Bulger Trial: Whitey's Dastardly Basketball Bomb Plot and More

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The very long trial of notorious Boston criminal mastermind James "Whitey" Bulger continued today with the boss's former protegé Kevin Weeks giving grisly details about murders and plots the Winter Hill Gang carried out during the crime-filled 1970s and 1980s in South Boston. 

Bulger (left) is facing a 32-count indictment for allegedly killing 19 people and being protected because of his status as an FBI informant, among other crimes, during a 30-year reign as one of the most terrifying criminals in Boston's underworld, and Weeks (above, right) is one of the prosecution's key witnesses. Today, Weeks told the court about how, with the help of Bulger and right-hand man Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, the gang terrorized the other unsavory characters in Boston. Weeks did so before being cross-examined by prosecutor Brian Kelly and Bulger's attorney, J.W. Carney.

Weeks gave specific details about the murders of Arthur “Bucky” Barrett, a safe-cracker the gang killed over $1 million Barrett allegedly stole from a bank; John McIntyre, an informant who was cooperating with the feds; and Deborah Hussey, the daughter of Stephen Flemmi’s longtime girlfriend Marion Hussey, who Bulger allegedly strangled (twice) for reasons that remain a mystery to this day. Weeks said the gang took McIntyre to a basement, the same one they used to torture Barrett, to interrogate him and, eventually, kill him. Bulger tried to strangle McIntyre but the rope he was using was too thick. Then, this allegedly happened

“You want one in the back of the head?” Bulger asked.

“Yes, please,” McIntyre responded.

Bulger shot him in the head, Weeks said. Flemmi thought he was still alive, so Bulger fired several more shots, according to Weeks’ testimony. McIntyre was also buried in the basement.

The intense day of questioning was filled with icy stares between old friends, expletives flying around the courtroom in all directions, and at least one plot to kill a local newspaper columnist with a bomb in a basketball. Weeks testified that Bulger wanted to kill Boston Herald columnist and local radio personality Howie Carr.

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According to reporters and lawyers following the trial in Boston, Weeks said they plotted to kill Carr at one point by putting C4 explosive into a basketball and blowing it up in his driveway. (How has this not been in a Michael Bay movie yet?) Bulger allegedly decided that shooting Carr would be much simpler. Weeks was all ready to go through with it, too. "I know what the house looked like, I know what the graveyard looked like," Weeks told the courtroom. But when Weeks was posted outside the house, gun in hand, and ready to do the hit, he changed his mind when Carr left his house with his daughter under his arm. The gangster couldn't kill a father in cold blood. 

Near the end of Bulger lawyer J.W. Carney's cross-examination of Weeks, tensions boiled over in the courtroom. After Carney implied that Weeks was a rat, just like his former boss who's on trial, Weeks took offense. "I walk the streets of South Boston, I walk the streets of Boston. I don't worry about it," Weeks told the courtroom. At one point he told Carney to call him a rat in the street and see what happens. Eventually Bulger, who spent much of Weeks's testimony quietly seething in his chair, had seen enough. Weeks said he felt bad for the informants they killed because "I had the biggest two rats in front of me," meaning Bulger and Flemmi. The boss cursed at Weeks from his seat, saying "fuck you" loud enough for the whole room to hear. Weeks responded with a "fuck you" of his own. Bulger was reduced to playground insults at this point. "You suck," he said. "What are you going to do?" Weeks asked, before the judge told them both to shush. Shortly after, another emotional day of blockbuster testimony in the Bulger trial finished for the day.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.