MIAMI — Former FBI agent John Connolly was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder for leaking information to Boston mobsters that led to the 1982 shooting death of a gambling executive who also had ties to gangsters.
Jurors deliberated less than three days before delivering the verdict following a two-month trial. The jury acquitted Connolly of conspiracy, but he still faces life in prison when sentenced Dec. 4.
Prosecutors said former World Jai-Alai president John Callahan was killed after Connolly warned gangsters that Callahan might implicate them in other slayings. Boston mob kingpins James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi were FBI informants handled by Connolly.
Connolly, who showed no emotion when the verdict was read, long denied involvement in Callahan's killing. Connolly was convicted in 2002 of racketeering because of his relationship with Bulger and Flemmi, including a 1995 tip that enabled Bulger to escape arrest and begin a life on the run that continues to this day. Bulger is one of the FBI's "10 most wanted" fugitives.
The story that unfolded over the past two months in a Miami courtroom spanned more than two decades of Boston's underworld, a tale was the basis for the 2006 film The Departed.
Connolly retired from the FBI in 1990 and was later indicted on federal racketeering and other charges stemming from his long relationship with Bulger and Flemmi, who paid the agent $235,000 over the years for protection, according to trial testimony.
In a case considered one of the FBI's worst failures, Connolly was convicted in 2002 and is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence in the corruption case. He was indicted in 2005 in the killing of Callahan, 45, whose body was found stuffed in the trunk of his Cadillac at Miami International Airport in August 1982. He had been shot at least twice.
Confessed mob hit man John Martorano testified that he shot Callahan — at one time a good friend — based on Connolly's warning that the gangsters would probably all go to prison if Callahan talked to the FBI about an Oklahoma businessman's killing a year earlier.