Reporting Jim Armstrong
BOSTON (CBS) – James “Whitey” Bulger arrived at federal court first thing Tuesday morning, prepared to spend four hours staring straight ahead. He went out of his way never to make eye contact with his former best friend, on the witness stand, five feet away.
Confessed killer John Martorano was once so close to Bulger, he asked Whitey to be his son’s godfather. Prosecutors showed the jury a photo of Bulger holding the infant at his christening.
But now, Martarano’s testifying against his old friend. As the jury saw picture after picture of Martarano’s murders, he said Bulger was often the one who called the shots. When John Martorano killed, he said, he did it on orders.
“I didn’t enjoy killing anybody,” he told the jury. “I enjoyed helping a friend if I could. I would rather be considered a vigilante than a serial killer.”
Martorano also described how Bulger reinvigorated Winter Hill’s money making operations, collecting money from anyone doing illegal business in Southie.
But under cross examination, he was much less steady as one of Bulger’s defense lawyers, Hank Brennan, hammered him.
This was a typical exchange:
Martorano: “I always tried to help people too. I always tried to be a nice guy.”
Brennan: “Give us an example.”
Martorano: “I don’t have any offhand.”
Martorano did show remorse on his second day on the stand, when talking about how he killed his friend, John Callahan, on the orders of Jim Bulger and Steve Flemmi. The pair thought Callahan was going to rat on them. Martorano says he felt awful killing his friend, but that Bulger and Flemmi were good to him, so he had to.
“I went along with Mr. Bulger and Mr. Flemmi,” explained Martorano, “because they were my partners.”