Nightclub owner Richard Castucci had made a lot of mistakes in his life, but his biggest would prove to be too trusting of an FBI agent who grew up in South Boston.
Castucci was 48 and a father of four when he went to the FBI and said he had information on accused Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's alleged criminal activities. Castucci's information made its way to FBI agent John Connolly, who had been nicknamed "Zip" by Bulger and his Winter Hill gang because the lawman shared the same South Boston zip code as the Bulger clan.
"Whitey came and told us Zip Connolly told him Richie was in there," John Martorano told the court today in his second day of testimony in Bulger's federal trial on 19 murders. Monday was the first time Martorano saw Bulger since 1982. He told the court that he was once so close to Bulger that he named his youngest son after him.
Bulger told Martorano and another Winter Hill gang associate, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, that Castucci had to go, Martorano testified today. "We decided to take Richie out," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak asked Martorano to clarify. "You decided to murder Mr. Castucci?"
"Yeah," Martorano answered. "Once we made the decision we called Richie up and told him to come over."
Castucci was driven to the Somerville, Mass., garage that acted as the Winter Hill gang's headquarters, Martorano told the court. There, Castucci and Bulger sat at a table "counting money."
Martorano came into the kitchen and pulled his favorite gun, a snub-nose .38 revolver, from his pocket. He told the court he liked to carry a snub-nose .38 because he could easily slip it in and out of his pocket.
Castucci never saw it coming. "I walked around to the side of Mr. Castucci," Martorano told the court. He then pointed his finger at his forehead and continued. "I shot him in the temple. Stevie and Whitey cleaned it up."
The cleanup involved stuffing Castucci's body into a sleeping bag which was then put in the trunk of his own Cadillac which was abandoned behind an apartment complex not far from the nightclub the victim owned, he testified. It was winter, 1976 and by the time Castucci's car was finally discovered it was buried in nearly four feet of snow. And his body was frozen solid.
An evidence photo of Castucci's icy remains in the trunk of his car with the sleeping bag zipped up to his chin was entered into evidence along with another picture of hole in the victim's right temple.
"I shot the guy," Martorano told the court. "Whitey was with me."
Bulger's relationship with John "Zip" Connolly helped the Winter Hill gang more than once, Martorano testified. "We were told things."
In 1982, Bulger warned Martorano about a pending indictment connected to fixing horse races. Martorano decided he "was going to go away for six months and have a vacation," he testified.
That conversation would be Martorano's last face-to-face contact with Bulger until his testimony this week in a South Boston federal courthouse. But even if Martorano and Bulger didn't see each other, Martorano said he would still kill for his boss.
"I didn't enjoy killing anybody. I enjoyed helping a friend if I could," Martorano told the court.