Ex-FBI Agent Charged With Murdering Former Gambling Executive

A former FBI agent already imprisoned for shielding Boston mobsters from prosecutors was indicted Wednesday in the 1982 slaying of a former Miami gambling executive whose body was stuffed into the trunk of his Cadillac.

John J. Connolly Jr. (search), 64, was charged in state court with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the killing of former World Jai Alai president John Callahan (search).

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade County's state attorney, said Connolly gave mobsters key internal FBI information that led to the murders of several individuals, including Callahan. Connolly is not charged in any other murders.

"While John Connolly never actually pulled the trigger, it was his information that caused the death of John Callahan," Rundle said.

Callahan had been shot twice in the head and a dime was placed on his chest, an underworld signal to others not to "drop a dime" or snitch on other mobsters, investigators said. His body was found in a parking lot at the Miami airport.

"I can tell you he's not guilty," said Connolly attorney Edward J. Lonergan. "I've known John since 1961. John is a good, good man and this is a sad, sad process. It's just very disappointing."

Investigators said Callahan was a financial adviser to Boston's Winter Hill Gang run by fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger (search), who has previously been charged in Callahan's murder.

Fred Wyshak, assistant U.S. attorney in Boston who is assisting in the case, said Callahan was killed because he had paid $50,000 for the murder of World Jai Alai executive Roger Wheeler.

Wheeler was shot to death in Tulsa, Okla., in 1981, after he refused to sell Callahan the jai alai business and learned the gang was skimming profits from him, investigators said.

Also charged in Callahan's death are Bulger's top lieutenant Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi and alleged triggerman John V. Martorano, both of whom have cooperated with prosecutors against Connolly.

Flemmi, 70, pleaded guilty in February 2004 for his role in the slaying and was sentenced to life in prison. Flemmi, implicated in 10 other murders, was also sentenced to life last year after pleading guilty to killing Wheeler.

Connolly is serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina for convictions on racketeering, obstruction of justice and other charges stemming from his role in protecting Bulger and others from prosecution while simultaneously using them as FBI informants.

Connolly tipped off Bulger in 1995 about a looming racketeering indictment, causing Bulger to flee Boston. Bulger, implicated in 18 murders, remains a fugitive on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list with a $1 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Rundle said prosecutors would ask Thursday that Connolly be extradited from North Carolina. A trial date has not yet been set.