No more Mr Wiseguy — no more skirting around the edges — we’re starting to see the real John Martorano for what he is a person who described himself on 60 minutes as a vigilante being force to admit there was little vigilantism in him but sheer mindless murder.
Brennan started in on him and kept his voice calm, a quality I first noticed in him when he stood up to the Magistrate the first time I attended these hearing, and insistently bored away at Martorano making sure he got the answers he wanted. No more avoidance, Brennan nailed him down. No Florida lawyer who defended Connolly who said he was intimidated by Martorano, Brennan is standing tall and firing away at him.
He started with the 50,000 Martorano received after the hit on Wheeler. He then had him talk about being a hit man and why he didn’t like that name but asked him what difference there was between being a hitman and what he did. Martorano didn’t explain leaving it that there was none. Brennan then said on 60 Minutes Martorano didn’t think the term mass murderer fit him so he asked whether serial killer was appropriate. Martorano’s attempts to explain how he wasn’t one of these seemed to fall flat and the jury could decide for itself whether these description fit him.
Martorano went on to explain those people kill for fun or money and he wasn’t like that because he “didn’t get any joy out of killing people . . .or any satisfaction.” Brennan came back at him and said then why are you bragging about the murders in your book and why is he selling the movie right to it.
The odd thing is — and I guess you have to be a gangster to figure it out — is that Martorano kept saying “I was risking my life” when I murdered the people as if he was doing a noble deed. He’d be asked later about it and he said there was “honor and integrity” in what he was doing in killing people. No one would buy it.
He told how he was taught by his father and by “the priests and nuns” that Judas was the worst person in the world. This he explained let him see himself as ridding the world of many Judases. Apparently we are to believe these killings had some type of imprimatur from the Church or at least that Martorano was following one of the 10 Commandments given to Moses, that of honoring one’s parents.
We turned to the Smith murder where Martorano murdered Smith, a 19-year-old girl, and a 17-year-old boy. On direct examination he said he could not tell who they were because they wore hoods; Brennan was able to have him admit that they weren’t wearing hoods. Martorano then talked about them being silhouettes. He said when he got in the back seat of that car that was all he saw and he fired first at Smith and he held up his index finger as if it were a gun and pointed to his left and moved it as if he fired a bullet. He then said everything was a blur and he just fired at the other two, moving his index finger as if doing it. Martorano said he felt bad after doing that but Brennan pointed out he felt so bad that he was immediately planning to kill someone else.
Brennan did superb job showing the story Martorano told about stabbing a guy to defend himself and then taking into his car to get medical attention was sheer nonsense. He puts two knives in Martorano’s possession and none on the other guy who was smaller than Martorano when Martorano first stabs the guy in the chest. He blew away the medical attention story when he had Martorano admit he wanted to get the guy away from the scene so he wouldn’t be connected to him. He asked why he stabbed him again in the car and it boiled down to he didn’t like him “mouthing off.” So Brennan said you stab people who you don’t like mouthing off?
He also asked Martorano how many times he stabbed him Martorano answering “two three or four.” Brennan said the autopsy said he was stabbed twenty times. He asked Martorano if he saw anyone come up the street after he threw him out of the car and begin to stab him. His point was well made and he went through the stabbing story so it will stick in the jurors minds.
Brennan said Martorno testified yesterday his heart was broken when he learned Whitey and Stevie were informants. He asked if it was broken thinking of the parents of the 17-year-old boy and 19-year-old girl or any of his other victims. It presented a picture of a man who says words that have no meaning.
He asked how Tony Veranis got the pistol whipped marks on his body if he was shot once; Martorano made a gesture with his hand coming down saying I might have hit him on the head with my pistol when I shot him.
Early on Brennan made a point that Martorano never wanted to be blamed for his murders. It was a good point because Martorano was always suggesting he had no choice but to murder people to help out his friends or because others asked him to do it. Brennan kept sliding in and out bringing up Martorano’s lying and his telling other people to lie.
He ended by putting to rest the idea that all Martorano was facing was a few years in prison when he decided to cooperate. He had Martorano agree that he could have been in prison the rest of his life if he didn’t try to get a deal for himself. It was a satisfying way to end the day.
It was good we don’t have to pretend that Martorano is other than a person who murders others for no good reason, is willing to lie for any purpose, and that there was nothing noble in his coming forward to cooperate with the government.
Tomorrow more good stuff. Wyshak keeps trying to interrupt Brennan but Judge Casper is rightfully letting him go after Martorano.