Bulger Abuses Power; Connolly Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder

Posted on March 19, 2018 by

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John Joseph Connolly, Jr., was one of Boston’s former FBI agents, who grew up in the Old Harbor housing project of South Boston with former Winter Hill Gang mob boss, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. He was born 1 August 1940.

During his time growing up in the projects, he became friends with William ‘Billy’ Bulger, the younger brother of the notorious criminal, who became a politician, while his brother rose from a small-time gangster to one of South Boston.

Before joining the FBI in 1968, he graduated Boston College with an undergraduate degree, took classes at Suffolk Law School (but did not receive a law degree), and worked as a high school teacher.

When he joined the FBI, he worked in Baltimore, San Francisco, and New York City, only transferring back to Boston after arresting the prominent Mafia figure, Frank Salemme. During this time period, the Boston division was adamant about bringing out the Mafia and in 1975.  Connolly met up with Bulger to persuade him to sign up as one of the FBI’s informants against the Italian Mafia.

Connolly recieved numerous praises after he caught members of the Patriarca family and New England Italian mob underboss Gennaro Angiulo, based on the intel from Bulger and Flemmi. He retired in 1990 and began a corporate job.     

“We did what we had to do to complete our mission, which was the destruction of a New England crime family, an international crime cartel. And we were successful. We destroyed the Angiulos in exchange for a gang of two, Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi. Who wouldn’t make that deal?” Connolly said.

Any time that someone stepped forward to provide information against Connolly’s prized informant, according to Biography.com, Connolly would do everything he could to slam down that information and declare it false.

During Connolly’s time in the FBI, Bulger kept climbing the totem pole of the Boston crime world, which should have alarmed law enforcement that, while he may have been one of their star informants, he was rising to kingpin status.

According to Biography.com, “At subsequent hearings in 1998, details about Connolly’s dealings with Flemmi and Whitey were unveiled. A parade of witnesses — including Connolly’s former supervisor, who’d been granted immunity for his own illegal actions — testified that Connolly had protected Whitey from investigations, engaged in bribery and regularly passed information to the gangster. When Connolly was called to testify, he invoked his right against self-incrimination.”

By 1999, Connolly was arrested. He was convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent in 2002.  He was given a 10-year sentence for those charges. 

He was later indicted in 2005 for the murder of the president of World Jai-Alai John Callahan in 1982. Connolly informed Bulger that Callahan might testify against him, and so Bulger ordered a hit man to kill him. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to forty years in prison. He tried to appeal his conviction, but it was overturned in 2014 because “a panel of judges ruled that even though Connolly had been wearing his service weapon when he talked to Whitey, that did not qualify his crime for firearm involvement, and therefore the statute of limitations for second-degree murder had passed,” Biography.com said.

Bulger fled after Connolly warned him in advance. For sixteen years, he was on the run, until he was caught on 22 June 2011, in Santa Monica, California, after an anonymous tip led the FBI to his and his girlfriend Catherine Greig’s apartment.

He will be spending the rest of his life in prison without parole, and Connolly is said to be released in 2039 on parole, according to The Boston Globe.