Ex-Bulger cohort says he's not a serial killer

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm •  Published: June 18, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — A former enforcer for James "Whitey" Bulger who admitted killing 20 people insisted Tuesday that he is not a hit man or a serial killer, but instead is a "nice guy" who was only trying to help his family and friends when he pumped bullets into victims while working with Bulger and his gang.

John Martorano made the statements in his second day on the witness stand during an aggressive cross-examination by a lawyer for Bulger, who is charged in a racketeering indictment with participating in 19 killings in the 1970s and '80s as leader of the Winter Hill Gang.

Bulger's lawyer, Hank Brennan, went after Martorano, sarcastically asking him about an assertion that he did not consider himself a hit man.

Brennan asked Martorano whether mass murderer or serial killer were more appropriate descriptions for him.

"You're different from a serial killer how?" Brennan asked.

"A serial murderer kills for fun. They like it," Martorano said. "I don't like it. I never did like it."

Martorano served 12 years in prison after he cut a deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify against Bulger. He is one of three former Bulger loyalists who are expected to be the prosecution's star witnesses against Bulger.

Bulger fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives for more than 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

In testimony Monday, Martorano said he decided to become a government witness after learning that Bulger and Flemmi had been working as FBI informants.

Bulgers' lawyers deny that he ever provided information to the FBI. In opening statements to the jury last week, attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said Bulger paid FBI agents to tip him and his gang about investigations so they could avoid prosecution.

Martorano said he killed people when they hurt or threatened his family, or if they threatened to tell authorities about the gang's illegal activities. He said he always tried to help people he was close to, either by giving them money or in other ways.

"I always tried to be a nice guy," he said.