By Shelley Murphy, Globe staff
MIAMI -- Confessed hitman John Martorano gave a jury a blow-by-blow description of a murder this afternoon during blistering cross-examination in the trial of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr.
"Can you show the jury where you shot him?" asked defense attorney Manuel Casabielle as he leaned toward the witness box.
Martorano rubbed the back of the lawyer's head to show where he fired the bullets that killed the man he called his friend, Boston business consultant John B. Callahan.
"Did you look in his eyes when you shot him in the head?" Casabielle persisted.
"No,'' Martorano said without emotion.
"How did you feel?'' Casabielle asked, noting that Martorano had claimed to be Callahan's friend.
"I felt lousy,'' Martorano said. "I didn't want to kill a guy that I cared enough [about] to kill a guy for a year before.''
Martorano, 67, is free thanks to a plea deal after serving just 12 years and two months for killing 20 people, including Callahan. He is a key witness for the government in the murder case against Connolly. The former FBI agent is accused of leaking information to James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi that prompted them to arrange the 1982 slaying of Callahan in Miami.
During his second day of testimony this afternoon, Martorano said he asked Bulger about a Boston Globe report in 1988 that revealed that the gangster had a secret relationship with the FBI. Martorano testified that Bulger insisted it wasn't true, and the newspaper only ran it to cause trouble for his brother, William M. Bulger, the longtime president of the Massachusetts Senate.
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"Maybe," Martorano said.
"Possibly," Martorano said.
"Probably,'' Martorano agreed.
Earlier today, Martorano testified that he teamed up with Bulger on murders and other crimes when they were members of Somerville's Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s.
"We were partners," he said. "We had committed a lot of crimes together. I felt he was a stand-up guy.''
There is no dispute that Connolly wasn't present for the murder of Callahan. But Martorano testified Wednesday that he killed Callahan because Bulger and Flemmi told him that Connolly had warned them that Callahan was "going to fold" when questioned by the FBI about a murder and that "we're all going to end up in jail for the rest of our lives if he doesn't hold up."
Martorano also said that Bulger had confided to him in 1975 that Connolly had agreed to provide Bulger with information to protect Bulger as a favor to his brother, Wiliam M. Bulger, who was a state senator and longtime friend of Connolly's.
Casabielle, the defense attorney, grilled Martorano about how he could trust that Bulger and Flemmi were telling him the truth about Connolly being corrupt, when they had clearly hidden their informant status from him for so many years.
"They were honest with me about a lot of things," Martorano said. "You can't be dishonest without showing some honesty."
Dressed in a black suit coat, white shirt, and maroon tie, Connolly listened intently to Martorano's testimony, occasionally scribbling notes on a legal pad as he sat next to his lawyers. Connolly, already serving a 10-year prison term for a 2002 federal racketeering conviction, could face life in prison if convicted of the murder charges.
Between the talk of brutal murders, delivered in a matter-of-fact baritone, Martorano has peppered his testimony with one-liners. Jurors have occasionally chuckled, but at other times seem put-off by the light banter.
During one lively exchange this morning, Casabielle, a slender, silver-haired man who has relentlessly gone after Martorano with questions, said, "You were a ruthless guy, weren't you?"
"I don't know,'' said Martorano. "You don't act like I am.''
"That's because I'm here,'' said Casabielle, standing in the highly secure courtroom, with a small a cadre of law enforcement people behind him. And he noted that Fred Wyshak, a federal prosecutor from Boston who is assisting in Connolly's prosecution, was present, and would revoke Martorano's deal and send him back to prison if he violates any conditions of his release.
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