Bear in mind that much of the information we are dealing with relative to Whitey during his Early Years and Learning Years is coming from old men who are looking back over 30 years trying to recollect things. These old men have led hard lives and kept no contemporaneous notes from which they can recreate the past. Passing time is known to hinder memory, that’s why we have statutes of limitation. It also makes it difficult to prove what someone said happened 35 years ago didn’t.
Johnny “Murderman” Martorano who co-wrote “Hitman” was born on December 13, 1940, which put him at 71 years old when his book came out. He knew Whitey from late 1972 when Whitey came to associated with Howie Winter until 1979 when he took off for Florida after being indicted. His most recent memory is over 30 years old. Aside from his ancient memory, he was seriously influenced in telling his story by his co-author Howie Carr who had already written a book about this particular period of time. Howie Carr wrote of Murderman after he murdered a person he was chasing along with a 17-year-old boy and 19-year-old girl, “From then on, in certain circles. Johnny Martorano would be known as “Sickle Cell Anemia.” He was deadly to blacks.”
Here’s the problem Martorano faced in writing his book aside from his failing memory. He had already told one story to the feds to get his deal. That story had to put as much of the evil as possible on the person the feds were lusting after, Whitey. He knew the blacker he painted Whitey the more enticing it would be for the feds to seek to deal with him.
Understand Murderman’s evil equals or exceeds that of Whitey. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of men in America who equaled him in evil. Those who had were either executed or confined to prison for life.
Murderman admitted to committing cold-blooded premeditated murder over a period that lasted 17 years. His first was in 1965 when he killed Bobby Pallidino by shooting him in the head; his last, that we know about since we don’t know about those he did which no one witnessed, on July 24, 1982 when he killed his friend John Callahan, again shooting him in the head . What he calls “my killing spree” involved murdering 19 men and one woman.
Not only did he have to make Whitey more evil, which was going to be difficult in and of itself, but he had to make him the leader of the gang during the Learning Years, 1973 to 1979 which runs contrary to everything we knew about the gang. On the one hand he’s telling us Whitey’s a ham-and-egger and the next thing he’s telling us he’s planning all the gangs activities. He couldn’t have been both.
In telling his story to the feds, he was aided by the feds in helping his recollection. A dilemma faced by him and his co-author Howie Carr was that the latter had already told another story. They had to mesh them together so that neither one looked like a big liar. They assumed when they wrote the story that Murderman was through testifying. He had testified twice against FBI Agent John Connolly who never fired a gun at any person, is in prison, and has already been incarcerated longer than Murderman.
Howie Carr and Murderman figured Whitey Bulger would never be caught and brought to trial, after all he was in his 80s when Murderman’s book was published. So he and the truth was fair game. They just hoped no one would notice any of their inconsistencies.
An example is the situation involving the hits on the Notarangeli group. Murderman says in the fall of 1972 (this would be before Whitey joined them) they took heavy losses in their bookmaking business and got into debt to Gerry Angiulo. In early 1973 Angiulo had a meeting with Howie Winter and Murderman (Whitey’s not there) and gave them a way to make up their losses. He told them the Notaraneli group was muscling in on his Mafia bookmakers and he wanted them eliminated.
Howie Carr has it that Whitey was planning to eliminate Gerry Angiulo and his brothers. He wrote that Winter Hill wanted to control gambling north of the city so it decided to eliminate Notarangeli. He had it totally backwards. They were working with Angiulo not trying to eliminate him.
In doing this Murderman writes how they killed Michael Milano by mistake and then next went after Indian Al the leader of the gang. He wrote that Indian Al left the Aquarium Restaurant with four others. They were driving down Commercial Street when what Murderman called “the first team,” Murderman, Sims and “the guy from Somerville”, opened fire on the car wrongly killing Al Plummer who was not known as one of the gang. Howie Carr makes up his own facts writing: “Whitey was in the front seat of an automobile with an Uzi machine gun as an Notarangeli hood named Al Plummer drove down Commercial Street. Whitey opened fire, practically decapitating Plumer.”
Murderman has the same “first team” gunning down William O’Brien on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. Howie has Whitey Bulger driving the car. The closest Murderman has Whitey to any of these murders is he is somewhere driving a stolen car ready to act as a crash car in the case the cops come. It’s always convenient to have someone you want to dime out not near the scene so your story cannot be contradicted.
Facts matter. People make judgments based on them. These are just a minuscule example of the false facts we’ve been fed by Howie Carr about Whitey, and more importantly about his brother Billy.
That’s why I have taken upon myself this reexamination. So much has been written by people with motives other than to tell the truth that I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to try to put things into proper perspective. I’ll get back to the reexamination tomorrow.