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Whitey Bulger trial: 'Rifleman' Flemmi describes 'death house' murders (+video)

Stephen 'the Rifleman' Flemmi, in a third day of testimony, told of four murders he said Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger carried out himself, three at the same South Boston home.

By Staff writer / July 22, 2013

Steve Davis speaks to reporters about his sister, alleged murder victim Debra Davis, outside US District Court in Boston on Monday,after the session of James 'Whitey' Bulger's murder and racketeering trial ended for the day.

Steven Senne/AP

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In his third day of testimony, Stephen “the Rifleman” Flemmi testified in gritty detail to a seemingly unending litany of murder and mayhem across South Boston in the 1980s, guided by gang leader James “Whitey” Bulger.

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Testifying in US District Court, which overlooks the South Boston that was the home turf of Mr. Bulger’s Winter Hill gang for more than two decades, Mr. Flemmi showed little emotion while describing the extortion, money laundering, illegal drug sales, and gun running that were the gang’s stock and trade.

It was murder and a ruthless willingness to drop the hammer on anyone who might one day become a witness against the gang – or even someone who was simply a dropper of gang names to impress people – that was Bulger’s purview, Flemmi testified.

On Friday, Flemmi detailed how he helped plan – and mop up after – the killing of mob figures, businessmen, and potential informants, or “rats,” including even Flemmi’s own girlfriend, Debra Davis.

Flemmi picked up on Monday with four examples of murders that he said Bulger carried out himself, saying he either witnessed the killings himself or was told of them in detail by Bulger. One alleged victim was Brian Halloran, an associate of the gang, who was killed in a hail of gunfire by Bulger, Flemmi said Bulger told him. But he witnessed the killings of three other Bulger victims included Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, a small-time crook; John McIntyre, a gun runner, and Deborah Hussey, Flemmi’s stepdaughter.

In each of the latter three cases, Flemmi testified that Bulger had insisted each victim had to be killed because they were likely either to become informants or to testify in court against them. Each was lured to the same South Boston home and then murdered, he said.

In the case of Hussey, Flemmi said Bulger “stepped out from behind the top of the basement stairs, grabbed her by the throat, and started strangling her.... It didn’t take long. She was a very fragile woman.”

In each case, Flemmi said he and other gang members then “cleaned up” by discarding the victims’ clothing and removing teeth to hinder identification, before burying them in the basement. Bulger, meanwhile, would take a nap or relax in an upstairs room of the house after his killings, Flemmi said.

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