Ex-Bulger cohort says he’s not a serial killer
Defense attorneys for James "Whitey" Bulger, J.W. Carney Jr., left, and Henry Brennan, right, leave U.S. District Court in Boston after the first day of Bulger's trial Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Bulger faces a long list of crimes, including extortion and playing a role in 19 killings. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2008 file photo, John Martorano is questioned about his plea agreement in exchange for testifying against former FBI agent John Connolly, in the Miami Courthouse. Connolly is accused of helping the Boston mob murder Miami gambling executive John Callahan in 1982, at Miami International Airport. Martorano, who served 12 years in prison after a plea deal, and who has admitted killing 20 people, is expected to testify at the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, Monday, June 17, 2013 in federal court in Boston. (AP Photo/Marice Cohn Band, Pool, File)
FILE - This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Opening arguments in Bulger's trial begin Wednesday, June 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. (AP Photo/ U.S. Marshals Service, File)
A former enforcer for James “Whitey” Bulger who admitted to killing 20 people insisted yesterday that he is not a hitman or a serial killer, but instead is a “nice guy” who was only trying to help his family and friends when he pumped bullets into victims while working with Bulger and his gang.
John Martorano made the statements in his second day on the witness stand during an aggressive cross-examination by a lawyer for Bulger, who is charged in a racketeering indictment with participating in 19 killings in the 1970s and 1980s as leader of the Winter Hill Gang.
Bulger’s lawyer, Hank Brennan, went after Martorano, sarcastically asking him about an assertion that he did not consider himself a hitman.
Brennan asked Martorano whether mass murderer or serial killer were more appropriate descriptions for him.
“You’re different from a serial killer how?” Brennan asked.
“A serial murderer kills for fun. They like it,” Martorano said. “I don’t like it. I never did like it.”
Martorano served 12 years in prison after he cut a deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify against Bulger. He is one of three former Bulger loyalists who are expected to be the prosecution’s star witnesses against Bulger.
Bulger fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives for more than 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
In testimony Monday, Martorano said he decided to become a government witness after learning that Bulger and associate Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi had been working as FBI informants.
Bulger’s lawyers deny that he ever provided information to the FBI. In opening statements to the jury last week, attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said Bulger paid FBI agents to tip him and his gang about investigations so they could avoid prosecution.
Martorano said he killed people when they hurt or threatened his family, or if they threatened to tell authorities about the gang’s illegal activities. He said he always tried to help people he was close to, either by giving them money or in other ways.
“I always tried to be a nice guy,” he said.
But Bulger’s lawyer grilled Martorano about several instances where he killed the wrong person or innocent people who were with the intended target.