Martorano: Whitey Bulger ‘broke my heart’

Whitey Bulger
Whitey Bulger
Credit: Hand out

A former mobster who confessed to killing 20 people, some of them innocent victims, took to a witness stand Monday and talked about his own heartache – when he learned that his onetime best friend and accused mob leader James “Whitey” Bulger was a federal informant. 

Confessed killer John Martorano considered Bulger one of his best friends. Martorano helped Bulger run the Winter Hill Gang, made Bulger a godfather to his child and even named his son James.

That’s why Martorano said he was heart broken when he learned that the FBI said Bulger fed law enforcement agents information.

Martorano, the 72-year-old former Winter Hill Gang member, took the stand Monday and testified against his one time best friend, because he said Bulger had betrayed their loyalty.

“They were my partners in crime. They were my best friends. They were my children’s godfathers,” Martorano said of Bulger and another gang associate Stephen Flemmi. “After I heard they were informants, it sort of broke my heart. But they broke all the trust that we had. All the loyalties. I was beside myself for it.”

Despite confessing to 20 murders, Martorano was sentenced to 14 years in jail after being convicted of racketeering and other crimes. He signed a plea deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against his former mob pals.

Day four of the Bulger trial took an extremely dark turn when Martorano took the stand. He provided chilling details of the murders for which Bulger is currently on trial.

Martorano recounted many of his murders including the time in 1974 when he shot fellow Winter Hill Gang member James Sousa. The gang members were worried Sousa was going to turn on them after he was arrested, so they decided to kill him, Martorano said. They invited him to a Somerville garage by telling him they wanted to give him money for a lawyer. Instead Martorano shot him.

“The blood went everywhere,” said Martorano, who later added that Bulger helped clean up.

Bulger, who wore a collared shirt, glanced at Martorano as he walked to the witness stand, but the two didn’t say anything or make any motions.

The 83-year-old Bulger is accused of running the Winter Hill Gang, racketeering and 19 murders. He fled just before his indictment in 1995 and was caught in Santa Monica in 2011.

Besides the murder, Martorano also testified about corruption.

Corrupt FBI agent John Connolly has been sentenced to prison for his role in Bulger’s alleged organized crime ring.

Martorano testified that Buler told him that Connolly went to his brother William Bulger, the former state senate president and former UMass president, and offered to do anything for him for keeping him straight.

“[Whitey's] brother told him ‘You could keep my brother out of trouble,’” Martorano said.

Martorano told the court that Bulger told the other members of the gang that Connolly wanted to help them out. Martorano said they told Bulger to “at all times be a good listener, but never tell him anything.”

Martorano will resume his testimony Tuesday.

For updates on the Bulger trial follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike and follow our daily live blog from the courthouse available on Metro.us.


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