Bulger Day 5: Martorano Declares Himself a Non-Serial Killer

A recap of the day's events in the trial of Whitey Bulger.

So Whitey Bulger’s on trial and you’re interested in hearing about it, but you’ve got this darn day job and you can’t manage to keep up with all the live tweets. We feel you. Here’s what you missed. (Past coverage here.)

The Witnesses: We continued to hear testimony from John Martorano, 72-years-old, divorced, unemployed Cambridge resident and oh yes, admitted murderer of 20 people. The prosecution continued to take Martorano through his life story, documenting Bulger’s involvement in each of the murders Martorano has admitted to committing while a member of the Winter Hill gang. Notably, Martorano described murdering his friend, businessman John Callahan, for both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer. He did it because Bulger feared Callahan might turn on them under pressure from authorities. “I did,’’ Martorano said. “Mr. Bulger insisted on it, so I did it.’’ Adding, “we were up to our necks in murders,” which gave him no choice but to protect himself.

The testimony got far more dramatic under cross-examination from defense attorney Henry Brennan, who made Martorano reexamine several of the murders he described for the prosecution in an attempt to puncture his own justifications for his actions. Brennan opened his questioning with, “You are a mass murderer, are you not?” Martorano, amazingly, denied the charge. “Serial killers kill until they get caught or stop. I confessed my murders. Serial killers kill for fun. They like it … I never had any joy.” Martorano, who up to this point had remained oddly stoic about his crimes, seemed rattled, according to reporters in the courtroom. WGBH’s Adam Reilly, who was on the scene, summed up the defense’s successes well:

Oh we also got a little primer on how to fix a horse race. The Winter Hill gang just paid jockeys for the favorites to deliberately slow down their horses and then bet on the long shots.  Not that complicated, as it turns out.

The Defendant: Martorano looked dapper, by all reports, in a suit and a tie that matched his pocket square. Bulger, who showed such promise by wearing a shirt with a collar yesterday, is back to his “Wal-Mart greeter” look, as The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen describes it.

Safe to say at this point that Whitey does not give a hoot what the fashion police think he should wear to court.