Trial of ‘Whitey’ Bulger returns to evidence of murders

Posted June 20, 2013, at 6:03 a.m.
James &quotWhitey" Bulger
U.S. Marshals Service | Reuters
James "Whitey" Bulger

BOSTON — The trial of James “Whitey” Bulger on Thursday turns back to evidence of the 19 murders the alleged mob boss is accused of committing or ordering while he ran the ruthless Winter Hill crime gang in the 1970s and ’80s.

Family members of some of Bulger’s alleged victims may take the stand to identify photos of their murdered relatives.

Three days of testimony from star witness John Martorano — the first of Bulger’s former lieutenants to take the stand — included chilling details of hits the now 72-year-old confessed killer described carrying out with Bulger.

Bulger, portrayed by his attorneys as a mild-mannered loan shark, extortionist and drug dealer but not a murderer, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Now 83, he faces life in prison if convicted.

Boston Police Sergeant Detective William Doogan, a supervisor in the department’s cold case squad, followed Martorano on the witness stand to testify about photos related to the cases of eight murder victims in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Jurors saw images including bullet-pocked cars and the body of Edward Connors, a Dorchester bar owner Bulger is accused of murdering, lying dead in a phone booth.

Bulger’s trial, which is expected to last three to four months, is one of the most anticipated in Boston history. The most feared criminal in the city fled after a 1994 tip from a corrupt federal agent that arrest was imminent.

He evaded law enforcement for 16 years, most of them on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, before law enforcement caught up with him in June 2011, hiding in a seaside apartment in California.

His story inspired Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Academy Award-winning film “The Departed.”

 

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