John Martorano is a confessed killer for the Winter Hill gang which was led by James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. He has admitted to being a part of 20 murders many of which he says were on the orders of Whitey Bulger. He was convicted of 10 murders in federal court and 2 more in state courts but received a light sentence serving only 12 years in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against his former Winter Hill gang associates. Martorano was once so close to his Winter Hill gang leaders that he named his son after them James Steven Martorano and said he once considered Bulger to be his best friend. He is now considered by the prosecution to be its star witness against Bulger. Martorano testified that once he found out thet Bulger was an FBI informant it sort of broke his heart and he was beside himself.
Martorano said he first met Bulger in 1972 in South Boston at a bar that he owned along with his brother. He testified that it was William Bulger a longtime Massachusetts state senator and brother of Whitey Bulger who first introduced Whitey to FBI agent John Connolly telling him “If you can keep my brother out of trouble it would be helpful to him”. Whitey and Connolly then touched off on a long running corrupt partnership that allowed Bulger to maintain his iron-clad rule over the street’s of Boston and tainted the FBI’s reputation. Martorano then went on to testify about many of the murders that he took part in adding in many gory and chilling details about stabbings, shootings, and car crashes that killed underworld rivals and even some innocent bystanders. He described one particular hit which he unloaded his gun one three people sitting in a parked car during a blizzard , he was out to kill a man named Herbert Smith for laughing at Stephen Flemmi. Smith was killed in the attack but the gunfire also killed an innocent woman and a teenage boy said Martorano. As he recalled the incident he said “I wanted to shoot myself, but i couldn’t change it”.
Under cross examination from Bulgers defense team Martorano said he took no joy in any of the murders he committed. He said he was no serial killer because they kill until they get caught or stopped by someone else but he stopped on his own and had confessed to the murders. He said “A serial killer also murders for fun and enjoyment , they like it…but i didn’t like doing it or ever got any joy at all from it”. Martorano said he was ordered to kill and took it on as a job a show of loyalty to his crime partners and leaders.