Monday, July 29, 2013 2:55 am
A guide to the trial of James 'Whitey' Bulger
By The Associated Press
The 83-year-old Bulger, the alleged former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, cultivated an early image as a modern-day Robin Hood who gave Thanksgiving dinners to working-class neighbors and kept drug dealers out of his South Boston neighborhood. But that was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies. He fled Boston in 1994 and became one of the nation's most wanted fugitives until he was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment.
Federal prosecutors called a total of 63 witnesses over 6 1/2 weeks before resting their case Friday. The final day of government witness testimony featured an FBI agent's account of Bulger's arrest more than two years ago. The agent described luring Bulger from his apartment with a ruse about his storage locker being broken into, then told the court how the longtime fugitive led agents to 30 guns and more than $800,000 he'd hidden away. Earlier, Bulger's former partner and friend, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, described Bulger's role in a string of killings during the 1970s and 80s - either as their planner, authorizer or executor. Flemmi told the court Bulger strangled two young women and was a pedophile who had taken a 16-year-old on a vacation to Mexico. Flemmi and Bulger exchanged obscenities as court adjourned following one of Flemmi's days on the stand.
Bulger's attorneys filed a motion late Sunday seeking to have the jury sequestered when it begins deliberating. They cited the "extremely prejudicial" coverage of the trial by the news media. The attorneys have not said if their client will take the stand. The defense has spent a significant amount of their time during cross-examination trying to show jurors the Bulger wasn't a government informant as federal agents and others testified. Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. told the court his aim is to undermine the credibility of government witnesses. Carney also hopes to call Marion Hussey, the mother of murder victim Deborah Hussey, who he said could bolster the defense claim that it was Flemmi, not Bulger, who killed her daughter. The defense will call a maximum of 16 witnesses after Bulger's attorneys said they no longer planned to call some people and the judge ruled testimony from several others would be irrelevant.
Eleven men and seven women make up the panel of 12 regular jurors and six alternates.
The defense is expected to begin calling witnesses Monday.