Murders by strangulation
During Bulger’s trial in Boston his long-time associate and friend Stephen Flemmi told of standing by while Bulger strangled Deborah Hussey. Hussey was the daughter of Flemmi’s former girlfriend and he had known Deborah since she was a baby. Their relationship was such that Deborah called Flemmi “Daddy.” Flemmi also testified that he had had consensual oral sex with Deborah on two occasions, after her behavior had changed due to the abuse of drugs and engaging in prostitution in order to support her habit. It was the changed behavior which led Bulger to killing her.
Bulger was concerned that Hussey had become a liability to the Winter Hill gang because of her unstable behavior, which could lead to an arrest and then a deal with prosecutors. While working as a prostitute in Boston’s Combat Zone Deborah had taken to mentioning her close relationship with both Flemmi and Bulger, persuading gang members and others aware of their menace, to advance her money, drugs, or both. Bulger told Flemmi that she would have to be eliminated, and Flemmi agreed to bring her to him, in a house he had used to commit murders before (and in which bodies were buried in the basement).
Flemmi brought Deborah to the house, waiting outside the kitchen as Bulger strangled the 26 year old Hussey to death, which according to Flemmi, “…didn’t take long.” It was not the first time that Flemmi watched Bulger strangle a woman; four years earlier Bulger had strangled Flemmi’s then girlfriend, Debra Davis, to death, after which he told Flemmi to clean up his mess. Once the murder was complete Bulger went upstairs to lie down for a nap, which was customary for him following the act of murder.
Flemmi took the body downstairs to the basement and buried it in the floor, after first extracting the teeth to prevent identification via dental records. On the stand Flemmi admitted that he could not complete the task of removing all of the teeth, calling the job a “gruesome task.” He also removed her clothes to impede identification in the event the body was discovered. It was buried next to the body of Arthur Barrett, whom Bulger had murdered in the house by shooting him in the head years before, and Flemmi had buried him as well. After turning state’s witness Flemmi led investigators to the house and told them who was buried there.
It is impossible to know for certain how many murders were committed by Whitey Bulger. He was charged with 19 and convicted for 11. Given his proclivity for violence and his clear lack of remorse one can assume that there were more, and probably many more. After his years on the run a cult has arisen around him creating a legend of his being a sort of Robin Hood like figure in South Boston, preying only on fellow criminals, rather than innocent civilians, and protecting the community from the Italian mafia from North Boston. In fact, he preyed on anyone and anything, driven by his greed and his lust for violence.
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