Friday 23 February 2018

Bulger getaway car used oil-slicks smoke-screens on hits, trial told

James "Whitey" Bulger

Nick Allen Los Angeles

James "Whitey" Bulger, the alleged Boston crime boss on trial for 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s, put on a wig and floppy moustache and used a "hit car" that could emit oil-slicks and smokescreens during a drive-by double shooting, a court has heard.

Bulger (83), who spent years on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, pumped bullets into one of his victims until he "started bouncing on the ground", the jury in his trial was told.

Kevin Weeks (57) giving evidence against his former boss, described how in 1982 Bulger decided to kill Brian Halloran, whom he suspected of working with the FBI. Weeks was sent to conduct surveillance, parking at a restaurant only a few blocks from the Boston court where Bulger is now on trial.

He could see Mr Halloran, who was nicknamed "Balloon Head", at a bar across the road. When he left in a car Weeks radioed Bulger that "the balloon is rising", the court heard.

His boss, wearing the disguise, then pulled up in another car. Weeks said: "He slid across the front seat and he yelled out, 'Brian!' and he proceeded to start shooting. Brian Halloran went down, and Jim Bulger just kept shooting. His body was bouncing on the ground."

Bulger then fled in a 1975 Chevrolet Malibu which had been altered to send out a smokescreen or oil slick to deter pursuers, the court heard.

Three years later, Weeks was called to a house in South Boston, where he had already taken part in two execution-style killings, he told the court.

Waiting for him were Bulger, Deborah Hussey and her stepfather Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi. According to Weeks, the men feared Ms Hussey would testify against them.

He said Bulger choked her, and Flemmi pulled out her teeth before telling him to dig a grave in the dirt floor. Weeks said he placed her on top of an earlier victim, adding: "We were kind of running out of room down there."

Weeks testified about two of the murders that Bulger is accused of – Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue, who he suspected had been talking with the FBI in 1982.

Weeks said Bulger put on a wig and a floppy moustache and waited outside a restaurant where Halloran was dining – only a few blocks from the federal courthouse where Bulger is now on trial.

Donahue's son, Tommy, called Weeks' testimony "horrific".

"It's horrible listening to that. It shakes my whole entire family," said Donahue, who added that he was angry that Weeks in his testimony denied knowing the identity of another person in the car with Bulger at the time of the shooting.


"I think he's a liar in a lot of ways," Donahue said. "He knows exactly who was in the car with Whitey that killed my father, and I think they've been protecting him since day one."

Weeks turned on his former boss when he learned that Bulger for years had been talking with corrupt FBI agent John Connolly.

He is the second of three top associates of the gang to testify at the trial, now in its fifth week at US District Court in Boston.

Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges, although in opening statements his lawyer said he had been an extortionist, loan shark and drug dealer.

Irish Independent

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