§24: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Waiting For Stevie To Come Home

Stevie and Whitey
In Their Good Years

We’re now at the point where we are entering the second half of The Learning Years the period called the Full Gang Years. This begins in May 1974 when Stevie Flemmi comes back from Montreal. It lasts until the time of the Race Fixing Indictment in the spring of 1979. That indictment named Howie Winter, John Martarano, Jimmy Martorano, Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims. Howie and Jimmy Martorano stayed around for the trial, were convicted, and incarcerated. Howie was already doing time on a state charge. John and Joe took off for Florida; Jimmy Sims had not been seen around for a while was believed to be dead.

The result would be that Whitey and Stevie Flemmi would be the only two of the seven Winter Hill Gang leaders remaining standing. They would take over the running of the gang. The Boss Years would begin and continue until the mid-Nineties.

Whitey is charged with six murders that occurred during The Full Gang period all within a little more than a two-year period. The first in October 1974 is of Jimmy Sousa, then in November 1974 Paulie McGonagle, June 1975 Eddie Connors, November 1975 Tommy King and Buddy Leonard, and finally in December 1976 Richard Castucci. He’d not be charged with a murder again until almost four and a half years later in 1981 during The Boss Years. Of the six murders, three do not involve a beef with the Winter Hill Gang, they are South Boston gangsters, two clearly have the Winter Hill stamp on them and one may or may not be their murder. I’ll talk more of the murders later.

Right now there are two areas to delve into: figuring out how Whitey and Stevie became bosom buddies; and, figuring out how they became conjoined as FBI informants.

In May 1974 we know Whitey has not murdered anyone. He’s fired at  some people in the Southie dustup but didn’t kill anyone and he’s been accused of helping with some murders by driving a car, but he hasn’t fired a weapon at anyone that resulted in a death. By contrast the rest of the Winter Hill gang by this time have each murdered several people.

John Martorano had already murdered at least a dozen people. He began in 1965 at age 24 murdering Bobby Pallidino, in 1966 Tony Veranis and John Jackson, 1968 Hubert Smith. Douglas Barrett, Elizabeth Dixon, 1969 Ronald Hicks and Jack Banno, then the murders for Gerry Angiulo, Milano, Plumber, O’Brien and Notorangeli.

The newly arriving Stevie Flemmi could match Murderman. He was a close friend of Larry Baione the top gun for the Boston Mafia and Frankie Salemme who later became the head of the New England Mafia. He and Frank on behalf of Raymond L.S. Patriarca were involved in the Boston Irish Gang wars in the Sixties. He shot Wimpy Bennett in the head, the same thing with his brother Walter Bennett and set up William Bennett to be hit.  The first two Bennetts were buried but William’s hit got messed up and he fell or jumped out of a car on a Boston street after he was shot. Before he could be retrieved a taxi arrived on the scene.

When the cops had a body they had something to go on. That’s why the gangsters used to kill people and make them disappear. The corpus delicti rule requires proof of the crime and in a murder case it’s nice to have a body. Stevie would be indicted for that murder along with the bombing of Attorney John Fitzgerald’s car which was done for Raymond L.S. Patriarca.  Stevie murdered Punchy McLaughlin after two previously failed attempts riddling him with bullets in broad daylight at a bus stop. He murdered Peter Poulos who fled with him from Boston. Salemme indicated he and Stevie Flemmi did more killings during the McLaughlin/McLean gang war so it’s fair to say in May 1974 Stevie did not stand in John Martorano’s shadow when it came to murders.

Each man had at least a dozen body count lead on Whitey. At this point in time Whitey could hardly be considered in their class when it came to homicides. He’s far from being this vicious gang leading criminal but from what we’ll see later he was biding his time. While waiting he’s expecting to meet this new guy, Stevie Flemmi. He’s heard stories about him but he’s never dealt with him before.



  1. i do not agree with the words whitey had not murdered anyone by may 1974. that is your thought process. i seem to recall whitey was suspected of machinegunning someone to death in their by that point. the itilian mafia has a process where you do not become a made man until you murder someone. i think somewhere along the line before may 1974 whitey murdered someone. can i say who and where? no. also i fully admit just like with my prior thought process regarding billy bulger maybe i am wrong about this . moving on seeing in your post just how many men went away after the race fixing arrests in 1979 just shows me once again how crucial jerimiah sullivan choice was to leave whitey and stevi out of the trial. without that choice maybe whitey never gets big. as you have written many times who and how goverment goes after seems to be almost as critical as what they did. regards,

    • Norwood:
      Howie wrote that Whitey machined gunned someone but Martorano who was there said it was Martorano who did it. There is no evidence up to the time I am talking about, the Full Gang Years, that Whitey used a weapon to murder someone. Whitey was not and could not be a member of the Mafia so its requirements do not apply to him. O’Sullivan played a role in all this. As you know I blame him for the Lancaster leak. I’ve also didn’t like his action in the Naimovich case. He left them out of the Race Fixing indictment. He could have brought Whitey to a screaming halt but we have to consider what he knew about Whitey back in 1979 – however, Flemmi back then was a well known criminal.