The G-man and the Snitch

Decorated FBI agent John Connolly soon goes on trial for murder in Miami. Too bad he wasn't here when the shots were fired.

Whitey and Flemmi insisted. Callahan must be killed.

So around July 30, Martorano lured the accountant to South Florida. The hit man rented a car and picked up Callahan, who was dressed in a white guayabera, tan pants, tan socks, and light brown loafers, at Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Somewhere near the Dade County line, Martorano shot Callahan in the head with a .22. He wanted to transfer the body to Callahan's car, a silver 1980 Cadillac, so it would look like he had been ambushed. But the vehicle was in storage.

Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002
Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002
John Connolly pictured with one of his attorneys, Manny Casabielle
John Connolly pictured with one of his attorneys, Manny Casabielle

So Martorano did what any tired killer would do. He drove to his victim's condo and went to sleep.

The next morning, the hit man removed the Cadillac from storage and transferred the body to it. When he noticed that his former friend was still moving, he shot him again. Then he drove to the short-term parking lot at Miami International Airport and parked.

On August 1 — John Connolly's 42nd birthday — a parking attendant noticed some thick, red liquid dripping from the rear of the Cadillac. Homicide detectives were summoned, and when they popped the trunk, they found a badly decomposed Callahan. There was no wallet or jewelry, only a candy wrapper, three .22-caliber casings, Chap Stick, a blue comb, and a towel.

Callahan had been shot five times.

The homicide report notes another detail: "a dime, which was resting on top of the victim's stomach (head up)."

Miami detectives knew they were onto a big case, one that probably led to the Mafia underworld. "It is felt at this time that the Wheeler, Halloran, and Callahan cases are connected," Dade County Det. Shelton Merritt told the Herald in 1982. "But it's going to take a long time. There's a lot of paperwork. This is going to be a very long case."

Merritt would retire before Callahan's murder was solved.

So would Connolly. He left the Bureau in 1990 a hero. The Boston media loved him — Connolly had courted the city's crime reporters and fed them juicy quotes for years. He posed for photos with Joe Pistone, the man who infiltrated the New York Mafia as Donnie Brasco. His FBI file was filled with commendations, including eight from a succession of FBI directors including J. Edgar Hoover and William Sessions.

During his retirement party — a packed affair attended by Whitey's brother Billy, who was then Massachusetts Senate president — Connolly quoted Roman poet Juvenal as he reflected on his 22 years with the Bureau. "Consider it to be the greatest of evils to prefer life to honor," Connolly recited in a thick Boston accent. "And for the sake of life to lose all reason for living."

Connolly then went on to thank the two people who had the most influence in his life: a local priest and Billy Bulger.

"I'm proud to call him my friend," Connolly said.

People in Boston remember Christmas of 1994 because of the nor'easter. The system began as a tropical storm in Florida on December 22 with high winds and heavy rain, and by the next day, the beginning of the fury had touched New England.

It was too warm to snow in Boston; this nor'easter was a freak winter-and-tropical-storm hybrid. But the city still suffered. Sideways rain and 80-mile-per-hour winds lashed the city. The 7300-pound Christmas tree at the Prudential Center toppled over, and a few miles away in Southie, a different kind of tempest blew into Rotary Liquors, a store on Old Colony Avenue: It was a nervous John Connolly.

"I've got to talk to you," the agent told the store's owner, Kevin Weeks, one of Whitey's top guys. Weeks, who was 37 years old at the time, was the closest thing the Irish mobster had to a son.

Connolly wore a sharp suit and tie despite the weather, and his silver hair, as always, was perfectly coiffed. By then he had nabbed a cushy job as head of corporate security at the local power company. Although Connolly was no longer an agent, he still kept in close contact with his FBI buddies and Whitey, prosecutors said. He had distanced himself from Southie by then. He was 54 years old and living in the Boston suburbs with his second wife and three young children.

Connolly's visit to Weeks wasn't just a holiday greeting. The storeowner had long been Whitey's bagman and enforcer, and he usually knew the mobster's whereabouts.

Weeks recalls that he was surprised to see the former agent. They barely knew one another.

"I knew him cordially," said Weeks. "Before that day, I didn't have any real contact with Connolly."

The pair walked to the beer cooler in the back of the store. It was "the perfect place for a private conversation since it would be hard to bug because of the dampness, along with the humming of the fans and the whirring noise of the compressors," Weeks would later write.

After Weeks shut the door, Connolly said that several bookies would soon be charged with racketeering and extortion. Those bookies had ratted out Whitey and Flemmi; the pair had extorted money from them for years.

"The indictments are imminent," he said. "They're trying to put them all together over the holidays. That way they can pinch them all at once.

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