloran.” Strange he would testify like that when the day after Halloran’s murder he was sitting down with Whitey having some Beck’s beers.

Again it does not matter how Whitey got the information. Agent Montinari testified Halloran had told his lawyer he was cooperating with the FBI; he said they wired Halloran and two FBI  squads knew he was wired since they had to cover him; Halloran wore a wire three times talking with Callahan. None of the conversations were productive. Halloran though Callahan was avoiding him.

Agent Montinari said fellow agent Daly had filed a report saying his informants told him they had seen Halloran talking to the FBI. The people on the street believed he was cooperating with the FBI. In other words there were a plethora of ways Whitey could have learned Halloran was cooperating and not through any FBI leak. When the government in FBI agent John Connolly’s trial tried to prove Connolly had given him the information the jury rejected its assertion. But again that does not matter to this issue.

What does is whether Whitey murdered Halloran and Donohue. He certainly had the motive since Halloran was implicating him in murders. The murder happened in an area, the South Boston waterfront, that would be quite familiar to Whitey. Weeks’s description of it rings true. Flemmi expressing his disappointment in not being a part of it also has the same ring. There are others with motives to murder Halloran but his murder for me has all the trademarks of a Whitey production.

3 thoughts on “The Whitey Bulger Murders: On the Waterfront

  1. Matt
    EXCELLENT work these last 2 weeks. I left this message in another post but you didnt respond so I will post again. Look forward to your answers:

    It is easy for me to criticize, heck easy for anyone to criticize, but after watching the Dateline Crossing the Line John Connolly trial a few thoughts:

    1. How is it possible that Connolly’s lawyers missed the deadline to submit the paperwork requesting the charges be dismissed due to statue of limitations? Did I understand the video clips correctly?

    2. Based on the clips it looks to me like Connolly’s lawyers did a very poor job breaking down what the Top Echelon Informant program is to the jury. A meticulous and thorough explanation may have swayed the jury to understand the very gray area Connolly was working in in terms of giving information to Bluger/Flemmi crew.

    3. I think you said Connolly was found innocent of receiving money from Winter Hill Gang. How is this provable? On the witness stand Flemmi accused Connolly of taking a lot of money

    4. How come Connolly’s lawyers were unable to completely discredit Flemmi/Weeks/Martorano testimony based on their incentive to lie and throw Connolly under the bus?

    5. Did Connolly’s lawyers ever air out that Connolly was a target simply because he would not give up anything on Bill Bulger to Whyshak?

    6. Were you witness to Connolly outburst against Whyshak?

    1. Jerome:

      Here I go as best I can. Thanks for the nice words.

      1. You are correct. The lawyers missed the deadline. Lawyers screw up like other people. Sometimes after a long trial lawyers want to get a break and just escape especially after they lose; or they try to catch up with their other business that they were unable to attend to. Sometimes because of that the defendant can argue ineffective assistance of counsel and get relief. Connolly being a person out of favor was not given this benefit.

      2. Absolutely correct. I’m not sure they would have had the opportunity though. The judge might have ruled it irrelevant. Even if they were allowed to get into the issue the problem is dealing with the practice in fact or what is set out in the rules. They differ substantially. The FBI had written rules saying one thing but the agents ignored them with the tacit agreement of all. The rules were for CYA purposes; the FBI was happy to ignore them. So you see the difficulty of showing how the TEI program operated in practice. What witnesses would come in to testify to this?

      3. Connolly was charged with receiving a diamond ring. The Boston jury found that was not proven. That was the only direct charge re: money or gifts. In the Boston trial Flemmi did not testify. Flemmi said they paid Connolly money but he never said he gave him it. White’s lawyers said Whitey gave him hundreds of thousands which contradicted Flemmi but offered no evidence to support this. Talk is cheap.

      4. In Boston the jury believed nothing that Martorano testified about. They believed Weeks that Connolly tipped him off but he was corroborated by Salemme – who was shown to have lied during the trial – and because Whitey did leave.

      In Florida the jury acquitted him of first degree murder and conspiracy to murder. It found 2nd degree murder by gun which shows a jury split on his guilt. The lawyers did their best. A jury is always a crap shoot. They get a keyhole view of things and cannot understand the whole picture.

      5. That was never done. It would be hard to show Wyshak’s animus. The only real way it could be done would have been through Connolly’s testimony. He did not testify. I always thought that a big mistake. That is something that a jury considers even though they are instructed not to do so. I thought he would have wanted to explain the TEI program and what he did in it even though it was not what the books said. If he did I would hope he would have had other agents in to do this. I am deeply puzzled by this.

      6. I saw some of the outburst in a video I can no longer find. It showed Wyshak’s personal animosity toward Connolly. Seeing it I thought that it was a little late for Connolly to complain; he had his chance to do that on the stand and didn’t so I felt in a way Connolly missed his chance to save himself.

      I know during Naimovich’s trial he did not testify even though he was innocent and was acquitted. His reason was he knew that he could be shown to be coming to work late most mornings while he signed in as if on time. That was the way they let him operate because he was good at what he did so they gave him slack since he had become salty. But on the stand it would look to the jurors that he was crooked even though that had nothing to do with the charges.

  2. Matt
    THANK YOU for answering ALL my questions and responding to my comments over the last few years. I look forward to reading your book regarding this whole matter. I am reading Hitman by Howie Carr because it covers so much ground and also to see what my perspective is now that you have enlightened me to so many half truths and lies. Have a great weekend.

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