John J. Connolly Jr. was supposed to hunt down and arrest the most dangerous criminals in America. Instead, he let one of them escape.
Connolly, a career FBI man, worked in the Bureau's Top Echelon Criminal Informants Program in New England. But instead of being famous for his record, he is infamous for his association with Boston's Winter Hill Gang leaders Whitey Bulger and Steve The Rifleman Flemmi.
It is presumed that Bulger was an FBI informant and Connolly his liaison. But their relationship moved beyond Bureau business and soon Connolly was helping Bulger with Winter Hill Gang activities. It was long thought that Bulger, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, escaped arrest thanks to Connolly, who tipped him off before a federal raid.
Connolly was indicted for accepting bribes, falsifying reports and helping a fugitive escape. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
And now, as Whitey Bulger was found in California after 16 years on the run and will soon stand trial for a score of murders, Connolly will be set free from Federal prison.
Federal Bureau of Prisons records show that Connelly, aged 70, will be released from the FCI Butner Low facility in North Carolina on June 28. A spokesman from the department confirmed that the date was correct.
But, Connolly will not be totally free in four days. He was convicted of second degree murder in 2009 for his involvement in the shooting of John B. Callahan in Miami in 1982. The murder is thought to have been ordered by Bulger. Connolly was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The 70 year old will likely serve out the rest of his life in a Florida penitentiary. Florida state officials will pick up Connolly from North Carolina the day of his federal release.