John “Zip” Connolly – former FBI agent and tipster to the James “Whitey” Bulger gang – could be a free man. According to the Boston Herald – a Florida court of appeals threw out the murder conviction and prison sentence for the 1982 slaying of World Jai-Alai President John Callahan.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that John Connolly was “improperly convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the murder.”
The story goes that Connolly tipped off Whitey and his lieutenant, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi that Callahan was going to rat them out on past hit. A hit man, John Martorano, was ordered to murder Callahan based on this tip. In 2008, Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for this crime. Martorano made a deal in return for testimony at Connolly’s case.
In the court’s new ruling, it was determined that Connolly’s conviction was “barred by the statute of limitations applicable at the time.” According to his attorney, prosecutors “improperly used a firearms allegation to enhance the charge to one potentially punishable by life in prison — for which the statute of limitations would not apply.”
In 2002, Connolly was convicted of racketeering for his relationship – in particular tipping them off – with Whitey and company – in particular – tipping them about rats in the ranks and for letting Bulger know the feds were coming after him. Bulger fled and was a fugitive for 16 years before he was caught in Santa Monica in 2011. Last August he was convicted of crimes including racketeering and playing a role 11 murders. Bulger who is 84 will be serving a life sentence.
They are currently filming the movie “Black Mass” based on the relationship between Whitey and Connolly in Southie this week.