DEADLY ALLIANCE: THE FBI'S SECRET PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MOB
The FBI's favorite son gets away with murder
By Ralph Ranalli
Following is an excerpt from "Deadly Alliance: The FBI's Secret Partnership with the Mob," by Globe reporter Ralph Ranalli.
A badly rusted swing bridge connects the gleaming skyscrapers of Boston's financial district to Northern Avenue, a windswept road that commands a panoramic view of Boston Harbor and runs from the northeastern up of South Boston down to the shipyards and fish-processing plants of the Boston Marine Industrial Park. City planners proposed that Northern Avenue be the heart of a grand Seaport Development district in the late 1990s, complete with a contemporary art museum, luxury hotels, and a giant, high-tech convention center. The idea was to capitalize on the biggest and most expensive public works project in U.S. history, the $1.7 billion-per-mile "Big Dig," an ambitious plan to build a ten-lane underground expressway replacing the old Central Artery, an unsightly green steel elevated highway that for years had literally and symbolically cut off the waterfront from the rest of the city.
In the early 1980s, though, the South Boston waterfront was still an isolated, foreboding place. Motorists who ducked under the grimy artery and clattered across the Northern Avenue Bridge saw only water, old brick warehouses, and a desolate stretch of weed-infested parking lots until they reached the State Fish Pier and a cluster of bars and tourist-trap seafood restaurants with names like Anthony's Pier 4, Jimmy's Harborside, and the No Name.
Lee DuPre and Bob McCain were two hours into an evening shift on May 11, 1982, when their Boston Police cruiser reached the steel bridge at about six P.M. -- just in time to see a motorist frantically honking his horn and waving.
"There's been a shooting over by the Pier restaurant," the man shouted. "I heard a hell of a lot of shots -- you better get over there."
It took just forty-five seconds for the cruiser to reach restaurant row, where the two officers spotted a blue Datsun F10 about a dozen feet from the curb in front of the Port Café. A big, slightly balding man in his early forties was lying facedown about ten feet from the open passenger door.
Blood was already forming pools around the body. The two cops saw bullet holes everywhere: Blood was seeping through the victim's blue shirt from holes in both arms, his left shoulder, and right wrist. There was also a gaping hole in the right thigh of his gray pants, and his white sneakers were soaked in red. The attack had obviously come at first from behind; every window of the Datsun was blown out except for the windshield, and there were shell casings on the ground behind it. Inside the car a second man, wearing a green MAGOO'S windbreaker, was slumped over the steering wheel. An ambulance siren's wail joined the cacophony of noise headed toward the scene, but the officers peering in the door could see it was too late for the driver. A high-velocity bullet had blown a huge hole in the back of his head.
McCain and DuPre tried to stanch the large man's wounds until Boston Emergency Medical Services paramedics took over. Other officers and detectives piled out of police cruisers that streamed in from all directions. One was Sergeant Bo Millane, a detective from South Boston.
Millane knew both men. The one on the ground was Brian Halloran, a violent, unpredictable thug with a cocaine habit and ties to the Winter Hill Gang, an opportunistic band of Irish and Italian criminals who survived the infamous gang wars of the 1960s to emerge as the only legitimate rival to the Patriarca family, the New England franchise of the Italian-American Mafia. The word on the street was that Halloran was "ratting" -- working as a law enforcement informer -- because he was on the hook for murdering a fringe underworld player in Chinatown. The other man in the car was Michael Donahue, a cop's boy, who Millane figured, poor bastard, had probably just been in the wrong place with the wrong company.
Halloran's ability to name his shooters was fast flowing crimson into the gutters as three paramedics fought a losing battle to stop the blood surging out of a multitude of entrance and exit wounds. Millane later testified in court that he stuck close as the paramedics lifted Halloran onto a gurney and it into the ambulance.
As he rode along on the way to the hospital, Millane asked the dying man: "Brian, who did this to you?"
That was it, Millane said. Halloran lost consciousness and never woke up again. An emergency room doctor at Boston City Hospital pronounced him dead less than an hour after the first shot was fired.
Back on the waterfront, other detectives and some FBI agents were interviewing witnesses. The consensus seemed to be that a green late 1970s-model Chevrolet Chevelle with three men inside had pulled up on the parked Datsun from behind. Two of the men in the Chevy opened fire, raking the smaller car and its occupants from behind and from the side. Halloran stumbled out of the Datsun, followed by one of the gunmen from the Chevelle, who shouted, "I'll show you!" and pumped more bullets into him. The Chevelle then sped off back into South Boston, cut through a viaduct and disappeared.
Another witness, an off-duty sergeant from the Boston suburbs, told the FBI that a half hour before the murder she had seen a new black sedan, maybe a Mercury Marquis, parked on Northern Avenue. A dark-haired, clean-shaven man in his forties, wearing a shirt, tie, and a business suit had been behind the wheel, watching the Port Café through binoculars. A second witness said the man in the business suit pulled his car into the street just as the shooters opened fire, to block anyone from following them.
Two and a half hours earlier Special Agent Leo Brunnick of the ...
© 2001, HarperCollins Publishers