John Connolly, a former FBI agent with ties to Boston-area mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, had his murder conviction overturned by an appeals court Wednesday in Florida.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal found that Connolly was improperly convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison in connection with the 1982 murder of World Jai-Alai President John Callahan in 1982. A hit man claimed Connolly killed Callahan after the FBI agent tipped Bulger that Callahan was going to implicate the mobster in another murder, the Associated Press reported.
In a 2-1 vote, the appeals court found that Connolly’s conviction on second-degree murder was barred by the statute of limitations, according to the AP. Connolly’s lawyers contended that prosecutors improperly applied a firearms allegation to enhance the charges against their client.
Connolly has long maintained his innocence in Callahan’s death.
Bulger, the infamous leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, was convicted of orchestrating or carrying out 11 murders in August 2013. He was sentenced in November to two life terms in prison, plus two years.
Bulger went on trial in November 2013, was listed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for 12 of the 16 years that he went on the lam after he was tipped off by Connolly that the bureau was about to arrest him.