Former drug dealers, families of victims, forensic dentist take the stand Friday
James "Whitey" Bulger is charged in the deaths of 19 people over two decades
Former drug dealer says his brother was shot when he refused to pay "rent" to Bulger
Wife of slain man says after testimony: Bulger "is a coward"
An array of witnesses testified Friday in the 20th day of the federal trial of reputed Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger: Former drug dealers, family members of alleged victims and a forensic dentist all took the stand.
Some of Friday’s most interesting testimony came when former drug dealers detailed the scare tactics they said Bulger used, including extortion and shooting one of their brothers.
Bulger is charged in the deaths of 19 people during some two decades when prosecutors say he ran Boston’s Irish mob. He also faces charges of extortion, racketeering and money laundering.
The rules of the street
Paul Moore testified about the rules of the street when he was dealing drugs in Boston the early 1980s. Zach Hafer, assistant U.S. attorney, asked Moore whose permission he needed to sell drugs in South Boston.
“Jimmy Bulger, Whitey,” Moore replied.
To sell cocaine in South Boston, Moore said that and his partner, Billy Shea, had to pay “rent,” a weekly or monthly fee to Bulger and his gang. Rent payments to Bulger’s gang were between $3,000 and $5,000.
“If you didn’t pay, you’d get hurt,” explained Moore.
Anthony Attardo, another former drug dealer, testified that he didn’t pay “the rent,” and then failed to pay a $100,000 fine for the missing rent payments. Attardo’s brother was shot.
“What happened after he was shot?” Hafer asked.
Attardo replied that Bulger and his long-time associated Kevin Weeks came to his house and said “you’re next.”
Attardo said he gave Bulger $80,000 and Bulger told him not to worry about the rest.
Families share their outrage in court
In addition to hearing about the crime world’s rules for drug dealing, the jury went on to learn about the heartbreaking loss the families of murder victims suffered.
Steve Davis, the brother of Debra Davis, became emotional talking about his younger sister, whom he also called his best friend.
Davis told the court his sister was dating Steve Flemmi, Bulger’s partner. One day, she just didn’t come home. “Did you ever see your sister again?” Hafer asked.
“Not until yesterday,” answered Davis in reference to the pictures of her remains that were shown in court.
As Davis was getting off the stand, he held a photo of his sister toward Bulger, who would not look up. Davis later told reporters outside the courthouse, “I wanted recognition from him. He’s been sitting with his head down.”
Another relative of a victim, Patricia Donahue, spoke about the agonizing wait she endured to find out what had happened to her husband.
Donahue told the court that while she was preparing dinner, she heard a TV news announcement of a gangland slaying – and then she saw a picture of her father-in-law’s car, which she knew her husband had been driving.
“I called every single hospital in the Boston.”
Michael Donahue, who was not affiliated with any gang, was giving his friend Brian Halloran a ride home from a bar that night.
Earlier in the trial, disgraced former FBI agent John Morris had apologized to Donahue’s family. Morris said that he leaked information to Bulger that Halloran was about to disclose details of Bulger’s gang.
After court, Patricia Donahue spoke about testifying in front of Bulger.
“He couldn’t look at me. If he can kill people and not look victims in the face, he is a coward.”
Forensic dentist identified two bodies
Jurors also heard testimony from forensic dentist, Dr. Kathleen Crowley. She was able to positively identify the remains of two alleged Bulger victims.
The specific details of the dental work that helped identify Arthur “Bucky” Barrett’s remains included a root canal, Crowley explained. Earlier in the week, Bulger’s long-time crime associate, Kevin Weeks, testified that he saw Bulger shoot Barrett in the back of his head after Barrett had tried to buy his way out of death.
Using the same forensic methods, Crowley was able to determine that a different set of the remains belong to John “Joey” McIntyre. Weeks alleged that Bulger killed McIntyre after McIntyre admitted to letting authorities capture drugs that Bulger’s gang had intended to sell.
So far the prosecution has called 46 witnesses. The prosecution expects to call 20 more witnesses, including Flemmi, and believes it could wrap up in 10 days.