Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Boston mobster pins a string of killings on Bulger

BOSTON — A feared gangster known as "the Rifleman" detailed for a jury Friday a grisly string of nine murders he says reputed Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger ordered, approved or committed with his own hands, including the strangling of the witness' own girlfriend.

Stephen Flemmi said he set his girlfriend's killing in motion when he blurted out to her something he shouldn't have: that he and Bulger were FBI informants.

Bulger decided Debra Davis knew too much and strangled her in front of Flemmi, the once-loyal Bulger associate told a rapt jury at Bulger's racketeering trial in federal court.

"What did you do?" prosecutor Fred Wyshak asked.

"Nothing," Flemmi replied.

"Why not?" Wyshak asked.

"That was the plan," Flemmi said.

Flemmi did show a flash of remorse for killing Davis, who was 26. "It's affected me and it's going to affect me until the day I die," he said.

In rapid succession, the mob turncoat described Bulger's alleged role in eight other killings during the 1970s and '80s when the two men were leaders of the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's Irish mob.

On Thursday, when Flemmi began his testimony, he and Bulger snarled obscenities at each other in a staredown in court. But on Friday, Bulger looked straight ahead and took notes on a legal pad during Flemmi's testimony and did not appear to look at him.

In one of the slayings he recounted, Flemmi said he and Bulger sprayed a phone booth with gunfire in 1975, killing bar owner Edward Connors, because he was "telling people Winter Hill business," including details about an earlier murder committed by the gang.

Flemmi said another member of the gang had lured Connors to the phone booth by telling him he would receive a call there at a certain time. Bulger and Flemmi were waiting for him, Flemmi said.

"We just stepped out from the side of the building — the garage — and shot him," Flemmi said, matter-of-factly. "We just fired on him."

Bulger, 83, is accused of playing a role in 19 killings.

Flemmi, 79, pleaded guilty in 10 killings and was sentenced to life in prison in a deal with prosecutors that spared him the death penalty for murders in Oklahoma and Florida. He is set to return to the witness stand Monday.

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