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Monthly Archives: January 2013
§25: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Clearing The Decks For Stevie Flemmi’s Arrival Home
The remarkable thing about some of the books written about Whitey is how little attention is paid to critical things. We sort of jump from Stevie Flemmi being on the lam to Stevie being a member of the Winter Hill Gang. This important time that will shape all future events is given scant attention.
One aspect that has been ignored is that Stevie had pending against him two very serious charges that were the occasion of his flight: the murder of William Bennett that was pending in Suffolk County and the attempted murder of Attorney John Fitzgerald when he blew up his car in Middlesex County. Stevie was not going to come back unless he had an iron clad guarantee that these cases would disappear. You’d think that’d be hard to give him considering the seriousness of the charges.
We’re now at the point where we are entering the second half of The Learning Years the period called the Full Gang Years. This begins in May 1974 when Stevie Flemmi comes back from Montreal. It lasts until the time of the Race Fixing Indictment in the spring of 1979. That indictment named Howie Winter, John Martarano, Jimmy Martorano, Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims. Howie and Jimmy Martorano stayed around for the trial, were convicted, and incarcerated. Howie was already doing time on a state charge. John and Joe took off for Florida; Jimmy Sims had not been seen around for a while was believed to be dead.
The result would be that Whitey and Stevie Flemmi would be the only two of the seven Winter Hill Gang leaders remaining standing. They would take over the running of the gang. The Boss Years would begin and continue until the mid-Nineties.
Ah, politics. You know I avoid them in this blog but I can’t help noticing that Congressman Lynch from South Boston who just got reelected has decided to take a shot at the seat being vacated by Senator Kerry, according to some reports I’ve seen lately. I guess he is going to go up against another Congressman Edward Markey who is in a similar position. I love the courage of these men secure in one job which they intend to hold on to while running for an other job. I guess it’s a “public are fools” attitude since you can’t be doing the job you were just elected to as a Congressman while spending the enormous time running around soliciting votes and money for a new job.
The Caswell case which I wrote about yesterday points to the inability of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to make reasonable judgments. It took about a week to try the case which had lingered in the courts for three years. Judge Judith Gail Dein took the time to visit the home of the motel owner Russ Caswell and to examine the motel and its surroundings. After hearing the evidence, she took a couple of months before she came down with her decision. She meticulously spelled out the facts and examined other cases involving forfeitures in the country to compare them to the Caswell case and to distinguish them if necessary. It took her many hours and she finally set out her reasoning in a 59 page document. She did this work because she knew that it was likely that unless she shut the door completely on the US attorney the case would drag on and be appealed.
A Whitey-Like Taking By U.S. Attorney Ortiz Stopped Cold By Judith Gail Dein: Will She Continue Her Quixotic Fight?
Sunday is a day for a little bit of good news. This comes in the form of a decision by Judge Judith Gail Dein who slapped down the outrageous actions by our US Attorney Carmen Ortiz to all but steal a motel from its owner.
This isn’t a story about the Hotel California the lovely place mentioned in song but rather about the Motel Caswell which was described by its owner, Russ Caswell as, “It’s a budget motel. You know, it’s an older place, but we do our best to keep it in good condition.”
I wrote about it a while back and again more recently in connection with the suicide of Aaron Swartz. My initial take on the Caswell case was that Carmen Ortiz was acting like Whitey Bulger and she was engaged in an attempt to steal this property from a hard-working guy. I suggested that her actions in this type of case made me question her judgment as a prosecutor. This was before I knew anything about Swartz’s prosecution.
§23: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: A Reflection At The End Of The Pre-Flemmi Time Continued
On the city streets dealing on a daily basis year after year with the full spectrum of mankind one learns the necessary steps to survive. Fights and killings don’t occur because the FBI is telling street-wise people certain things are happening. They are everyday occurrences.
Here are two or three of the many things I’ve gotten almost jammed in on that jumped into my mind as I write. I wasn’t one of those guys out looking for trouble even though it seemed to walk the streets with me. I walked into a popular Ho Jo’s on Morrissey Boulevard to get an ice cream cone and happened to look at another guy standing by the cash register. He threw at me, “what are you looking at!” The next thing I know I’m in a fist fight. I was standing in a bar and talking about a baseball game with a couple of friends. One of the really tough psychos appeared out of the blue. He said, “what are you talking about me for. You wanna step outside.” I obviously didn’t and smothered him with a million assurances of my innocence.
The end of the Pre-Flemmi Years is a good time to stop to reflect upon a shockingly erroneous belief that has come to the fore in these matters. I pause now because I suggest I’ve just clearly shown that Murderman John Martorano has played, to put it mildly, very loosely with the truth. I pointed out in my book, Don’t Embarrass The Family, and here, the obvious lies Flemmi, Salemme, Morris and Weeks have told. It’s so bad that I’ve questioned how a prosecutor can justify using them as witnesses or how we have a system that requires a jury to guess when a life-long admitted liar is telling the truth.
I’ve told how I doubt Winter Hill was involved in killing Spike O’Toole. Others were after him for years. Two months or so before he was murdered he was gunned down by others. Murderman Martorano never mentioned that nor did he have him leaving the right barroom just before his murder.
Here how Murderman described the killing. He let him have it with a grease gun. Then Joe McDonald jumped out of the car “ran up to O’Toole, stood over his body, and lifted his ski mask,” because “he wanted Spike to know that he had been killed by Winter Hill . . . and fired twice into Spike’s head.” It all sounds so Hollywood-like.
Why am I analyzing these things when you know down the line that I’m going to have Whitey involved in some of the murders that he is charged with? I suppose it’s the same reason we have in our common law tradition for giving the defendant a right to confront the witnesses against her and subject their statements to cross-examination. I’m trying to get at the truth as best I can so I can answer the question how bad was Whitey? I want to know whether the Justice Department made a deal with the truly bad guys in order to gin up a prosecution of one man who has been made into a larger than life criminal by fiction writers?
§19: Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years: Spike O’Toole And The Historic Staggering Walk:
Spike O’Toole was in and out of prison. The first newspaper reference I found relating to him was on July 13, 1965, in the Boston Globe. It read that a Quincy man named John Flannery was shot and dumped from a car at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Tremont Street at 2:56 a.m. He “staggered to a nearby taxi stand and cried: “Help me. I’ve been shot. Spike O’Toole dit(sic) it.”
Dick Connolly of the Globe, another columnists with good FBI and Boston police connections wrote the next day on July 14, 1965, that “O’Toole who . . . harbored McLaughlin while the latter was among the FBI’s 10 most wanted criminals, has been marked for death since last December . . . [he was just about to be released from state prison] when he received a telegram [indicating that he'd soon get what Harold Hannon received who was found garroted and floating in Boston Harbor]” Connolly went on to write: “O’Toole . . . has not tried to hide his fear. He has conceded that he probably is number one on the current “hit parade” but he claims he does not know who is trying to eliminate him.”