The Chicago Syndicate: Kevin Weeks
Showing posts with label Kevin Weeks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Weeks. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

James #WhiteyBulger Killed in Federal Prison

James "Whitey" Bulger, who lived a double life as one of Boston's most notorious mobsters and as a secret FBI informant, was killed after being transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia, the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday, citing two unnamed officials. Bulger was 89 and serving a sentence of life in prison, and had recently been transferred to the high-security Hazelton penitentiary in West Virginia, according to NBC News, which also reported the death but did not specify the cause.

Henry Brennan, a defense lawyer for Bulger, said in an email he could not confirm or deny the reports.

Officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bulger was convicted in August 2013 of 11 murders, among other charges including racketeering, and sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years.

Prison had been something Bulger had gone to great lengths to avoid - killing potential witnesses, cultivating corrupt lawmen and living as a fugitive for 16 years. It all ended when a tip from a former Icelandic beauty queen led to his capture in June 2011 in Santa Monica, California, where he was living with a long-time girlfriend.

Bulger and his Winter Hill gang had operated for more than two decades in the insular Irish-dominated South Boston neighborhood, engaging in loan sharking, gambling, extortion, drug dealing and murder. They did so with the tacit approval of an FBI agent who looked the other way when it came to Bulger's crimes so that he would supply information on other gangsters.

Bulger, portrayed by Johnny Depp in a 2015 film "Black Mass," was feared for his short temper and brutality. Prosecutors said he strangled two women with his hands and tortured a man for hours before shooting him in the head with a machine gun.

"We took what we wanted," Kevin Weeks, a former Bulger lieutenant who would eventually testify against him, wrote in his memoir, "Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob." "We made millions through extortion and loansharking and protection. And if someone ratted us out, we killed him. We were not nice guys."

Bulger was born Sept. 3, 1929, and grew up in South Boston. He was called "Whitey" because of his light blond hair but was said to detest the nickname and preferred being called Jimmy. As a teenager he joined a gang known as The Shamrocks, compiled an arrest record for assault and armed robbery and ended up in a juvenile reformatory.

Bulger was in prison from 1956 to 1965 for robbing banks and upon his release he fell in with the Irish mob in South Boston. He worked his way through the ranks as a bookie and loanshark, survived a gang war between two Irish mobs and was a leading figure in Boston's underworld by the early 1970s.

His career was boosted by his relationship with rogue FBI agent John J. Connolly, who Bulger had known since they were boys. Connolly was supposed to be in charge of getting information out of him and Bulger did provide information that helped the FBI go after his main rival, New England's Italian Mafia, as well as local criminals.

In return, Connolly let Bulger know about working investigations while Bulger and close associate Steve "The Rifleman" Flemmi carried on with impunity. After he retired from the FBI, Connolly tipped off Bulger about a coming indictment, sending the mobster on the run in 1995.

Connolly was convicted in 2008 of racketeering, taking bribes and second-degree murder for his role in the slaying of an accountant who Bulger and Flemmi feared would testify against them.

Bulger's former associates turned on him while he was at large and their information led to a 2000 indictment that originally charged him with 19 murders.

"The guy is a sociopathic killer," Tom Foley, who worked on Bulger cases for the Massachusetts State Police, told CNN. "He loved that type of life. He's one of the hardest and cruelest individuals that operated in the Boston area. He's a bad, bad, bad guy."

When Bulger fled, he first took Teresa Stanley, his girlfriend of 30 years, with him. After a few weeks at large, however, Stanley wanted to go home so Bulger dropped her off in the Boston area. He picked up another of his girlfriends, Catherine Greig, and disappeared again.

Bulger spent his final years of freedom in No. 303 of the Princess Eugenia apartment complex in Santa Monica with Greig.

One of their neighbors, Anna Bjornsdottir, a former U.S. television actress and Miss Iceland of 1974, earned a $2 million reward for turning in Bulger. She was watching a television news report about the Bulger manhunt when she recognized the man she knew by the name Charlie Gasko and notified the FBI.

At first he denied his identity but eventually told authorities, "You know who I am. I'm Whitey Bulger." More than $800,000 in cash and a cache of weapons was found hidden in the walls of his apartment.

Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $150,000 for helping Bulger evade capture. She is scheduled for release in September 2020.

Bulger's two-month trial for murder, extortion and drug dealing in 2013 was sometimes raucous. A parade of former associates testified against him, giving brutal details about how Bulger would kill enemies and then take a nap.

Sometimes Bulger sat silently at the defendant's table and at other times he engaged in profane shouting matches with witnesses such as Flemmi.

Bulger, who denied ever being an FBI informant, refused to testify on the grounds that the trial was a sham.

The U.S. Justice Department paid more than $20 million in damages to families of people killed by Bulger on the grounds that he was operating under government supervision while killing.

While Bulger was robbing banks and killing people, his younger brother Billy was acquiring political notoriety and power.

Billy served in the Massachusetts legislature for 35 years, including several years as president of the Senate, and then was president of the University of Massachusetts. He was forced to resign the latter job in 2003 after it was learned that eight years earlier he had spoken by phone with Whitey, who was a fugitive at the time, and did not report it to authorities.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob

Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob
I grew up in the Old Colony housing project in South Boston and became partners with James "Whitey" Bulger, who I always called Jimmy.

Jimmy and I, we were unstoppable. We took what we wanted. And we made people disappear—permanently. We made millions. And if someone ratted us out, we killed him. We were not nice guys.

I found out that Jimmy had been an FBI informant in 1999, and my life was never the same. When the feds finally got me, I was faced with something Jimmy would have killed me for—cooperating with the authorities. I pled guilty to twenty-nine counts, including five murders. I went away for five and a half years.

I was brutally honest on the witness stand, and this book is brutally honest, too; the brutal truth that was never before told. How could it? Only three people could tell the true story. With one on the run and one in jail for life, it falls on me. -- Kevin Weeks


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger

Writer Kevin Weeks was top Lieutenant to James "Whitey" Bulger, head of the South Boston Irish Mob, who was on the run for more than 16 years before his capture on June 22, 2011. While on the FBI Most Wanted list with a two million dollar reward, Whitey had been second only to Osama bin Laden. Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger, is a story of murder, friendship and loyalty within the mob, using many situations that Weeks could have omitted from his NYT bestselling memoir, Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob. While Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger, is fiction, its insider knowledge makes it all the more intriguing, with hints toward where Whitey and his companion Catherine Greig may actually have spent those 16 years on the run.

In this story, Joey Donahue is released from prison after serving six years for racketeering and crimes committed as deputy to the infamous South Boston Irish Mob boss and psychopathic murderer Whitey Bulger. This time, he is determined to stay clear of the life of crime that has supported him for the past twenty-five years. After a year of trying unsuccessfully to find a job due to his notorious association with Bulger, Joey finally surrenders to the temptation of a friend's offer to join him in a fast score, a simple robbery of a drug dealer that should pay the bills until he finds a viable job. The robbery turns out to be a sting operation set up by the FBI for the express purpose of forcing Joey to cooperate in the frustratingly unsuccessful search for his onetime mentor. With Joey reluctantly partnered with an FBI agent, the hunt for Whitey takes place against an international backdrop until the old friends finally meet up in a high-stakes climax, ending the game of cat and mouse once and for all.

It is speculated that Bulger is also the inspiration for the ruthless crime kingpin Francis "Frank" Costello, played by Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film The Departed.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Kevin Weeks Calls Whitey Bulger #BlackMass Movie Bogus

From 1978-1994, Kevin Weeks served as a member of the Winter Hill Gang, and a close friend, confidant, and henchman to Whitey Bulger. And he says Johnny Depp’s film is bogus.

“We really did kill those people,” says Kevin Weeks, the former mobster and right-hand man to notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger. “But the movie is a fantasy.”

The film that has Weeks riled up is Black Mass. Directed by Scott Cooper, it stars Johnny Depp as Winter Hill Gang leader James “Whitey” Bulger, and depicts the menacing Irishman’s rise up the criminal ranks from low-level gangster to the most feared criminal in not just his native South Boston, but the state of Massachusetts. Whitey was able to rise so far so fast thanks to his special relationship with the FBI, especially agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton)—an old neighborhood friend on Whitey’s payroll who’d funnel him information in exchange for intel on the local Italian mafia, led by Gennaro Angiulo. Bulger was eventually arrested in 2011 at an apartment complex in Santa Monica, California, after being on the run for 17 years, and was indicted for 19 murders. He was convicted of 11 of those murders, and is serving two consecutive life sentences behind bars. Interestingly enough, while Whitey’s reign of terror was going on, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) was the most powerful politician in the state, serving as president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

Weeks, who’s portrayed in the film by Friday Night Lights’ Jesse Plemons, started out in 1976 as a bouncer at Whitey’s local haunt Triple O’s, and by 1978 he was serving as Whitey’s driver and personal muscle. He officially joined the Winter Hill Gang full-time in 1982, and, along with Johnny Martorano and Stephen Flemmi, served as one of Whitey’s devoted henchmen. In 1999, Weeks was arrested on a 29-count indictment in a RICO case. In exchange for his damning grand testimony against Whitey, Weeks received a 5-year prison sentence. He was released in 2004, and has since penned three books, including the recent Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger, which hit shelves on July 22.

And to say that Weeks is unhappy with the film would be a major understatement. “My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron,” says Weeks. “I look like I have Down syndrome.”

According to Weeks, the filmmakers behind Black Mass “didn’t consult with anyone within the inner circle about the movie,” and as a result, there are major discrepancies between what really happened and what happens onscreen.

The Daily Beast spoke with Weeks—who saw the film opening night—who opened up about what Black Mass got right and wrong, the murders they committed, and a foiled attempt to assassinate Boston Herald journalist Howie Carr.

You saw Black Mass on Friday night. What did you think of it?

Very disappointing. The only resemblance to Whitey’s character was the hairline. The funny thing is, Whitey’s look didn’t really change at all, just his clothes. It’s like we were stuck in a time warp. And the mannerisms—the way that Whitey talked to us—he never swore at us. In all the years I was with that man, he never swore at me once. We never yelled at each other. The opening scene of me getting beaten up? That never happened. They also have me talking to a black FBI agent in the beginning of the film, but I wouldn’t talk to the FBI. I spoke to a DEA agent, Dan Doherty. And my cooperation came after Johnny Martorano started cooperating. Nothing in the film is chronological, really.

The biggest chronological discrepancy in the film was the death of Bulger’s son, which took place in 1973. The film makes it seem like his boy died later than that in order to position it as his motivation for upping his killing and crime activity.

They made it seem like that was the reason why. I wasn’t there for the death of his son—that happened before my time—but I was there for the death of his mother, which he took pretty bad. But really, Whitey was violent long before his son’s death. And the way the film portrays people like Stephen Flemmi and myself? We come across looking like a step away from Down syndrome, really. We’re portrayed as these low-life thugs that are borderline morons who haven’t washed for weeks. For all the money we were makin’, we came off like paupers. We dressed a certain way during the day, but at night we were wearing $2,700 Louis suits. There’s a scene early on in the film where Johnny Martorano’s character is at the bar Triple O’s, and is reaching into a peanut bowl, licking his fingers, and sticking them back into the bowl, and Whitey starts mocking him for it. First of all, Johnny Martorano was never in Triple O’s. Second, if Whitey ever started talking to Johnny like that—berating him—the movie would be over because Johnny would’ve shot him right then. As bad as Whitey was, Johnny was just as capable—if not more.

Right. Johnny was known as “The Basin Street Butcher.”

He was a violent killer. There’s another scene later on where Whitey is yelling at Stevie [Flemmi] in the car outside the police station where they’re waiting to pick up Deborah Hussey. The language is all wrong. We never really cursed like that unless we were grabbing somebody, and Whitey never would’ve berated Stevie, either. Stevie was a psychopath. Stevie would’ve killed him. And Stevie is portrayed as a very sympathetic character.

In the scene you mention, they pick up Hussey, take her to a house, and Whitey strangles her to death.

Right. And I’m already in the house—they show me in the background. The true story is that me and Jimmy went to that house and we were waiting for Stevie. That house was for sale, and we already had two bodies buried downstairs. When I get to the house with Jimmy, he says, “Oh, we’re waiting for Stevie and Deborah. Stevie might buy the place.” I go and use the bathroom upstairs, and as soon as I come down the stairs, I see Stevie and Deborah come in, and I hear boom-boom. I walk in and see that Jimmy had strangled her. I thought she was dead, but then Stevie put his head on her chest, said she was still alive, and he put a clothesline rope around her neck, put a stick in it and twisted. And then after, Stevie dragged her body downstairs and pulled her teeth out. So Stevie wasn’t all sympathetic, mourning, and sorrowful like he is in the movie. Stevie enjoyed murder.

Back to Johnny Depp’s performance as Whitey. The film made Whitey seem—relatively speaking—like a sympathetic character. He’s portrayed as a very loving family man.

He had a son, Douglas, and he did die of Reye’s syndrome, but Jimmy wasn’t this doting father. Lindsey [Cyr] lived in Quincy, and he used to preach to me all the time, “If you’re gonna be a criminal, you shouldn’t have kids. They’re a liability.” And that scene at the dinner table between Jimmy and Douglas where he tells his son, “Punch them when the other kid isn’t looking,” he didn’t talk to kids like that. He was my older son’s godfather and I remember the way he’d talk to my son. He just talked to him like he was a young kid. Oh, you playing baseball? Normal conversation. He didn’t bring business back to the house. So his portrayal of him, outside of the makeup, I couldn’t believe it. The hairline was fine but the teeth were terrible, too. Jimmy had one front tooth and a nerve in it had died so it was one shade less than white—a little yellow, ya know. And his girlfriend, Cathy [Greig], was a hygienist, so his teeth were in great shape except for that one tooth.

Whitey looks vampiric in the film—like a ghoul.

He really does. There’s one scene I have a really big problem with, and that’s a scene down in Miami. Now, I was never down in Miami and they never met Johnny [Martorano] down in Miami. They met Johnny out in a hotel by La Guardia Airport, and it was just Jimmy, Stevie, and Johnny who discussed the John Callahan murder, which came after Roger Wheeler. In the scene in the film, they have me down in Miami and we’re all sitting there. Callahan goes to give Jimmy a big of money and Jimmy says, “Give that to Kevin.” And I take it. And then Stevie supposedly propositions Brian Halloran to kill Roger Wheeler, and Jimmy notices Halloran’s demeanor and says, “Kevin, give him the bag with the $20,000 in it, and forget what you heard here.” That never happened. In fact, I didn’t know about Roger Wheeler’s death until the Callahan murder. So just by having me be there giving Halloran the money, they have involved me in a conspiracy to kill Roger Wheeler. I’ve been libeled. I wasn’t involved in that at all, so I have a big problem with that. I just don’t know where they get the right to put events in there that did not happen.

What about the turf war between the Winter Hill Gang and the Angiulo crime family?

Well, another scene in the beginning where Jimmy pulls up, I get in the car, then we drive somewhere and beat up a guy, and his name is “Joey Angiulo,” and he’s identified as Jerry Angiulo’s nephew. Just by saying that name, “Angiulo,” that never would’ve happened because if it did, there would have been a war. If it did, to make peace, Jerry Angiulo would’ve said, “Kill Kevin, and it’s over.” That scene did happen to another fellow, Paul Giaimo, and the story was that he’d slapped Whitey’s niece.  We got him in the car, drove up to M Street Park, proceeded to give him a beating, then drove him up to Cassidy’s and left the body out front so all his friends could see. Then we found out later on that we beat up the wrong person. But by making up this name and saying “Angiulo” and the mafia, it was so unrealistic. There would have been bodies in the streets if that happened.

As far as the FBI is concerned, the film seemed to really let the Bureau off the hook. John Connolly and John Morris are the only FBI agents in the film who seem to know about Whitey’s double-dealing, and they’re portrayed as sympathetic pawns, to a degree.

The FBI were the ones that enabled Jimmy and Stevie to survive. There’s a scene early on in the film where Connolly and Jimmy make this “alliance,” and then Jimmy goes back and tells Stevie about how they’re going to use the FBI against the mafia. That didn’t happen because Stevie had already been an important since 1965. In 1967, Flemmi and Frank Salemme blew up Joe Barboza’s attorney, John Fitzgerald, and then Stevie and Frankie went on the run, with Frankie going down to New York and Stevie going up to Montreal. Stevie comes back to Boston in 1974, and then the following year, Jimmy becomes an informant. And Connolly was on the payroll. We considered Connolly a criminal, too. He was our informant, and that’s how it was portrayed to all of us—that we were paying for his information. That’s why no one suspected that Jim Bulger was informing on us, because every time we made a score we’d put money aside to pay our contacts in law enforcement, and we were getting good information. Jimmy used to tell me, “I can call any one of six FBI agents and they’ll come to me and jump in this car with a machine gun and go on a hit.” One FBI agent actually gave us 17 kilos of C-4 which we were going to use to blow up a reporter, Howie Carr. Howie thought it was a made-up story, until he found out it was the truth.

Why did Bulger want to assassinate Howie Carr?

He was just a vicious bastard. He was attacking everybody—innocent people and everything. There was a time when we weren’t doing much and everything was running smoothly, and he wrote an article about this kid in South Boston who got killed, and Jimmy decided to make him a hobby and shut him up once and for all. When I look back on it, I wish we did kill him. He’s still the most hated reporter in Boston. Everybody hates him.

And it wasn’t just the FBI that knew about Whitey and what he was doing. Jeremiah O’Sullivan, the head of the organized crime task force, was giving information to Connolly. Every time Whitey or Stevie’s name was mentioned they’d give the information to Connolly knowing that Connolly would be giving the information to us. They were all on the payroll. All of them were receiving presents all the time—money, wine, trips. Some agents you couldn’t give money to because they’d feel insulted, so you’d give them a crystal or a Chelsea Clock. Everybody had their weakness.

One mystery surrounding Whitey Bulger is the Lady of the Dunes—the nickname for the body of the mysterious woman found at the Race Point Dunes. Many believe Bulger murdered her.

That wasn’t him. What happened was, because of Deborah Hussey and Debra Davis being killed, he used to visit Provincetown. And he’d usually have his girlfriend or a young girl he was with. But Whitey didn’t kill her. That’s just people jumping on it and saying, “It could have been him.” He didn’t do it.

But Whitey did kill Debra Davis, you’re saying? That murder was never actually proven to be Whitey’s doing.

I wasn’t there for Debra Davis—it was just Jim Bulger and Steve Flemmi—but here’s the story I was told: [Whitey] told me how when he was in the house with Stevie, they grabbed Debra, dragged her downstairs to the basement, and put her in a chair. She was being killed because she was going to leave Stevie, and he’d told her too much—including about his relationship with John Connolly. So she’s in the chair and Stevie begins putting duct tape around her. She had beautiful hair, so Jim Bulger said to me, “When the duct tape went around her face and her hair, that’s when I knew it was over.” And Stevie kissed her on the forehead and said, “You’re going to another place now.” And then Jim Bulger’s exact words to me were, “And then she was strangled.” So he didn’t say who strangled her.

The relationship between Whitey and his brother Billy has always fascinated me—that the most notorious crime boss in Boston could have a brother who, as president of the Massachusetts State Senate, was the most powerful politician in Massachusetts.

OK, I was up at Billy Bulger’s house over 100 times with Jimmy. He never discussed any street business or crime with Billy. It was always conversations about regular family stuff. There’s no doubt in my mind that Billy knew Jimmy was involved in the rackets, but as far as the murders, if Billy did hear something about that I bet he’d choose not to believe it, because he’s a very religious man. There was the case of Senator John E. Powers, who was a judge. He fired Whitey from being a janitor at the courthouse. Billy never forgave him for that because after Whitey was fired from that job, he started committing all these crimes and stuff. So when it came to John E. Powers getting a raise or anything like that, it never made it past Billy Bulger in the Senate. So if someone was attacking his family, sure, he would stick it to that person whatever way he could legally. But as far as shielding Whitey from investigations? Billy never did that. Never.

Whitey’s attorney, Hank Brennan, recently shot down Black Mass, saying that “the real menace to Boston during that time and in other mob cases around the country—the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program.”

Well, [Jay Carney, Bulger's other attorney] is a buffoon. I mean, really. He was supposed to defend Jim Bulger, and when he stood up and gave his opening remarks, he basically admitted to every charge. What, he’s spoken to Jim Bulger for a hundred hours, and that’s supposed to make him something? Now, he speaks about Jim like he’s his best friend. He doesn’t know a thing about the real Jim Bulger, what’s happened, or anything. He’s literally a buffoon.

But it was the federal government that enabled us to get as far as we did. Without their interference, we would’ve been a short-lived gang. In some cases, we knew about investigations before they’d even been approved, or received financing. And it wasn’t just Connolly and the FBI. There was a bug in the Lancaster Street Garage that was given to us by a state trooper. The state police keep trying to pin it all on the FBI, but they were tipping us off, too. Whitey had his hands in everything. He had FBI. He had the Boston Police. He had Quincy Police. He had one guy in the DEA who was saying stuff to Connolly. He had people all over law enforcement that were giving information to him. With the movie, there’s no accuracy at all. The premise of corruption with the FBI is right, but as far as the events, the people, and the personalities? You could’ve told the truth and the movie would’ve been more violent than it is but they fabricated events. The movie is pure fiction.

Thanks to Marlow Stern.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, Possible Witness at Whitey Bulger Mob Murder Trial, Found Dead of Disputed Suicide

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, a possible witness in the murder trial of alleged crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, has been found dead, authorities said.

The body of Rakes, 59, had "no obvious signs of trauma" and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Lincoln, Mass., Police Chief Kevin Mooney announced today. The corpse was found on Mill Street in Lincoln yesterday at 1:30 p.m., police said.

Rakes had been on the witness list and had been eager to testify that Bulger threatened his family at gunpoint and forced him to turn his liquor store into a front for the Winter Hill Gang. But earlier this week prosecutors informed Rakes he would not be called to testify, a decision that left Rakes "despondent," a source close to his family told ABC News.

The judge overseeing the Bulger case hunkered down with lawyers in a confidential conference at the South Boston courthouse today where the trial is being held. Bulger, alleged to be a notorious and murderous crime boss and federal informant, is standing trial after being found on the lam in California two years ago.

Federal prosecutors said Rakes was supposed to testify that Bulger and associate Stephen Flemmi threatened his daughter at gunpoint, and took over his South Boston liquor store for Bulger's headquarters. Bulger sidekick Kevin Weeks testified last week Rakes' contention that Bulger's gang put a gun to his daughter's head was bogus.

Rakes comes from a storied South Boston family. His brother Joseph Rakes was photographed in Stanley Forman's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph charging at an African-American man on Boston's City Hall with the sharp end of the American flag – which became the symbol of the racial unrest during the city's anti-busing crisis.

News of his death investigation came on the same day that Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi was slated to take the stand against Bulger. The two men ran the Winter Hill Gang for decades while also working as informants for the FBI, according to prosecutors and courtroom testimony.

Police told the Rakes family the death appeared to be a suicide. But a source close to the Rakes family told ABC News that "he had no phone, no wallet, and police are still looking for his car." The body of the man found in Lincoln was positively identified as Rakes this morning after a fingerprint match, sources said.

Rakes' longtime friend Steve Davis, whose sister Debbie was allegedly murdered by Bulger, had met him for breakfast daily before court. Davis said he last saw Rakes Tuesday in court but then couldn't reach him all night Tuesday and yesterday he did not meet him in the courthouse cafeteria for breakfast.

"Stippo would not kill himself. Absolutely not,'' Davis told ABC News this morning. "He was looking forward to taking the stand. He told me over and over he had a big bombshell to drop. He had everything to live for and was looking forward to his day in court."

Davis - who lost his sister, brother and father to homicide, and whose daughter was killed in a drunk driver accident - was devastated by the news.

"It doesn't make sense,'' Davis said.

Thanks to GMA.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bloom is Off Whitey's Rose

Friends of ours: James "Whitey" Bulger, Kevin Weeks, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi

Probably no one should be surprised that federal authorities would mark the anniversary of Whitey Bulger's disappearance in such a low-key fashion last week. There were no press conferences, no dramatic announcements or updates, just a three-paragraph release assuring the world that the FBI and other agencies remain on the case.

Bulger's former criminal protege, Kevin Weeks, theorized to the Globe's Shelley Murphy that Boston's most legendary mobster has been marooned in Europe since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which is probably as valid a theory as we're likely to hear. Weeks, after all, was the mobster's surrogate son.

There's something anticlimactic about these anniversaries, these nonupdates to one of the most dramatic tales in the city's recent history. If there's one thing James J. Bulger never was in his presence, it was monotonous. Yet that is exactly what he has become in his extended absence.

One thing has changed in his decade-plus on the lam: His cult of personality, the blood-soaked romance of his exploits, has utterly collapsed. Few kid themselves anymore that Bulger kept the drugs out of South Boston, or kept its streets safe with his unique brand of do-it-yourself justice. As that image has receded, as the keepers of the flame have faded away and 19 murder indictments are what's left of his legacy, Bulger has come to be seen for what he really is. If he's returned to Boston, it'll be as a serial killer - that's if there's a return at all, which has to be considered less likely than it was a decade ago.

Meanwhile, his exile has taken police on a wild ride from California to Chicago to Uruguay to New Zealand.

I've always been amused by the story of his brief, early-exile stay in Louisiana, where he befriended his neighbors and bought one couple a washing machine before his instincts told him it was time to move on. Just think: For him the ultimate disguise was as a nice guy.

As some predicted at the time of his last vanishing act, Bulger's everyman appearance has proved to be a nightmare for investigators. He has been sighted everywhere, and nowhere. On nearly every continent someone has thought they may have seen him, one dead end after another.

Coincidentally or not, his time in flight has been difficult for many of those close to him. His equally famous brother, William M. Bulger, has left politics and been driven from the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. Another brother, Jackie, is embroiled in a long fight to have his $65,000-a-year state pension restored after his convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice. Former FBI agent John Connolly is serving time on a racketeering conviction, and has been indicted for murder. Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi is serving a life sentence and cooperating with the authorities. Weeks, who served five years in prison, is writing a book. When Whitey Bulger went down, a lot of people went with him.

Pity the poor investigators, chasing a man who has been hiding from the police for decades. If there is anyone who knows where and how to hide, it's him.

But that sympathy has to pale next to the suffering of the survivors of his many alleged victims. For them, anniversary is probably too cheery a word to describe these annual reminders of law enforcement futility.

Catching Whitey still matters, of course. Now that the world knows how he manipulated the FBI to facilitate his felonious career, and how thoroughly certain officials sold out their public trust on his behalf, we need the public accounting that only a trial can bring. And there's the more personal accounting, too. His victims -- the survivors of his victims are, themselves, victims -- deserve the day they can face him in court.

Not much is left in Boston of the mob culture that made Whitey Bulger possible. The whole notion has become an anachronism. One of the few remaining pieces is the search for Bulger. His capture will be its epilogue, and it can't come soon enough

Thanks to
Adrian Walker

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