31 Years Later, Family of Bulger Victim Gets Apology

Ex-FBI agent acknowledges he may have had indirect role in slaying
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2013 12:40 PM CDT
31 Years Later, Family of Bulger Victim Gets Apology
This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the US Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.   (AP Photo/ U.S. Marshals Service, File)

Former FBI agent John Morris took the stand in Whitey Bulger's trial today, and emotionally apologized to the family of Michael Donahue, one of Bulger's alleged—and accidental—victims. The Boston Globe explains how Donahue ended up behind the wheel of a car that was riddled with bullets in 1982:

  • Donahue was giving a ride home to Brian Halloran, a Bulger associate. Morris had heard that Halloran was cooperating with investigators in a murder investigation related to Bulger, and mentioned that in a conversation he had with John J. Connolly Jr.—Morris' subordinate, and the FBI agent who reportedly got Bulger to become an informant. (Bulger is denying he ever informed.) The info allegedly spurred the attack.
Morris, who has admitted taking cash and gifts from Bulger and is testifying in exchange for immunity, says he later realized his statement could have gotten back to Bulger, and apologized for his "indirect" role. (Bulger's lawyer says Morris knew he was "signing Mr. Halloran’s death warrant" in sharing the info.)

"I do want to express my sincere apology for things I did, and I didn't do. I do not ask for forgiveness—that’s too much," he said to Donahue's family in the front row. But I do acknowledge it publicly." Donahue's widow says she believes Morris was sincere, and that the guilt he lives with is his punishment. But, she adds, "I don't forgive it. Their 'sorries' come too late"; it was the first apology she had received from the FBI. The Daily Beast has much more on Morris' own corruption and intimate ties to Bulger, who is apparently not happy that Morris is now testifying against him: The Beast reports that as Morris testified last week, Bulger muttered, "You're a f---ing liar." (Read more Whitey Bulger stories.)

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