Dirty Dickie O’Brien – The Criminal With The White Hat And Black Soul

Whitey Bulger Trial: Day ThreeWe’ve heard a little it about the testimony of Martorano.  How his heart was so broken after learning Whitey and Stevie were rats that he immediately became one himself or how Whitey undermined his brother Billy by telling everyone John Connolly was going to take money because Billy wanted him to see that Whitey doesn’t get into trouble.

The federals are anxious to get Billy’s name into the trial so they come up with the ever-changing story about Billy Bulger. Here we are supposed to believe that Whitey is telling other gangsters things about his brother that will put Billy in the jackpot, or at least in the headlines of the newspapers. My gut, and from everything I’ve seen, Whitey did everything in his power to isolate himself from his brother by not letting him know about his lifestyle and also by not suggesting that somehow Billy was looking out for him. Whitey was the big brother – they usually don’t tell that they need their little brother’s help, at least in my experience.

I’ll talk more about Martorano’s testimony as I go along since I hope he will be on the stand all week. If he’s not I’m going to be disappointed. I want defense counsel to take him through each murder, step by bloody step. I want to know how the blood splattered all over him. I want to hear him tell us how it was when he shot someone in the back of the head how the person’s brains came flying out or oozing down. I want to know about his dreams. How it was he pistol whipped Tony Veranis according to the autopsy if it was a gun fight?

It’s not that I really want to know that stuff but I think it is important to get it across to the jury what this depraved man is all about and the only way to do this is to drag him back slowly through the bloody mess of his prior murders. The cross-examination has to be long, gruesome and comprehensive. Martorano has to be confronted with the question after each murder: “Is that what a good man does?”

But now I don’t want Dickie O’Brien to slink off into the night without giving him a farewell word. He was in court today with a woman who I assumed is his wife. She had a tired look. The look you’d expect from a woman who had to live with a gangster all her life; or who had her husband get their daughter involved in becoming a criminal; or who had to suffer after her daughter had a nervous breakdown because her dad wrapped her up tight with criminals like Stevie Flemmi.

This father, who ironically suggested he’d do anything in the world for his six girls, anything except get an honest job and stop committing crime, had the audacity to suggest he wasn’t involved in the violence part of the business. Not him. It was the other guys – he told us John Martorano told him he was a guy with the white hat, just a guy who took betting action, but the people he was paying rent to were the guys in the black hats.

Seems simple but how do these two interrelate? Funny you ask – it seems in the gaming world you can pretend a lot. The white hats can pretend they are non violent because they can hire the black hats to do the violence for them. It’s like Gerry Angiulo saying he’s only a bookmaker when he hired Howie Winter and John Matorano to wipe out Al Notorangeli and his crime family. I shouldn’t say hired, John Martorano said he paid their expenses – there’s a difference you know.

Dickie O’Brien told of two times when he brought people who worked for him in for a “meeting” with Whitey and Stevie and it wasn’t for tea. One of the person said when he came out of the meeting at the Lancaster Street garage that he needed a drink he was so scared. The other a guy named Labate was told by Whitey that they are in the business of killing people like him. Dickie’s worse than the violent guys. He thinks because he sits in the background sicking his dogs on people who work with him or threatening to do it he’s not one of them.

Dickie under direct examination seemed to have a pretty good memory; but on cross-examination he became senile, whimpering “I’m not too good on dates.” He couldn’t remember in 1999 that he was debriefed on 4 or 5 different dates by investigators, never mind what he told them. Where he once put the blame on Stevie Flemmi or John Martorano he now remembered it was Whitey who did it. He was a good actor with his Florida tan, full head of white hair, 5’ 5” tall, the same as Martorano and Whitey, blue sports coat with gold color buttons, gray slacks, gold and blue striped tie.

I could see him sympathizing with the people whom he had Whitey, Stevie and Johnny terrorize for him explaining that he never thought they’d be like that. And he’d believe himself when he talked that gibberish. Just like he believed he cared for his daughter when he set her up running an illegal booking enterprise and put her on the cusp of going to prison except for the fact he could drum up some stuff to give the prosecutor against Whitey. He loved her so much he put her in the position where she had to deal with Stevie Flemmi who he knew was suspected of murdering Debbie Davis.

Carney aptly pointed out that Dickie would have never had to pay rent or endanger his daughter if he hadn’t wanted. It was simple enough to do. Earn an honest living. That was too much for Dickie to grasp. He, like John Martorano, thinks he is a good man. Just like he thinks he wasn’t engaged in violence.