- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2008

MIAMI (AP) | A mob hit man who takes responsibility for 20 killings testified Wednesday that he fatally shot a gambling executive in 1982 but that a former FBI agent on trial for murder set in motion the events that led to the assassination.

John Martorano said leaders of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang got protection and tips from former agent John Connolly, whom they often referred to as “Zip.”

That included information that former World Jai-Alai President John Callahan might finger the gangsters for an earlier hit on an Oklahoma businessman - a killing also committed by Martorano.

Connolly is being tried on charges of murder and murder conspiracy in the July 1982 killing of Mr. Callahan, whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of his silver Cadillac at Miami International Airport. Connolly, 68, faces life in prison if convicted.

Martorano spent a little more than 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing Mr. Callahan and admitting to 19 other murders. Now free, the 67-year-old’s agreement with prosecutors requires him to testify against Connolly.

“If I lied in any way, I’d do the rest of my life in prison,” Martorano said.

Connolly is serving a 10-year sentence for a federal racketeering conviction over his protection of the Winter Hill Gang, including a tip that allowed Whitey Bulger to escape arrest just before a 1995 indictment.

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