Victims' relatives to testify in Bulger trial
BOSTON (AP) -- After hearing three days of testimony from a hit man who admitted killing 20 people, jurors in the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger will soon get to hear from the families of some of those victims.
Prosecutors plan to begin calling relatives Thursday. Judge Denise Casper ruled earlier that their testimony will be limited. They will not be allowed to describe the emotional impact of losing their loved ones.
John Martorano, a confessed killer, finished testifying Wednesday after describing 11 murders he said Bulger was somehow involved in, either by helping plan them, cleaning up afterward or being one of the shooters.
Martorano is one of three former Bulger loyalists who agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against Bulger at his racketeering trial. Bulger is accused of playing a role in 19 killings during the 1970s and `80s.
Bulger's lawyer, Hank Brennan, grilled Martorano about the killings, suggesting that Martorano was a chronic liar who fabricated or exaggerated Bulger's involvement so he could get a reduced sentence for his own crimes.
Martorano served just 12 years in prison after cutting a deal with prosecutors and agreeing to testify against Bulger.
Jurors were shown crime scene photos of eight of the killings, including shot-up cars with shattered glass and blood on the seats. One photo showed a man lying dead in a heap on the floor of a phone booth.
Tommy Donahue, who says his father, Michael Donahue, was killed by Bulger in 1982, said it was "sickening" for him to see photos of the car in which his father died. Donahue, who was 8 when his father was shot, said the car belonged to his grandfather.
"To see it riddled with bullets and know my father was killed in it, it was heart-wrenching, to say the least," he said.
Prosecutors say Michael Donahue died when Bulger and another man opened fire on the car as Donahue gave a ride home to Bulger's target, Edward "Brian" Halloran.
Under cross-examination by Brennan, Martorano acknowledged that he had been paid $250,000 by a film company for the rights to his life story and could get another $250,000 if the company ends up making a movie. He said he's also received about $70,000 from a book, "Hitman," written by Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr.
Bulger, 83, was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives when he fled Boston in 1994 after being tipped to an upcoming indictment by former FBI Agent John Connolly. He was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
Prosecutors say Bulger was a longtime FBI informant who was protected by Connolly and other agents in the Boston office. Bulger's lawyers deny that he was an informant and say he paid FBI agents to warn him about investigations of him and his gang's illegal activities, including bookmaking, extortion and loan-sharking.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty.