The Whitey Bulger Murders: Richard Castucci

EvilRichard Castucci was a nightclub owner who liked to hang around with the wise guys. He was a well-connected guy and known to be associated with the Mafia. He was found murdered on December 30, 1976 and found in the trunk of his car shortly after that. The belief among law enforcement was that he was murdered for past posting bets.

Like Louis Litif, Whitey Bulger, and Steve Flemmi, Castucci was a top echelon informant in the FBI. Unlike the others his handler was not FBI Agent John Connolly but FBI Agent Thomas J. Daly. In the case against Connolly the federal prosecutors sought to show that the information Agent Daly put in Castucci’s informant files was available to others in the Boston FBI office including Connolly. Three was no showing that Connolly ever accessed the file only that he could have done it if he so desired. The prosecutors wanted the jury to believe Connolly gave Winter Hill information that Castucci was an informant.

Daly had been getting information from Castucci about the whereabouts of Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims who were on the lam. They  had murder charges pending against them. They were hiding out in New York City. Martorano had helped them rent an apartment there. They had gone through a guy named Jack.

Jack was a top echelon informant for the New York City FBI. Jack was also a friend of Castucci’s and a NY Mafia member. Agent Daly’s file showed that Castucci was slowly feeding him information about the NY City location of McDonald and Sims. Daly was conveying that information to the NY FBI office. What I found odd about the whole matter was that the FBI NY informant Jack knew where they were. Why had he not given the NY office that information?

Jack also was the NY Mafia’s connection to the Winter Hill (WH) which had been borrowing money from the NY Mafia. WH would use Castucci as a courier to bring the money owed back Jack on behalf of that Mafia group. WH had run up a debt of over $400,000 to it and still had to pay one hundred fifty thousand dollars. One thing we learned is that the WH gang did not like paying back money. We also saw they liked to hand over packages and then take them back.

They told Castucci that they had the money for him to bring to NY. When he came to Marshall Motors where WH had its headquarters they gave him the money and told him to count it down the street at Joe McDonald’s house. He went there. He was sitting at the table counting it. Whitey was said to be sitting with him. John Martorano walked in and shot him in the side of his head. WH took back the money.

When the NY Mafia called in its loan WH said it did not owe them anything. WH said that it paid Castucci all the money to give to them. They said he had been killed by others who took the money so they did not owe it. They beat the Mafia out of the money owed.

Martorano testified that the reason Castucci was murdered was because he was an FBI informant against McDonald and Sims. He said they learned that information from Agent Connolly. The Boston federal jury did not believe him. The jury not only did not believe that but believed nothing that Martorano testified to during his time on the stand.

Agent Daly would testify at the trial for the defense. He said he had no idea how anyone would know Castucci was an informant. He said he never told Connolly he was one. He did not recall Connolly showing any interest in Castucci.

Martorano is the one who provided most of the information on this. Flemmi would corroborate some of it. To  what extent Whitey was involved in planning the hit on Castucci is difficult to figure. There is not doubt that he was a rising star in WH and would have benefit from the Castucci murder.

Whether Castucci was murdered because it was learned he was an informant or because WH wanted to rip of the NY Mafia or because he was past posting bets really does not matter. He was murdered by WH. Whitey was a high member in WH in 1976 and stood to gain from it. T his murder can  be put squarely on Whitey’s plate.

 

12 thoughts on “The Whitey Bulger Murders: Richard Castucci

  1. Matt,
    I had to read this one three times and am still scratching my head saying “Where is the evidence directly tying James J. Bulger to this murder. THERE IS NONE.
    Whitey was, at that moment, officially in the gang…. it’s designated rising young star, and would presumably benefit from Castucci’s murder…as they all would,,,yeah,…so?
    Martorano (who admittedly was the one who shot him) probably was the one who owed the money to NY with Howie, had the most to gain. He could have said anyone was in that apartment with him.
    In my humble opinion…if the ONLY evidence is the word of Martorano and Flemmi,
    then NOT GUILTY.

    1. Rather:

      That’s it – Martorano. The Boston jury listened to him and the prosecutor an refused to believe Connolly had anything to do with the Castucci murder. Eliminate Connolly as the tipster then you eliminate Whitey’s involvement since he has not need to be involved.

  2. Another interesting fact…..As you say, Daly “did not recall Connolly showing any interest in Castucci.”
    Why would he, if his doings didn’t affect, or pose a threat, to his personal favorite older buddy, fellow Irish-Catholic, Southie-guy gangster, Jim?
    It is also possible that the hideout information was disseminated to Connolly and he was in NY fishing for a McDonald or Simms and fortuitously caught a Cadillac instead.

    1. Rather:

      The prosecution wanted to show Connolly knew Castucci was giving Daly information and he passed the word on to Winter Hill and that was the reason Castucci was murdered. You are right there was no reason for him doing this. The whole idea was made up by Martorano afterward so that the prosecutor could charge Connolly with Castucci’s murder. The Cadillac had been locked up years before this. If you understand the mind of these gangsters no one cared whether McDonald and Sims were captured in New York. They would have been two less mouths at the trough in the sty.

    1. Rather:

      Joe’s cousin has little first hand knowledge. Jimmy Martorano allegedly told his cousin that Joe did not like Whitey. He is way off base on the reason for the Castucci murder.

  3. Hi Matt and is it true that Sonny Mercurio brought the mobsters from New York to see the Winter Hill Gang to talk about the debt?

    How dangerous was Joe McDonald?

    1. David:

      Not sure who brought them to the meeting. Martorano presents it as a staged event to scare the NY guys. He said they told them would not pay off because their guy “Jack” was an informant. That makes no sense; at that time no one would have know Jack was an FBI top echelon informant. Also, it is unlikely the NY mob would be frightened off by Martorano and friends. NY had the top hit men in the business.

      Joe McDonald was supposedly very dangerous. He was there murdering Wheeler and Callahan and probably killed his best friend Jimmy Sims along with some others. As for Whitey, McDonald and Sims being the original guys with Winter they never warmed up to him from all I understand. McDonald had been a WWII Navy veteran who survived the sinking of his ship – he was older than others in the group born in the late teens – probably 12 years older than Whitey which would make him much less impressed with his tough guy image.

  4. David,
    I believe you are right. Mercurio was in Connolly’s stable. He also was point man for Guild St. He was a pretty valuable TEI if you ask me.

    McDonald?………….he was a choir boy. Just kidding, read the link I posted above by his cousin. Your question gives me an idea, though…..

    Matt,
    Please fill in this list-

    Top 5 Most “Capable” Winter Hill Gangsters All-Time IN ORDER:

    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.

    Thanks,

    from all your loyal followers/commenters at TTTT.

    1. Rather:

      I read the cousins story about Joe. Interesting he talks about how Joe McDonald liked to be up close doing his hits and not at a distance, something I noted in the past as being different about the way Whitey murdered people which was more from a distance.

      By capable you mean a guy who had no problem murdering another guy. The top two spots would clearly be held by John Martorano and Steve Flemmi from the Roxbury gang who were both up close killers. After them you would have to add in the guy who was their leader Howie Winter who we know was in on the murders associated with the Indian Joe killings and had to have some connections with the McLaughlin murders since he took over the Somerville group after McLean’s murder and achieved victory of the Charlestown group. It was also Howie who could give protection to Whitey so he has to be among the top three.

      Those would be the pick of the litter and the others would each have a claim to the fourth and fifth spots – McDonald, Sims, Jimmy Martorano, a made man, and Whitey. You look closely at the murders connected to Whitey and in most he plays the backup role. Unlike the top three he never did a hit on his own as best I can tell while McDonald did. When it comes to that, Pat Nee was more capable than Whitey.

  5. Dear Friends, the following position was unanimously adopted on
    September 3, 2012, during the board meeting of International CURE
    which was held in Washington, DC. Charlie Sullivan, Executive Director

    CURE’s Expectations for a Justice system

    Because we believe that…

    • No one deserves to be measured only by the worst thing she or he
    has ever done.

    • Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and have his or her
    human rights preserved.

    • Justice systems should be restorative rather than retributive.

    • There is no way to create a perfectly safe world. Expecting that
    of our justice systems leads to policies that are counterproductive.

    • Detention must be justified by a legitimate public safety concern.

    • Those who are incarcerated should have all of the resources they
    need to turn their lives around.

    • No one should be incarcerated for his or her immigration status.

    • National and international human rights documents provide a sound
    basis for ensuring that justice systems meet these goals.

    • The politics of fear should not be allowed to influence sentencing
    practices or parole policies.

    • All efforts should be made to depoliticize justice system offices.

    • Drug use should be decriminalized and treated as a public health
    issue.

    • All juvenile cases should be handled in the juvenile system that
    is geared toward rehabilitation and education rather than incarceration.

    We therefore believe that the following practices should define our
    justice systems with respect to…

    ADJUDICATION:

    Anyone accused of a crime shall be represented by an attorney who has
    the qualifications, resources, and time to thoroughly explore the
    circumstances surrounding the crime and advocate for the defendant. This is true whether the  crime is considered violent or nonviolent and whether it is resolved by trial or plea agreement.

    The justice system shall understand and consider the individual’s
    background and accomplishments, as well as the mitigating circumstances of the crime as thoroughly as they understand and consider the aggravating circumstances.

    No plea agreement shall occur without negotiations that are done with
    an engaged and competent attorney, in a manner that does not result in harm to any
    other defendant, and includes the judge.

    Anyone who refuses to negotiate a plea agreement and is subsequently
    tried and convicted shall not be sentenced to a longer term than was offered in
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    The defendant shall not appear in court in shackles, restraints, or
    jail “uniform.”

    Any action that results in the deprivation of an individual’s
    liberty shall be decided based only upon the beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

    There shall be no loss of voting rights as a result of a criminal
    conviction.

    The criminal prosecution system shall consider evidence of someone’s
    innocence, regardless of when that evidence becomes available and whether or not
    the court process or representation was flawed.

    SENTENCING:

    We shall not incarcerate persons who are mentally ill.

    We shall not incarcerate persons who are developmentally disabled.

    Juveniles shall never be housed in adult facilities.

    There shall be no death penalty.

    No one shall be sentenced to life without parole.

    There shall be no mandatory sentences, since they prevent adequate
    consideration of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

    We shall utilize non-incarcerative sanctions whenever possible. Those
    include, but are not limited to:

    • Restitution

    • Forfeiture of all gains from economic crimes

    • Therapeutic solutions

    • Restorative/transformative justice and Alternative restorative
    justice programs shall be provided to an individual .

    • Community service

    • Fines and fees based only upon one’s ability to pay.

    No one shall be sentenced to a prison term unless it will serve a
    greater purpose than

    incapacitation.

    The minimum sentence for any offense shall be only long enough to
    complete an appropriate, well-defined, treatment and training program.

    Programming shall be provided in a timely manner.

    Time added for aggravating circumstances shall not exceed the sentence
    for the basic crime.

    We shall not give significant weight to prior criminal history when
    crafting a sentence, without considering the probability that recidivism represents a
    failure of the justice system.

    Felony murder statutes shall be eliminated.

    All mandatory minimums shall be abolished.

    The cost of the sentence shall be identified at the time of
    sentencing.

    TREATMENT OF THE INCARCERATED:

    The Prison Litigation Reform Act shall be eliminated.

    Persons who are incarcerated shall have access to earned benefits
    (e.g. retiree health insurance, veterans health care, veteran’s educational benefits,
    etc.) in cases where the department of corrections cannot or will not provide comparable services.

    No one shall be subject to long-term restraints (greater than 4 hours)
    unless authorized and monitored by a medical doctor.

    Individuals shall be provided timely and appropriate health care. No
    fees shall be charged for health care.

    Persons entering the system shall be evaluated to determine their
    educational, psychological, and social needs. Every effort shall be made to address
    those needs while the individual is incarcerated.

    No one shall be held for a lengthy period in a facility (e.g. jail)
    that provides very limited programs and services.

    No person shall be held in isolation for a nonviolent infraction.

    No person shall be held in isolation for a total of more than four
    hours for a violent infraction.

    There shall be mechanisms to prevent overcrowding, since that
    contributes to inhumane treatment.

    No one shall be shackled or restrained during labor or if it will
    interfere with the delivery of medical care.

    Every effort shall be made to compensate for lack of education that
    may have contributed to a person’s criminal behavior. GED classes shall be standard and provided free by the state to all prisoners without a diploma or GED. Aptitude testing and vocational training shall be provided to ensure job readiness upon release.

    Individuals who are incarcerated shall be able to access Pell grants
    and other similar aid programs to facilitate their pursuit of a college education.

    Programs, policies, and tools shall ensure that individuals are able
    to maintain their social networks through fair and friendly telephone, surface mail, email, and visitation services, including private family visits. Restrictions shall be imposed only if needed to protect specific victim(s). Family members in the free world shall be able to visit any and all incarcerated family members. Subject to security screening, there shall be no limit to the number of persons on a visiting list or call list. At the very least, persons who are indigent shall be provided with postage and writing materials to facilitate contact by
    surface mail and at least one call per month to family or friends.

    While incarcerated, individuals shall be given responsibilities and
    decision-making opportunities. Every opportunity shall be made to utilize the talents
    of those who are incarcerated. Those opportunities may be in the form of facility
    operation and maintenance, tutoring one another, or providing public services. Where it is possible for an individual to gain certification in an area of expertise that shall be encouraged. Those who are incarcerated shall receive adequate compensation for the work they perform.

    Persons shall be paid a minimum wage with a portion going to fines,
    fees, child support,victim restitution, and savings for use upon release. To the degree possible, community

    service programs shall be available for interested persons.

    The United State shall ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention
    Against Torture

    (OPCAT), and shall set up a mechanism that will operate to prevent
    abuse and torture in the country’s confinement facilities.

    No person who is incarcerated shall have administrative, disciplinary,
    or supervisory power over others who are incarcerated.

    There shall be no involuntary interstate transfers.

    Housing shall be by consent.

    RELEASE OF THE INCARCERATED:

    Regardless of the length of sentence, individuals shall be released if
    they become permanently physically incapacitated and are no longer a risk to the
    community.

    There shall be a presumption of parole at the earliest release date.
    Release decisions shall be based upon validated, dynamic risk assessments and performance (including therapy) while incarcerated. The nature of the offense of conviction and criminal history shall not be a factor other than the impact they may have on the outcome of a risk assessment.

    Lack of programming staff shall not be used as rationale to delay
    release. Based upon validated risk assessment results, persons who have not completed programming through no fault of their own shall be released to the community where they shall receive community treatment and monitoring to ensure their successful re-entry.

    Everyone past his or her minimum release date shall have an
    opportunity for release annually.

    No one shall be denied release because of a pending appeal or for lack
    of a home placement. If the individual is not able to live with family members,
    adequate housing shall be provided outside of the prison system.

    No fee shall be charged by the state for probation or parole services.
    This is the responsibility of the state government.

    Licensing restrictions shall be imposed only if there is a strong
    correlation between the crime(s) committed and the activity being licensed.

    Anyone released from a prison shall have access to a re-entry program
    for assistance with housing, transportation, job searching, health care, and other needs.

    Incarceration shall not be extended through mechanisms such as civil
    commitment, lifetime parole, or home confinement. No individual shall be subject
    to residency restrictions.

    Community supervision, in the form of probation, parole, pre registration shall be imposed only if a dynamic risk assessment indicates it is warranted. Persons
    shall be listed on police registries only if they screen high risk on a dynamic risk
    instrument. There shall be no public registry.

    Social security, veteran’s benefits, pension payments, etc. shall be
    available to the person leaving the prison system.

    All persons leaving prison shall have their birth certificate, social
    security card, and state ID ca

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