GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 10, 2013

Bulger trial: Testimony tied to Gloucester

From Staff and Wire Reports
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Gloucester and a local fishing vessel were featured in Tuesday’s testimony at the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, accused in a 32-count racketeering indictment of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 killings.

Bulger, 83, and his once-loyal criminal apprentice Kevin Weeks, 57, had an angry, profanity-laced exchange in court after the former aide called Bulger and his partner “the two biggest rats.”

Weeks was referring to the prosecution’s claim that Bulger and his longtime cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, were FBI informants on the rival New England Mafia while they were both committing a litany of crimes.

It was somewhat ironic as at least one of the three murders Weeks outlined in brutal detail Tuesday was that of John McIntryre, a mechanic aboard the Gloucester-based fishing vessel Valhalla, which was used by cohorts of Bulger’s to ship weapons to the Irish Republican Army off Ireland’s coast.

Weeks described in court Tuesday how he and Bulger came to Gloucester in September 1984 to watch the 7 1/2 tons of weapons — automatic rifles, submachine guns and hand grenades worth $1 million — get loaded on the Valhalla. Weeks said he met McIntyre that day.

The weapons were transferred to another boat in international water, but were then seized by Irish authorities. Weeks said the Valhalla eluded the authorities and returned to Boston in a storm. McIntyre and the Valhalla’s captain, the late Robert Anderson, of Gloucester, were questioned at the dock but let go.

Anderson and McIntyre were involved in smuggling 36 tons of marijuana in another ship, the Ramsland, on the return trip, Weeks said. The drugs were seized when the boat reached Boston.

Weeks said Bulger learned from FBI agent John Connolly that two people on Valhalla could have spoken with authorities about the gun-running scheme and the marijuana.

He described how McIntyre was invited to invest in another load of marijuana, a ruse to set up a meeting between the fisherman and Bulger at a home at 799 E. Third St. in South Boston.

Weeks said McIntyre was chained to a chair and interrogated by Bulger, who held a machine gun.

After McIntyre admitted he was cooperating with law enforcement, Bulger wrapped a rope around his neck and tried to strangle McIntyre, Weeks said. The rope was too thick and the pressure caused McIntyre to vomit, he said.

“Jim says to him, ‘Do you want one in the head?’ and he said, ‘Yes, please,’” Weeks said.

Bulger then shot him in the head, Weeks said. When that didn’t kill him, Bulger shot him several more times, Weeks said.

McIntyre was one of three people who were buried in the same house after Bulger killed them, Weeks said.

He said he was at a South Boston house with Bulger in 1985 when he heard that 26-year-old Deborah Hussey, the daughter of Flemmi’s longtime girlfriend, would be coming over.

While Weeks was upstairs, he heard a thud coming from below him.

“Jim Bulger had her on the ground, choking her,” he said.

Flemmi carried her to the basement but thought she was still alive. Flemmi wrapped a rope around her neck, put a stick in it and strangled her, Weeks said.

He said Flemmi then removed her teeth and they buried her under the dirt floor.

Weeks said he helped move the bodies on Halloween 1995 when the house was being sold. In 2000, after he began cooperating with the government, he led authorities to the new location, a hole in the ground near Florian Hall in the Dorchester section of Boston.

During cross-examination, Bulger’s lawyer focused largely not on the crimes Bulger is charged with, but instead on trying to get Weeks to acknowledge that Bulger loathed anyone who was a rat.

Weeks bristled at attorney J.W. Carney Jr.’s suggestion that he had beaten the system and that he wasn’t bothered by his participation in five killings.

“How does it bother you?” Carney asked.

“Because we killed people that were rats, and I had the two biggest rats right next to me,” Weeks snapped.

Bulger and Weeks then exchanged profanities before Judge Denise Casper moved to restore order.

“Hey!” Casper said. “Mr. Bulger, let your attorneys speak for you. Mr. Weeks, here’s how this works: You answer the questions, OK?”

Weeks, 57, said he decided to cooperate with prosecutors and testify after learning that Bulger and Flemmi were informants.

The outburst came on the second day of Weeks’ testimony against Bulger. Bulger, 83, is accused of playing a role in 19 killings during the 1970s and ‘80s while he allegedly led the Winter Hill Gang.

Bulger has pleaded not guilty and insists he was never an FBI informant. During the trial, his lawyers have focused much of their energy on rebutting the informant claim.

Weeks, who started working for Bulger as an enforcer in the late 1970s, said Bulger was a mentor, friend and “like an older brother to me.”

“He treated me great,” he said.

Weeks said he helped Bulger even after Bulger fled Boston in 1994 when he learned he was about to be indicted.

That changed, Weeks said, when he learned that Bulger and Flemmi had been FBI informants for years. He said that went against the South Boston culture to never rat on your friends or your enemies.

Carney asked Weeks if he was concerned that he’d be seen as a rat after he made his deal with prosecutors to testify against Bulger and Flemmi.

“You can’t rat on a rat,” Weeks said.

Carney asked Weeks if, during the two decades he spent working with Bulger, he made it clear that “what he hated above all else was informants.”

“We killed people for being informants,” Weeks said.

Carney also asked Weeks if Bulger was ever charged, despite being involved in “all manner of crimes,” including extortion, loan-sharking, money-laundering and, sometimes “crimes of violence.”

Weeks acknowledged that Bulger was not charged until 1995.

The defense contends that Bulger paid FBI agents, state police and local police for information on investigations so he could stay one step ahead of any indictment.

Weeks said he saw Bulger stuffing envelopes with cash at Christmas and Bulger told him the money was for various law enforcement officials, including six FBI agents he claimed he had corrupted.

Former FBI Agent John Connolly was convicted for tipping Bulger off to his 1995 indictment. Bulger fled in late 1994, just before the indictment, and was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

Flemmi is serving a life sentence for 10 murders.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.