Former FBI agent John Connolly, convicted of second-degree murder stemming from his dealings with mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, has had that conviction overturned by a Florida court.

Connolly, a South Boston native, had used Bulger as a "top echelon informant" against the Italian mafia in Boston's North End, but was convicted of helping Bulger escape prosecution for his own crimes.

Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for the 1982 murder of businessman John Callahan in Florida. The count in the indictment said "James J. Bulger, Stephen J. Flemmi, John V. Martorano and John J. Connolly, Jr., did unlawfully and feloniously kill a human being, to wit: John B. Callahan, from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being, by shooting the said John B. Callahan with a firearm … "

Connolly had appealed the conviction, and the judge granted it based on a legal technicality regarding the language in the indictment.

"That language accuses the four co-perpetrators of shooting the victim with a firearm (singular), but does not allege Connolly personally possessed, used, or carried a firearm, either the murder weapon or Connolly’s FBI-issued firearm, during the commission of the murder," the decision says. "The only weapon implied by “shooting . . . JOHN B. CALLAHAN” is the murder weapon. The State acknowledges it was uncontested that the only gun used to shoot the victim was possessed and discharged by co-defendant Martorano and that Connolly is not the person who effected “the death of [the victim] by shooting [the victim] with a firearm.” The record is clear that there was only one shooter and only one weapon involved in the actual offense.

Read the decision