BOSTON – A federal judge awarded $3.1 million Tuesday to the family of a man who was killed by fugitive mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, ruling that the federal government is liable for the man's death because a former FBI agent leaked his identity to Bulger.
The family of John McIntyre, 32, a fisherman from Quincy, sued the federal government for $50 million, alleging that McIntyre was killed by Bulger in 1984 after former FBI Agent John Connolly Jr. tipped him that McIntyre had talked to U.S. Customs agents in an investigation of Bulger and Flemmi's involvement in a failed plan to send guns to the Irish Republican Army aboard a Gloucester fishing boat.
During a civil trial in June, Bulger's cohort, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, testified that McIntyre was killed after Connolly told them one of the two people aboard the fishing boat was cooperating with authorities.
In a 110-page ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reginald Lindsay found that Connolly was the "proximate cause" of McIntyre's death and the federal government should be held responsible.
"Connolly, acting within the scope of his employment as an FBI agent, breached his duty to McIntyre who was forseeably at risk from the breach," Lindsay wrote. "The United States is therefore liable for damages resulting from McIntyre's death."
Flemmi testified that McIntyre was lured to a party on Nov. 30, 1984, then chained to a chair, interrogated, strangled and shot in the head by Bulger.
During the trial, an attorney for the Justice Department said the FBI had no way of stopping Bulger and Flemmi, leaders of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, from committing crimes. Both men were also FBI informants. The government also said that U.S. Customs agents offered to put McIntyre in the witness protection program, but he declined.