You’ve heard the only way to kill a vampire is to drive a stake into his heart when he’s at rest; Brian Kelly the prosecutor must have heard this as well and decided the way to open the case was to do that to James “Whitey” Bulger who sat between his lawyers feeling the stake being driven into him. I’d say into his heart but some might object to me inferring Whitey had a heart.
As I wrote Kelly introduced his opening by telling the jury he was going to talk about criminals run amuck and the hand at the center of these criminals is Whitey controlling what went on – he called him a “hands on criminal.” He tells how they lured Arthur “Bucky” Barrett over to 799 East Third Street in South Boston where he was told stolen jewelry waited for him but instead of that Bucky found that “death was waiting”. He told how they chained him to a chair and demanded to know where he kept his money; how they made him call his wife several time telling her to take the two kids out so they could go to his house and steal his $40,000; how after they got that and another $10,000 Whitey led him to the top of the cellar stairs and remarked that “Bucky is going down stairs to lie for a while” and then he shot him in the head. Bulger rested upstairs while his partner Stevie Flemmi, his side thug, Kevin Weeks and another man went to the cellar and buried him, not until after they extracted his teeth.
Kelly stood there with a note book on the stand in front of him but he’d only refer to it on occasion. Mostly he stood without too much movement but clearly and emphatically told the story about what the government intends to prove. He commanded the attention of the jury as well as the half hundred members of the media in the overflow room.
He went on to say this type of murder gave Bulger and his gang a fearsome reputation and made people fear them. That was how they were able to extort money or “rent” from the bookmakers who could not go to the cops for protection because they were in an illegal business. Whitey gave them a choice they could get out of business or pay him to stay in business. If they choose neither, then they got hurt.
He also said the same method was used to take over the drug operations. He said it was a myth that Whitey was not involved in drug dealings and he will show that by bringing in the drug dealers who did the business for him.
He then produced a chart which he called “not too fancy” that set out the charges against Whitey. At the top were the words “32 counts” in a box. Under that ran four lines to lower boxes running from left to right which read: “23 Money Laundering”; “2 Racketeering”; “5 Firearms”; and “2 Extortions”. Then under the Racketeering box four lines emanated to four boxes: “extortion”; “murder”; “drug distribution”; and “money laundering+” The chart simply set forth the charges Whitey is facing.
Kelly then said Whitey was also involved in corrupting public officials like state trooper Richard Schneiderhan and FBI agents John Morris and John Connolly who took money from him and tipped him off to anything that might affect him like wiretaps thereby compromising the investigations by the good law enforcement people. He said Bulger was the “biggest informant in Boston” for the FBI which produced “the grotesque irony” of Bulger murdering other people for doing what he was doing. He then went into the murder of Brian Halloran and then on to the extortion of the liquor store from Stippo Rakes. He said by the time Whitey gunned down Halloran and Donohue “in broad daylight” he had already killed 13 other people.
He went back what he said was the feud between the Bulger gang and Al Notorangelli’s gang in the early ‘70s (actually there was no feud, Martorano and Howie Winter had been given a contract by the Mafia’s Gerry Angiulo to kill the Notorangelli crew). Kelly told how innocent people were murdered and during these murders Whitey was in the crash car. He talked about Eddie Connors being killed in the Morrissey Avenue telephone booth because he talked too much.
He went into Martorano and Flemmi being Whitey’s partners and how they also murdered many people but have pled guilty. He said Martorano’s time in prison for his murders was not enough. (as if he had nothing to do with it) and said Flemmi and Whitey extorted and killed people together. Flemmi was also an informant and he bought a house right next door to Whitey’s brother Billy in South Boston, showing pictures of this. He pointed to a screen house at the rear of Flemmi’s property and said that is where they stored their guns and told how Flemmi’s step-son removed them from there. He also talked about the extortion of a business man in that house who agreed to pay $200,000 and then showed a check in that amount made payable to Flemmi.
Kelly went into some of the ways they used other businesses to launder money; about how Whitey gave Martorano’s family money when Martorano was in prison; the use of legitimate businesses to wash illegitimate money.
He told how Joe Murray gave Whitey’s side thug Weeks 50 pounds of cocaine which Weeks distributed to Whitey’s dealers; he went back to the house where Barrett was killed and told how Whitey killed John McIntyre there as well as Flemmi’s step daughter Deborah Hussey and how the latter two were also buried under the dirt floor in the basement. He explained in detail the gruesome murder of John McIntyre how Whitey tried to strangle him but the rope was too big so he asked McIntyre “if he wanted one in the head.”
He produced the pictures in 1975 of Whitey, Martorano, Howie Winter, Joe McDonald, Jimmy Sims and Stevie Flemmi who he said were the Winter Hill gang; in the early 1980s of Whitey, Flemmi and Kevin Weeks who he said took their place because the others in the gang had fled; and the picture of Frank Lapere who was extorted by Whitey.
He told how Joe Murray paid Whitey $500,000 severance pay and how Billy Shea who was a big drug dealer under Whitey will come in and testify about how they operated. He explained how Weeks took the investigators to the bodies of Barrett, McIntyre and Hussey which were buried across from Florian Hall. He told how Connolly tipped Whitey off to flee and then to sum up named and showed pictures of the 19 people Whitey is alleged to have killed.
There was a lot more. But it was very effective and attention grabbing. It left Carney a big hole to dig out of, but it won’t be the first hole Whitey left someone in.