By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) — A former hitman who admitted killing 20 people has taken the witness stand at the racketeering trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.
John Martorano served 12 years in prison after striking a cooperation deal with prosecutors. He was released in 2007.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged in a 32-count indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and `80s. He is also charged with extorting bookmakers, drug dealers and others running illegal businesses.
Martorano is one of three former Bulger loyalists who struck deals with prosecutors and agreed to testify against him.
Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and former Bulger lieutenant Kevin Weeks also are expected to be key prosecution witnesses.