A retired FBI agent testified in federal court Monday that one of James “Whitey” Bulger’s alleged murder victims had feared for his life in the months before he was gunned down because he had been cooperating with authorities.
The victim, Brian Halloran, had agreed to testify against Bulger, his partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and others in a bid to escape a murder charge in state court, but he soon became fearful.
“He said if either Bulger or Flemmi had any indication he was cooperating, they would go to the extreme,” said retired agent Jerry Montanari, testifying in Bulger’s racketeering trial in US District Court in Boston.
Montanari said Halloran and his family were put up in a safe house in Cape Cod, but that he could not control what Halloran did and where he went.
Montanari and another agent, Leo Brunnick, opened an informant file and debriefed Halloran in January 1982 after he first offered to cooperate.
In May of that year, Halloran was gunned down, allegedly by Bulger. An innocent bystander who was giving Halloran a ride home, Michael Donahue, was also killed.
The two killings are part of the 19 murders Bulger is accused of participating in under a sweeping racketeering indictment in federal court.
Authorities allege Bulger was able to carry out crimes in the 1970s and 1980s because he was being protected by corrupt FBI agents.
Bulger was allegedly tipped off to Halloran’s cooperation by his FBI handler, John J. Connolly Jr.
Montanari, who was investigating the murder of Oklahoma businessman Roger Wheeler, said Halloran began cooperating with authorities in the investigation and had agreed to wear a wire in conversations with John Callahan, a Boston businessman and Bulger associate who was involved in the Wheeler murder.
Halloran, who had been charged with the murder of George Pappas, also said he would provide information on other crimes, according to Montanari.
Halloran was also providing information on then-retired FBI agent Paul Rico.
“He said he would be willing to testify against them,” Montanari said.
Bulger was allegedly furious that Halloran was cooperating. Callahan was also later killed, allegedly by Bulger and his associates.
Earlier Monday, Richard Evans, retired chief medical examiner for Massachusetts, listed Bulger’s 19 alleged murder victims and the cause of death for each one.
Donahue, a father of three, was shot four times, once in the back of the head. He was 32. Halloran, who had two children, appeared to have been shot 14 times. He was 41.
Callahan was shot six times in August, 1982. He was 45.
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