A Florida state attorney does not oppose notorious former FBI agent John “Zip” Connolly’s bid for medical release, according to his attorneys.
In an email sent Saturday to an employee of the Florida Commission on Offender Review and copied to Connolly’s Florida attorney, a prosecutor said: “After discussion with State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the State does not oppose the compassionate release of John Connolly. Please relate that to the Commission.”
The news came a day after Florida officials told the Herald that Connolly is “terminally ill or medically incapacitated” and has been approved for a hearing on a “conditional medical release” on Wednesday. That hearing will be open to the public via video on the commission’s website at 10 a.m. that day.
Under Florida law, a 2-1 vote is all that’s required to set Connolly free, commission spokeswoman Angela Meredith said. The three commissioners, she added, will weigh “what’s best for the inmate and for public safety” and reach a decision on the same day.
Connolly was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his double-dealing relationship with James “Whitey” Bulger during the mobster’s murderous reign in South Boston. Bulger was beaten to death in a West Virginia prison in 2018, and now Connolly, 80, wants to die at home, his Cambridge lawyer said.
“He has multiple melanomas and pretty bad diabetes — two serious illnesses,” attorney Peter Mullane said Friday. And Connolly’s wife and three grown children, still living in the Boston area, hope the onetime G-man can return home to Massachusetts, he said.
As Connolly seeks medical release on grounds that he is dying, Mullane says a decision on their appeal for a new trial also is imminent.
“It is expected that a decision will be rendered in the next two weeks,” he said in an email to the Herald. “We are cautiously optimistic the judge will rule favorably .. .this hopefully will be at least a Pyrrhic (victory) for John, and certainly one that is legally justifiable and well-deserved — finally!”
Connolly’s Florida attorney, Craig J. Trocino, recently argued that the state failed to turn over a U.S. Department of Justice internal affairs investigator’s email saying that the assistant special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office had told him that he did not believe Connolly had leaked information that was responsible for the murders of Bulger associate Brian Halloran and businessman John Callahan. Both were killed by Bulger’s gang, and Callahan’s body was found in the trunk of a car left at the Miami airport.
“That information … would have had a significant impact on the jury,” Trocino, director of the Miami Law Innocence Clinic in Coral Gables, said in court documents.