News Column

Bulger Witness Says Where the Bodies Are, Recounts Ghoulish Humor

July 9, 2013

The man James "Whitey" Bulger picked and trained as his top assistant described in numbing detail the systematic way the crime boss and his partner Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi went about eliminating victims.

Kevin Weeks, the bulky strong arm man who called Bulger his "mentor" testified that he knows what happened to the victims because he was often on hand to dig makeshift graves, sometimes in the dirt-floored cellars of South Boston houses and other times along the marshy beaches to the south.

Bulger's behavior when it came to murder could be ghoulish, Weeks testified. Sometimes, he said, Bulger picked up at pair of binoculars to peer at a secret gravesite from a condominium he owned in Quincy.

Another time, Weeks said, Bulger attempted what apparently was a joke when driving by Tenean Beach in Dorchester, where he and his partners had buried the body of small time South Boston hoodlum Paul McGonagle.

"Drink up, Paulie," Weeks recalled Bulger saying, "The tide's coming in."

Weeks, 57, began a second day of testimony under direct examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly in macabre fashion, describing his assistance in five murders. Weeks agreed to cooperate with the prosecution against his old friend and boss Bulger after being indicted for racketeering in 1999. Weeks served a five-year prison sentence after making a deal with the government.

Not long after he agreed to cooperate, Weeks began leading a parade of detectives and forensic specialists around the city, pointing out the gang's secret graves. One of those was the final resting place of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett.

Barrett was a safe cracker and suspected of participating in the multi-million dollar robbery of the Depositors Trust Bank in Medford. Weeks said Bulger, Flemmi and he wanted whatever money Barrett had. They tricked him into meeting them at a vacant house house owned by an associate in South Boston.

Weeks said the three handcuffed Barrett, chained him to a chair and tortured him for an entire day. Before it was over Weeks said Barrett had directed him to $57,000 in cash, some of it hidden in a safe and some hidden in a Boston bar.

When it appeared that Barrett had nothing more to give, Weeks said, Bulger announced that Barrett was going to "lie down in the cellar."

Weeks said Barrett was praying when Bulger led him, hobbled by the chains, to the cellar stairway.

At the top of the stairs, he said, Bulger put a gun at the back of Barrett's head and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.

He said Bulger pulled out a pair of eyeglasses to closely inspect his pistol and noticed he had left the safety on. He fired again and, Weeks said, Barrett tumbled down the stairs.

Weeks said Bulger lay down on a couch for a nap, while he and Flemmi took care of Barrett's body. He said Flemmi removed the teeth to hamper identification of the body. Weeks said he dug the hole.


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