By Steve Neavling
John Connolly, the disgraced former FBI agent who was sentenced to 40 years in prison for working with mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, may remain free of prison despite improvements to his health.
In a 2-1 vote, the Florida Commission on Offender Review turned down a request to decide whether Connolly, 83, should return to prison to complete his 40-year sentence for second-degree murder, the Boston Globe reports.
The commission voted 2-1 in February 2021 to grant Connolly’s request for medical release after his attorney said the former FBI agent had cancer and diabetes and was likely to die within a year.
Connolly must stay at a prison-approved residence or hospice and can only leave for medical care.
“The good news for Mr. Connolly is that he’s getting better,” Commissioner Richard D. Davison said during the brief hearing Tuesday.
Saying Connolly’s conditional medical release was “not a get out of jail free” policy, Davison wanted the commission to rescind Connolly’s parole.
Michael Von Zamft, senior trial counsel at the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, agreed, saying prosecutors only agreed to Connolly’s release because they believed he was terminally ill. And since “he is not terminal,” he should return to prison, Von Zamft argued.
Connolly’s doctor said he is well enough to take walks around his neighborhood.
While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018.