Courts • Skeletal remains match witness testimony on how they were killed.
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Boston • Jurors at James "Whitey" Bulger's racketeering trial have heard testimony about how the crime boss killed and buried people. They heard and saw in clinical detail Wednesday how detectives unearthed the victims after Bulger's partners began turning on him.
There also was chilling testimony at the trial about a young man who probably still has no idea how close he came to being killed when he nearly stumbled over Bulger as the gangster buried corpses three decades ago beneath a busy highway on the south side of the city.
The jury was confronted Wednesday with dozens of gruesome photographs of dark holes and skeletal remains. A prosecution forensic expert, Ann Marie Mires, spent the day using the photographs to illustrate how she and teams of detectives dug up the remains of four of the 19 people who Bulger is accused of killing.
Mires' account was consistent with that a day earlier of Kevin Weeks, once Bulger's right-hand man. Weeks testified that he watched as Bulger and his partner Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi killed three of the victims. He admitted that he helped dispose of the remains – twice.
Weeks said he first buried the bodies in the cellar of a house in South Boston, but had to move the remains to an empty lot in Dorchester, Mass., when the home's owner decided to sell.
Weeks led Mires and the state police detectives to the Dorchester grave site, down a slope from the Southeast Expressway, in January 2000, after he was indicted and agreed to cooperate with authorities against his fomer boss. Weeks also personally buried some victims. He said the victims he buried personally were safe cracker Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, fisherman John McIntyre and Deborah Hussey, a stepdaughter of Flemmi's who claimed he sexually abused her.
Bulger and Flemmi allegedly killed Barrett after stealing $57,000 from him. They learned from a corrupt FBI agent that McIntyre was cooperating against them in a drug and gun smuggling investigation. They decided Hussey was a threat because of what she knew about them.
Prosecutors displayed for the jury the photographs of skeletons from which Mires said she identified Barrett, McIntyre and Hussey. She said Barrett and McIntyre were shot in the head, which is where Weeks said he watched Bulger shoot them. He said both Bulger and Flemmi strangled Hussey. Mires said the cause of Hussey's death was not apparent from the bones.