Confessed hitman John Martorano, who has admitted killing 20 people, told a Boston court today that he was testifying against his alleged former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger because "it broke my heart" to discover Bulger was an FBI informant.
Some of Martorano's victims were innocent bystanders. One man was mistakenly murdered because he drove the same kind of car as the intended victim.
Today, he is a federal witness against Bulger, accused of being the head of the Winter Hill Gang and responsible for 19 murders.
The aging hitman, Martorano, 72, told the court that he was heart broken when he found out that Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi were working for the FBI at the same time they allegedly oversaw Boston's rackets. Martorano testified that he named his youngest son, James Stephen, after the his two criminal cohorts.
"They were my partners in crime, my best friends, my children's godfathers," Martorano told the Boston court today.
"When I heard they were informants, it sort of broke my heart. They broke all trust that we had and loyalties," Martorano testified, facing Bulger for the first time since the accused Boston mob boss fled Massachusetts 18 years ago after being tipped off about a federal indictment by rogue FBI agent John Connolly.
Martorano also testified against Connolly, who is serving a life sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshack spent the morning recalling murders that Martorano was involved with and the methods used, and introducing Martorano's job lingo including "boilers" for stolen cars and "greasers" for machine guns.
Martorano also explained to the court why he -- and allegedly Bulger -- resorted to murder so frequently.
"We had a lot of problems with people. And you know, you just killed them before they kill you. It's kill or get killed at times," Martorano testified.
The confessed hitman testified over and over to questions from Wyshak that went along the lines of, "What did you do?" and "I shot him."
Sometimes Wyshak asked "where" and Martorano would answer, "In the heart" or with a "broadside," which was described as chasing a moving vehicle with two shooters firing machine guns at the occupants.
After one murder, the body of the victim was in the trunk of a "boiler," but the vehicle was stolen by teenager while the corpse was still inside.
To commit another murder Martorano testified that he got the address of a phone booth from the phone company after he called a supervisor of the company and said that he was supposed to pick up his kid, but that his son had run out of change before he could get the address.
Martorano was so proficient he would simply shoot a man, then call in underlings to "come in and bury him somewhere." After the murder of James Souza, for example, Martorano testified that he "went home to clean up."
"The blood was everywhere," he said.
Evidence photos included bullet-riddled cars and phone booths and a dead body displayed in a morgue. There was also testimony about a corrupt Massachusetts state police lieutenant who tipped off the Winter Hill gang to wiretaps and how Martorano would drop off $1,000 at a Holiday Inn on the Charlestown/Somerville line.
"We would look at the list of the people whose phones he was bugging. If they weren't with us, we didn't say nothing. If they were with us, we told him to go around them or something," he said.