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Tag: Mafia

Famed Mobster Jerry Tillinghast dies at Age 75

Jerry Tillinghast, via Adult Correctional Institutions.

By Steve Neavling

Convicted mobster Jerry Tillinghast, who wrote a book about his life after spending nearly 30 years in prison, has died. 

He was 75. 

The Providence Journal reports that Tillinghast had been battling several illnesses.

Tillinghast was an enforcer for the Patriarca crime family in the 1960s and 1970s and wreaked havoc in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He also was accused of participating in the infamous Bonded Vault heist in Providence in 1975. 

He was later convicted of killing mob loan shark George Basmajian in 1978. He was arrested less than an hour later at a Providence bar. 

When Tillinghast was 39 years old in 1985, he was stabbed in the neck in a maximum security prison. 

In 2005, he was paroled. 

While out of prison, Tillinghast wrote a book titled “Choices: You Make ‘em You Own ‘em” that was released in 2018.

Disgraced FBI Agent John Connolly Remains Free of Jail After Living Longer Than Expected

By Steve Neavling

When disgraced former FBI agent John Connolly was released from prison in February 2021, he was expected to live about another year. 

On Thursday, the one-year anniversary of his release, Connolly was still alive and living in Massachusetts. 

Even though his one-year medical break from prison is over, he will remain free unless he “violated conditions of his medical release,” a spokesman for the Florida Commission on Offender Review told the Boston Herald.

Connolly, who has multiple melanomas and diabetes, was granted a medical release by a 2-1 vote of the commission.  

“There is nothing in his conditions that state surviving (more than a year) is a violation,” Angela Meredith from the Florida commission said. “I have no more updates on the case.”

Connolly had been serving a 40-year sentence for working with mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger. 

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018. 

Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Gets Ok for Release From Prison For Medical Reasons

By Steve Neavling

John Connolly, the disgraced former FBI agent who was sentenced to 40 years behind bars for working with mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, will be released from prison after his lawyers said he has terminal cancer. 

The Florida Commission on Offender Review voted 2 to 1 to grant Connolly’s request for medical release on Wednesday. 

“We are pleased,” his attorney James E. McDonald told CNN. “John is 80 years old, he has cancer, and from my perspective, he’s been wrongfully convicted. Which is why I’ve been representing him for free for 15 years.”

Connolly’s release date has not been set yet, but McDonald said he expects him to be released as early as Friday.

In requesting the medical release, another of Connolly’s lawyer, Peter Mullane, said Connolly has “two serious illnesses.”

“He has multiple melanomas and pretty bad diabetes,” Mullane. 

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018. 

Disgraced Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Wants Released from Jail Because of Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent John Connolly, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for assisting notorious gangster “Whitey” Bulger, is asking to be freed from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 79-year-old “suffers from multiple severe medical conditions, poses no threat to the public safety, and seeks release to protect him from contracting the novel coronavirus,” his attorneys wrote to a Florida judge this week, The Miami Herald reports.

His lawyers say Connolly would live with his brother in Florida and serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement.

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office does not want Connolly to be released.

“He deserves to remain behind bars,” State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle told The Miami Herald. “He was an FBI agent who used his badge to give information that led to the death of an informant. It’s reprehensible.”

The former agent is asking that he be allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement.

Retired DEA Agent Accused of Helping Drug Traffickers in Exchange for $250K

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired DEA agent is accused of accepting $250,000 in bribes to protect drug traffickers that he believed had ties to “Italian organized crime.”

Joseph Bongiovanni, 55, was charged with 11 counts in a federal case that alleges he took bribes from at least 2008 until he retired in February, Buffalo Law Journal reports, citing the indictment.

The Tonawanda, N.Y., resident faces up to life in prison on a drug conspiracy charge.

The indictment alleges Bongiovanni shared inside DEA information with his friends and associates who dealt large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutors say he lied to the DEA, hid information from the agency and dissuaded colleagues from investigating the drug traffickers.

Journalist Who Exposed ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ties with FBI Dies

One of the books co-written by Gerald O’Neill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gerald M. O’Neill, an intrepid Boston Globe journalist who helped expose mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant, has died.

He was 76.

O’Neill was a longtime investigative reporter and editor for the newspaper’s Spotlight Team when he revealed in 1988 that Bulger was killing people while snitching for the FBI. At the time, the bureau was protecting the murderous crime boss.

“That stopped time in Boston,” Stephen A. Kurkjian, one of the original Spotlight reporters, told New York Times for an obit.

Kurkjian said the FBI told the Globe its information was erroneous and would embarrass the newspaper if it dropped the bombshell report. But editors stood behind O’Neill’s investigative work and published the story. After all, O’Neill had valuable sources within the FBI.

“It was a nerve-racking moment,” Dick Lehr, a Spotlight reporter who worked on the series with Mr. O’Neill, told the Times.

A decade later, the FBI finally admitted publicly that O’Neill and his team was right – Bulger was an FBI informant.

O’Neill and Lehr wrote two books about Bulger. One of them, “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal,” which was published in 2000, was turned into a 2015 movie in which Johnny Depp starred as Bulger.

O’Neill died at his Boston home Thursday after complications with interstitial lung disease.

Prison Warden Where Whitey Bulger Was Confined: ‘I think he wanted to die’

Whitey Bulger

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The then-warden of a prison where James “Whitey” Bulgar was confined said he believes the Boston gangster “wanted to die.”

“Quite frankly, I think he wanted to die,” Charles Lockett, the Florida penitentiary’s former warden, told NBC News in an exclusive interview.

“I think whatever issues he had, he had come to peace with them.”

Bulger, 89, was beat to death inside his cell on Oct. 30, 3018, just hours after he was transferred to a West Virginia prison. The transfer came after the wheelchair-bound ex-mob boss threatened a Florida prison nurse who suggested he see an outside heart doctor.

No one has been charged in his death.

Lockett, who retired in late December, spoke out for the first time, saying he doesn’t believe the death was the fault of prison officials.

It’s a tragedy, but I don’t think anyone was deficient in their duty,” Lockett said.

Lockett opened up about his personal feelings for Bulger.

“He killed a lot of people, but he wasn’t a bad old guy,” Lockett said. “Every Friday, I would walk that entire penitentiary and I would see him and he would speak to me. He was a nice, respectable guy, the murderer that he was.”

When a nurse told Bulgar he should be taken to a local hospital to see a heart specialist, the former mob boss lashed out, Lockett said.

“She pressed him to go see the doctor, and he got mad about it,” Lockett said. “He told her point blank, ‘I know people. I still have connections back home.’”

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