10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom

Larry Holzwarth - February 23, 2018

Obviously Whitey Bulger committed far more than ten, and which are more horrific than others is somewhat subjective to those not directly affected. He was indicted for 19 murders and found guilty in 11, but others with direct knowledge of his career speak of many more. The FBI holds documented evidence that Bulger was a long time informer, but he denied ever giving information of any value to the FBI or any other law enforcement organization. He was near the top of the FBI’s Most Wanted list for most of the 16 years he remained on the run, though he was never really in hiding.

James J. Bulger – who reportedly always hated being called Whitey – used his ties with the FBI to eliminate competition and control organized crime in south Boston for decades. While working with the FBI he controlled extortion rackets, laundered money, oversaw the sale of narcotics, and enforced his will through intimidation, kidnapping and murder. His arrest and eventual trial revealed corruption deep within the Boston office of the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police. In at least one instance, another confidential informant’s identity was revealed as part of the FBI’s dealings with Bulger, leading to the murder of the informant.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Whitey Bulger as he appeared after sixteen years eluding the authorities. US Marshal Service

Here are ten facts about Whitey Bulger, which with many others led to him being on the FBI’s most wanted list for over a decade.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Whitey Bulger’s Alcatraz mugshot. He claimed to have enjoyed his stay at Alcatraz and later visited as a tourist while on the run. US Bureau of Prisons

He was a lifelong criminal familiar with prison life.

Whitey Bulger was a criminal seemingly from the day he was born. He was known as a thief and bully in childhood, and at 14 he began building his juvenile record, which led to his eventual incarceration for armed robbery. Sent to a juvenile detention center, Bulger polished his already considerable skills at forgery, strong armed robbery, and assault. He continued to demonstrate his contempt for the rights of others during a subsequent stint in the Air Force, in which he enlisted in 1948. During his four year enlistment he spent multiple periods in custody for criminal assault and other crimes. After his enlistment was up he returned to south Boston in 1952.

For the next several years Bulger practiced the art of truck hijacking. Bulger was not above the use of violence when seizing a vehicle, and the use of a firearm was part of his standard operation when stealing a truck. In 1956 he was charged with and convicted of three bank robberies and sent into the federal prison system. Originally sent to Atlanta, he would spend parts of his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Lewisburg, and Alcatraz before he was released in 1965. Much later he returned to Alcatraz as a tourist, and he later told a reporter that he had enjoyed his stay there.

Bulger claimed that while he was in the federal prison in Atlanta he joined a group of prisoners who volunteered to be test subjects for the MK-Ultra program in return for reduced sentences and additional privileges while in custody. The MK-Ultra program was conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency to research mind control through the use of drugs, and included the administration of several hallucinogenic drugs, one of which was LSD. Bulger claimed that the program and its effect on the volunteers was misleading and dangerous. For the rest of his life, according to Bulger, he suffered from insomnia.

Bulger later told his associate Kevin Weeks that the prisoners had been told that the experiments were to research a potential cure for schizophrenia, and that the CIA involvement was never revealed to the inmates. He learned of the CIA involvement in the experiments years later, when Congressional hearings into CIA activities revealed them to the world. According to Weeks Bulger was infuriated when he learned of the government’s experiments and the damage which they had done to many of the victims of the program, some of whom had been unaware of being used as participants.

Bulger later claimed to have had brain scans which revealed damage that he attributed to the experiments. He told reporters after his arrest that he would never allow the sale of LSD in south Boston, and that he threatened to kill any one he learned to be engaged in the sale of the drug. He told Kevin Weeks that he wanted to find the administrator of the program at Atlanta, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, and personally assassinate him. Dr. Pfeiffer was a specialist in the treatment of schizophrenia, but according to records the prisoners who volunteered at Atlanta were informed that the experiments were for the study of mind control.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Bulger and others with the Winter Hill Gang actively supported the Irish Republican Army. Wikimedia

Bulger supported the Irish Republican Army in Ulster

When Whitey Bulger was in Alcatraz he was submitted to several psychological studies and appraisals. These found him to possess a highly elevated estimation of his own intelligence and character. The reports routinely noted his extreme vanity, and his over-developed sense of his own importance in the eyes of others. Simply put, he believed himself to be of superior moral character than others, and this belief helped him justify much of what would be considered amoral behavior by others. For example, he could justify murder if it was for a cause.

During the 1970s and 1980s the Irish Republican Army conducted what today would be called a terror campaign. South Boston was during that time a mostly Irish Catholic enclave, where neighborhood bars often contained donation jars which were used to collect funds to be sent to the families of IRA members being held in British jails and prisons. When Bulger was convicted of racketeering it included conviction of eleven charges of murder, one of which was for the killing of John McIntyre. McIntyre was murdered after an attempt at gun smuggling to the IRA was stopped by federal authorities.

In 1984 a fishing boat named Valhalla left Gloucester in Massachusetts and rendezvoused with an Irish fishing boat named Marita Ann. Several tons of explosives and weapons were transferred by the Massachusetts crew to the Irish vessel. When the Marita Ann neared its home port in Ireland it was stopped and boarded by the Irish navy which confiscated the cargo and arrested the crew, one of whom was a known IRA member (now a member of the IRAs political wing, Sinn Fein) named Martin Ferris. Notified by the Irish, the US Coast Guard inspected the Valhalla as it attempted to return to Boston.

John McIntyre was arrested for drunk driving a few weeks later and offered to provide information regarding drug and weapons smuggling by the Winter Hill Gang, run by Bulger. With the help of US Customs, who supplied the money for McIntyre’s share of the deal, a raid on an at sea drug transfer from a Norwegian vessel was arranged, and 36 tons of marijuana being purchased by the Winter Hill gang was seized by Customs. Aware that the authorities knew of the smuggling of guns and drugs, the operations were suspended. The raid led to McIntyre’s murder, with his body not being found and identified for 16 years.

One of the Winter Hill associates who had been in on the deal, and the gun running operations, was Patrick Nee, who later detailed the activities in a book. Nee wrote of Bulger’s association with the IRA and its legitimization of his criminal activities, as money raised and weapons sold cast him in his own eyes as a freedom fighter and defender of liberty. Bulger’s support of the IRA was not simply patriotic though, the guns and weapons he provided were for profit.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Whitey Bulger and his enforcer Kevin Weeks, in Yale sweatshirt. FBI

Bulger both hired killers and killed on his own, with no remorse.

It is difficult to say with certainty when Bulger committed his first murder, as there could have been killings during the commission of his many previous crimes which were unsolved and unwitnessed. In 1971 Bulger was loansharking and working as a bookmaker for Donald Killeen, the leader of an organized crime group in South Boston which was involved in a turf war with another group, called the Mullens. Paul McGonagle was a member of the Mullens who irritated Bulger.

According to Kevin Weeks, Bulger was irritated with McGonagle because of the way he talked around the neighborhood, presenting himself as a more violent and dangerous criminal than he really was, and that was all it took for Bulger to decide to kill him. Bulger was in a car driving when he saw McGonagle driving towards him, and slowed, rolling down the window and calling out McGonagle’s name. When the latter drew abreast of him, he shot him in the face just before realizing that it wasn’t Paul McGonagle, but his brother Donald.

Donald wasn’t involved in any of the gang activities prevalent in South Boston and as such had no enemies. Realizing his mistake Bulger informed his partner and mentor, Billy O’Sullivan, that he had killed the wrong brother only to be told not to worry. According to Weeks, O’Sullivan shrugged it off by saying, “He wasn’t healthy anyway. He smoked. He would have gotten lung cancer.” O’Sullivan was later murdered by Paul McGonagle. Donald Killeen was murdered in the spring of 1972, a crime attributed to Bulger, but claimed by some to have been committed by Mullen gang members.

A truce in the turf war was mediated by the local Mafia, the Patriarca family, and the Winter Hill gang. Bulger was by then one of the few surviving members of the Killeen group, and he represented them at the mediation, which resulted in the Killeens and Mullens uniting under the Winter Hill gang. The truce, which occurred in 1972, put Bulger and the surviving Mullens in control of the criminal enterprises of south Boston, and any operators which were not under their umbrella were soon targets of shakedowns. Bulger wasted little time in removing the remaining members of the Mullens from the scene.

Bulger never hesitated to kill a perceived enemy and as all of the criminal element of South Boston were known to the authorities, Bulger used their knowledge to his advantage. He developed the method of performing a second murder to confuse the authorities over the motive for the first. In another incident, a Boston detective who had been threatened by a gangster was approached by Bulger, who informed the detective that he would take care of it. Later Bulger told the detective that the threat had been eliminated.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Former FBI Agent John Connolly provided information to Bulger which in one instance led to a double homicide. Biography.com

Informant and partner with the FBI

The FBI first attempted to recruit Whitey Bulger as an informant in 1971, when he was approached by Dennis Condon, a Special Agent with the Boston office. Condon was unsuccessful. In 1974 Bulger was approached by Stephen Flemmi, a mobster with Mafia ties regarding a partnership between them. Flemmi had been working as an FBI informant since 1965. Although FBI agent John Connolly later claimed to have recruited Bulger on his own, it is likely that Flemmi was the one who got Bulger to become a High Echelon confidential informant.

Flemmi had been providing the FBI with information involving local mafia activities and members, and Bulger saw the advantage in working with the FBI to remove mafia influence, creating more room for his own operations. Bulger repeatedly denied providing any information to the FBI, and much of what was attributed to him by FBI agents including Connolly was actually provided by other informants, but there is no denying that Bulger did provide information when it was advantageous for him to do so. The relationship between Bulger and the FBI was quickly corrupted, by both parties.

Information which Bulger extracted from Connolly, or which Connolly had voluntarily provided, led to the murder of John McIntyre following the Valhalla incident. Other information provided by Connolly led to several potential witnesses against Bulger, or competitors in various operations, to vanish. In 1977, concerns within the Boston office of the FBI over Connolly’s handling of Bulger were set aside when agent John Morris was placed in charge of the Organized Crime office. Morris was soon helping Connolly in protecting both Bulger and Flemmi from FBI investigation.

Connolly continued to add information to Bulger’s file which would allow him to convince his superior’s that Bulger was a reliable High Echelon informant, despite the growing evidence that the information was actually extracted from the files of other informants and simply copied into Bulger’s file. While doing so he provided information to Bulger which tipped the latter to take action allowing him to avoid arrest, or to hide evidence from investigators. To help keep pressure off of Connolly, Bulger showered gifts on Morris, including first class plane tickets for Morris’s girlfriend to visit the agent when he was temporarily assigned for training out of Boston.

In 1982 John Callahan was being sought by the FBI to provide information regarding the murder the previous year of Roger Wheeler, a crime which had been ordered by Bulger. When Connolly learned of the FBI’s interest, he informed Flemmi and Bulger, with a warning that Callahan – who had worked with the Winter Hill gang – would likely incriminate them. Reacting to the warning from the FBI agent, Bulger ordered Callahan killed. Connolly eventually was convicted of second degree murder for his actions which impeded the investigation of one murder and led to another.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Catherine Grieg was Bulger’s companion for most of his time on the run. Years before she had been married to the brother of one of his murder victims. US Marshal Service

Life on the Lam

One of the areas of curiosity about Whitey Bulger is how he spent sixteen years eluding the authorities. During his years as a fugitive rumors arose from time to time, especially in the south Boston neighborhoods which regarded him as their own. One rumor had him fleeing to Ireland, where his former allies in the IRA were sheltering him from the prying eyes of the authorities. Another had him in Brazil. Clearly Bulger had prepared for the day he needed to run and was ready when it finally came. Nearly all of the time he spent on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list was idled away in Santa Monica.

Lindsey Cyr, Bulger’s former girlfriend and the mother of his son received annual visits for interviews with the US Marshals during Bulger’s absence, and reported hearing from him from time to time, the last time being in 2003. She was not told his location, and when the Marshal’s informed her that Bulger was running out of money she indicated that she doubted the assertion. Cyr claimed that Bulger had millions of dollars in cash stashed at various locations, and several passports. When he was found Bulger did claim to be nearly out of money, until investigators found several hundred thousand dollars hidden in the walls of his apartment.

Bulger did travel extensively during his first few years on the run, at first accompanied by Theresa Stanley, a girlfriend at the time of his flight. After she tired of life on the run he returned her to Boston and was joined by Catherine Grieg, whose former husband had been Bobby McGonagle, brother of Donald McGonagle, killed by Bulger years earlier. During their travels they visited Alcatraz as tourists, and Bulger had a photograph of the couple taken while they posed in prison garb. He told authorities once captured that they traveled to Europe and Mexico before settling in Santa Monica as a retired couple.

Grieg did all of the shopping, which was not an unusual sight in the area, where there were several elderly couples and retirees. A convalescent home was across the street from their Santa Monica apartment, which was rent controlled. In short, Bulger wasn’t seen very often by other than his immediate neighbors, and over time even that was less and less. Usually when Grieg left the apartment it was very early, and the couple presented themselves as sedentary retirees, asking few questions and avoiding social settings where they were likely to be asked.

In the end it was Grieg who led the FBI to Bulger. From interviewing her family and former friends the FBI learned that she was fastidious about her appearance, including her teeth, and had had cosmetic surgery in the past. The FBI focused its search for her using trade magazines and newsletters from the American Dental Association. It also produced a public service announcement which it ran just before receiving the tip which led them to Bulger. The PSA asked viewers to be on the lookout for the couple, and after sixteen years of hiding, Bulger was found following a tip received from a former neighbor.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
A wanted poster for former Winter Hill Gang leader James J. Bulger. Massachusetts State Police

The Winter Hill Gang

During the early 1970s the Winter Hill gang – named for the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville – took over several gambling operations run by rivals by killing their operators. Afterwards, inept management of the operations by its new owners caused the gang to lose, rather than gain, large amounts of money. By the late 1970s the gang was forced to borrow money from the Italian Patriarca crime family and to raise enough money to pay the interest on the loans the gang began fixing horse races at tracks in New England.

FBI investigators built a case against most of the members of the Winter Hill gang, including Bulger and Flemmi, and Massachusetts State Police also were preparing indictments against them. Prosecutors were persuaded not to indict either Bulger or Flemmi (by John Connolly) and they were named as unindicted co-conspirators when more than two dozen of the Winter Hill gang were charged with racketeering for fixing races. With nearly all of the Winter Hill gang behind bars, Bulger and Flemmi took over the remnants.

Having seen the cost of gambling operations and their potential pitfalls, Bulger disassociated himself and the gang from directly operating gambling, and focused instead on protection of other bookmakers and numbers rackets. He also shook down and intimidated those gamblers who did not avail themselves of his services. Bulger and Flemmi continued to feed information to the FBI and enjoy its protection as they developed cases against the Patriarca family. By the mid-1980s the Patriarca family had been all but destroyed by the FBI investigations into their operations, leaving the door open for Bulger and Stephen Flemmi to control all of the organized crime in Boston.

During the 1980s, while working with Connolly, Bulger was personally involved in several more murders, including the icepick stabbing of Louie Litif, a bookmaker and cocaine dealer. Bulger was widely believed by mob associates to have carried out this murder himself, stabbing the victim with the icepick and then shooting him in the mouth, after which the body was stuffed in a trash bag in the trunk of his car. The killing was in retaliation for Litif’s not paying Bulger a cut from the profits of his cocaine dealing and for allegedly committing two murders without Bulger’s permission.

Later a witness came forward to inform the FBI that he had seen Bulger and Flemmi murder Litif. The witness was a cocaine dealer who offered the information to the FBI in return for an opportunity to enter the witness protection program. The cocaine dealer was named Edward Halloran, known on the streets as Balloonhead, and also had information linking Bulger and Flemmi to the murder of Roger Wheeler. FBI agent Connolly and his supervisor John Morris ensured Bulger was informed of Halloran’s dealings with the FBI.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Two died when Bulger learned that a former associate was at Anthony’s Pier 4 in South Boston. US DOJ

Murder of Edward Halloran

In May 1982 Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi were informed that Edward Halloran, who went by his middle name of Brian, had been meeting with the FBI out of town, and was back in South Boston. Bulger sent Kevin Weeks to find Halloran and keep watch on him while he and another man – likely an associate of Bulger’s named James Flynn but possibly Patrick Nee, who denied involvement – armed themselves. Weeks learned that Halloran was having dinner at Anthony’s Pier Four, at the time one of the most financially successful restaurants in New England. It was located in South Boston.

Bulger and his accomplice waited in the parking lot in a car. Both men were in disguise. Bulger carried a rifle, his accomplice was armed with a MAC 10, equipped with a suppressor. A MAC 10 is a machine pistol capable of a rate of fire exceeding 1,000 rounds per minute while the suppressor both lessens the noise of firing and makes the weapon easier to control while firing. Bulger also carried a walkie-talkie, allowing him to communicate with Weeks, who was in a position to watch the door and Halloran’s movements.

Inside the restaurant Halloran encountered Michael Donahue, a friend of his. They had not planned on meeting and when Halloran explained that he had not driven to the restaurant Donahue offered him a ride home. Donahue was a truck driver by trade and a member of the Teamsters and other than his acquaintance with Halloran had no known connections with the Winter Hill gang or any other criminal activities.

When Donahue and Halloran left the restaurant, Weeks informed Bulger that Halloran was moving, using the message over the walkie-talkie, “The balloon is up,” a reference to Halloran’s nickname of Balloonhead. Once they were in Donahue’s car Bulger and the other gunman opened fire, with the MAC 10 rounds riddling the car. Donahue was hit in the head and died instantly. Halloran was badly wounded, but survived long enough to inform the authorities that his assailant had been James Flynn. He did not identify Bulger as the second killer.

When Stephen Flemmi turned government witness he stated that Patrick Nee, a Winter Hill associate and IRA member, had been the gunman. Kevin Weeks on the other hand claimed that Bulger had been one of the gunmen. James Flynn was arrested and tried for the murder; he was acquitted. A civil trial later established that the federal government had been responsible for the murder of Michael Donahue and Edward Halloran, through the actions of Connolly and Morris, who provided information regarding Halloran’s whereabouts to the killers.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Kevin Weeks called contacts within the Massachusetts State Police even more valuable than those in the FBI. Massachusetts State police

Richard Schneiderhan and the Massachusetts State Police

Besides receiving information from the FBI through John Connolly and his supervisor, Bulger relied on information from the Massachusetts State Police. In interviews, long-time Bulger associate Kevin Weeks has repeatedly stated that the information received from the Massachusetts State Police was far more valuable to Bulger in pursuit of his criminal activities and his avoidance of arrest for so many years, despite the number of crimes attributed to him. Information from the Massachusetts State Police came directly from the District Attorney’s Organized Crime Unit.

Richard Schneiderhan was an investigator with the Massachusetts State Police and over a period of ten years when he worked within the Organized Crime Unit he rose to become its Chief Intelligence Officer. This placed him in a position from which he worked with prosecutors, other investigators, and federal officers as part of the overall effort to eliminate organized crime in Massachusetts, and especially in Boston. As a liaison between agencies, he was in a position to be aware of the efforts of other investigating agencies, fostering an atmosphere of co-operation between the state and federal efforts.

Schneiderhan was in contact with Stephen Flemmi, and provided Flemmi with information regarding ongoing investigations, including the presence of wiretaps, which Flemmi passed on to Bulger. Schneiderhan was also in contact with Kevin Weeks. How the gangsters compensated Schneiderhan has never been established. It is widely believed that Schneiderhan accepted cash payments for the information, although that charge has never been proved by the authorities. Schneiderhan was a long-time friend of Flemmi’s and it is possible that he provided the information out of friendship alone.

When the FBI put both of Bulger’s brothers under telephone surveillance through wiretaps, Schneiderhan passed the information along to Kevin Weeks, who in turn passed it to Bulger. It was Weeks who later gave the grand jury information which incriminated Schneiderhan, as part of the former’s deal to co-operate with the authorities following his own indictment and Bulger’s disappearance. Schneiderhan had by then been long retired, but he maintained contacts with the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, and both Flemmi and Weeks.

Schneiderhan was charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy after his role supplying information to the Winter Hill Gang became known, and was sent to federal prison. Because it was determined that the crimes for which he had been convicted occurred after his retirement he continued to draw his pension from the Massachusetts State Police following his conviction. He was released from prison in 2006 and died in 2015. He was never charged for providing information while active with the State Police, although Kevin Weeks claimed his services were of much more value to the gang than those of the FBI.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Bulger (left) and Flemmi intimidated drug dealers into paying for protection before moving into the market in Boston. FBI

The Boston Illegal Drug Trade

Both state and federal authorities were aware of Bulger’s control of most of the drug trade in Boston, but were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to make an arrest or build a case against him. Bulger controlled the drug market by threatening dealers with being killed if they did not co-operate with him, and his shakedown tactics brought most of the dealers to heel. Bulger at first did not involve himself in drug dealing beyond obtaining protection money and tribute. As the 1980s wore on he began to become more actively involved in the illegal drug trade.

Through the drug trade Bulger enhanced his mythical reputation of protecting the south Boston neighborhoods by refusing to allow heroin into the area. He also let it be known that his dealers were not to sell drugs to children. In truth, heroin was available in South Boston and Bulger was aware of it, he simply had his dealers concentrate on the sale of cocaine and marijuana.

When a major raid initiated by the Drug Enforcement Agency severely crippled South Boston’s cocaine market by taking most of the dealers off the streets, none of the arrested dealers would provide information to the authorities regarding Bulger’s involvement, out of fear of the retaliation the gang would launch. Fear of Bulger and his vengeance outweighed the sentences handed out by a court, and dealers were well aware that Bulger could reach them even in custody if he learned that they were making a deal with the authorities.

Efforts by investigators to develop evidence of Bulger’s involvement with the drug trade through surveillance using wiretaps was ineffective due to information received from the FBI via John Connolly and through the Massachusetts State Police. Bulger and Flemmi were aware of the dangers of being compromised by recorded phone conversations and avoided them as much as possible, preferring to discuss business face to face in open and ever changing locations.

Not until Bulger was on the run and both Weeks and Flemmi were providing information to the FBI and state officials was the level of Bulger’s involvement in the drug trade made evident. According to Kevin Weeks, Bulger’s profits from the sale of drugs and the shakedowns of drug dealers exceeded $30 million over the course of his involvement. Weeks also claimed that Bulger was finished with the drug business in 1990, following the DEA raid which crippled the cocaine market in the Boston area by sweeping up most of the major dealers.

10 Heinous Crimes of Whitey Bulger and His Organized Crime Kingdom
Bulger murdered Flemmi’s girlfriend Debra Davis, and later the daughter of another Flemmi girlfriend, Deborah Hussey, by strangling them. CNN

Murders by strangulation

During Bulger’s trial in Boston his long-time associate and friend Stephen Flemmi told of standing by while Bulger strangled Deborah Hussey. Hussey was the daughter of Flemmi’s former girlfriend and he had known Deborah since she was a baby. Their relationship was such that Deborah called Flemmi “Daddy.” Flemmi also testified that he had had consensual oral sex with Deborah on two occasions, after her behavior had changed due to the abuse of drugs and engaging in prostitution in order to support her habit. It was the changed behavior which led Bulger to killing her.

Bulger was concerned that Hussey had become a liability to the Winter Hill gang because of her unstable behavior, which could lead to an arrest and then a deal with prosecutors. While working as a prostitute in Boston’s Combat Zone Deborah had taken to mentioning her close relationship with both Flemmi and Bulger, persuading gang members and others aware of their menace, to advance her money, drugs, or both. Bulger told Flemmi that she would have to be eliminated, and Flemmi agreed to bring her to him, in a house he had used to commit murders before (and in which bodies were buried in the basement).

Flemmi brought Deborah to the house, waiting outside the kitchen as Bulger strangled the 26 year old Hussey to death, which according to Flemmi, “…didn’t take long.” It was not the first time that Flemmi watched Bulger strangle a woman; four years earlier Bulger had strangled Flemmi’s then girlfriend, Debra Davis, to death, after which he told Flemmi to clean up his mess. Once the murder was complete Bulger went upstairs to lie down for a nap, which was customary for him following the act of murder.

Flemmi took the body downstairs to the basement and buried it in the floor, after first extracting the teeth to prevent identification via dental records. On the stand Flemmi admitted that he could not complete the task of removing all of the teeth, calling the job a “gruesome task.” He also removed her clothes to impede identification in the event the body was discovered. It was buried next to the body of Arthur Barrett, whom Bulger had murdered in the house by shooting him in the head years before, and Flemmi had buried him as well. After turning state’s witness Flemmi led investigators to the house and told them who was buried there.

It is impossible to know for certain how many murders were committed by Whitey Bulger. He was charged with 19 and convicted for 11. Given his proclivity for violence and his clear lack of remorse one can assume that there were more, and probably many more. After his years on the run a cult has arisen around him creating a legend of his being a sort of Robin Hood like figure in South Boston, preying only on fellow criminals, rather than innocent civilians, and protecting the community from the Italian mafia from North Boston. In fact, he preyed on anyone and anything, driven by his greed and his lust for violence.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Six facts about Boston Gang Leader James “Whitey” Bulger”, by Tricia Escobedo, CNN, August 14, 2015

“Bulger on trial. The Complete Guide to Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster”, WBUR, wbur.org

“When Whitey Bulger was an FBI Informant”, by Patrick Keefe, The New Yorker, September 21, 2015

“Long Elusive, Mob Legend ended up a Recluse”, by Adam Nagourney and Amy Goodnough, The New York Times, June 23, 2011

“Silence earns mobster Whitey Bulger’s girlfriend 21 more months in prison”, by J. M. Lawrence, The Guardian, April 28, 2016

“Brutal: My Life in Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob”, by Kevin Weeks

“A Criminal and an Irishman: The Inside Story of the Boston Mob-IRA Connection”, by Patrick Nee