Martorano Murders- JOHN W. JACKSON

The killing of Bobby Palladino let John breathe a little easier.

Body of Jackson

But the district attorney was still investigating the Margaret Sylvester murder. The DA had empaneled an investigative grand jury. Martorano knew witnesses to the murder might be pressured into telling what happened by the grand jury. One obvious witness would have been the bartender, John Jackson, who was at Luigi’s on the night of Margaret Sylvester’s murder. John could not let the only other witness to the murder remain alive.

Jackson had disappeared from Boston after Palladino’s murder. He saw the handwriting on the wall. He had little doubt that he was next of John’s hit list having witnessed the murder.

Foolishly, he returned to Boston after being away for several months. He secured a job as a waiter at Yankee Fisherman on Boston’s waterfront. When Jackson returned, he was called before the grand jury. He gave evidence as to what happened at Luigi’s. The result of his evidence and that given by others resulted in Jimmy Martorano being indicted for assault and battery on Margaret Sylvester on the day before she was murdered and as accessory after the fact to murder for his attempt to hide the evidence of the bloody carpet. Apparently, Jackson kept his mouth shut about what happened the night of the murder.

John Martorano figured Jackson was still a danger to him. He evidently did not appreciate Jackson’s silence about the night of the murder. He felt there was always the chance Jackson might flip. Now, you might think if as John said Jimmy “the Bear” Flemmi murdered Margaret Sylvester, that John is taking extraordinary and strange steps to protect Jimmy Flemmi. However if you believe John murdered Sylvester, you have a much clearer path to the motive for Jackson’s death..

John went to his friend Joe Barboza and lined up some of his crew: Arthur “Tash” Bratsos, Jimmy Kearns, and Tommy DePrisco. They learned Jackson was living with a girlfriend at 102 Queensbury Street in the Back Bay.  On September 28, 1966, they waited in an ambush for him. He came home after bartending at a little after three in the morning. John with a shotgun and DePrisco with a revolver did Jackson in.  John’s use of the Barboza’s crew points gives credence to Barboza’s statement that  John murdered Margaret Sylvester.

Jackson’s murder took the heat off from the murder of Margaret Sylvester. Jimmy Martorano would be convicted and sentenced to prison on charges of assault and battery and accessory after the fact from the incident at Luigi’s. Over a year past before we know John struck again.


  1. Great post ( all of them have been since Matt passed away). Incredible photos. There is a new book by Michael Esslinger titled James Whitey Bulger: The Last Interviews. Matt and his posts are sorely missed.
    RIP Matt

  2. Keep Matt’s knowledge of Bostons criminal past alive. It’s so valuable. And what about his last unfinished book?
    Any updates.
    Paul Mahoney

  3. Remembering Matt on the eve of the anniversary of his passing. RIP.