BOSTON July 23, 2013— -- The jury in the murder trial of James "Whitey" Bulger listened today to some of the grisliest testimony yet as a witness described how he took his stepdaughter shopping before delivering her to Bulger allegedly to be strangled.
The witness, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, had earlier told the court how he had delivered another girlfriend to a house where Bulger waited to strangle her.
Flemmi, 79, appeared exasperated at times as he recounted the murder of his stepdaughter Deborah Hussey, who grew up calling him Daddy and later became Flemmi's lover and murder victim.
When pressed by Bulger's lawyer on the relationship, Flemmi motioned his head toward the defense table where Bulger sat and added, "You want to talk about pedophilia, look at that table over there."
Flemmi was Bulger's partner and key lieutenant during his reign as the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, prosecutors and Flemmi claim. Flemmi is now a key witness against Bulger, who is on trial for a string of crimes including 19 murders. Those victims include Hussey and Flemmi's long time girlfriend Debbie Davis.
Flemmi's surly accusation about pedophilia came as Bulger's defense attorneys pestered him with questions about Hussey. Flemmi began a relationship with her mother, Marion Hussey, when Deborah was 2, he told the court.
Reluctantly, Flemmi admitted Deborah Hussey called him Daddy, that he had read her stories and had driven her to school.
But in January 1985, when Hussey was 26, she took the last ride of her life with her stepfather.
"Did you drive your daughter to her death?" Bulger defense attorney Hank Brennan asked Flemmi.
"I drove her to the location, yes, '' Flemmi answered.
Brennan asked him about the ride to the house where, Flemmi told the court, Bulger looped a rope around her neck, tied a stick to the rope and twisted it until she choked to death. Then Flemmi got on his knees and pulled out her teeth to prevent her being identified.
Before that, Flemmi took her to the mall.
"I took her shopping,'' Flemmi told the court.
"You took her shopping knowing you were going to kill her?" Brennan asked.
"You are so negative about it,'' Flemmi testified. "Why don't you want to hear the positive side of it?"
"You were her father, Mr. Flemmi. Did you defend her?" Brennan asked.
"That murder could have been prevented with one word from Bulger: Stop,'' Flemmi testified. "He could have prevented it. All he had to do is say the one word, pass. And that would have been the end of it and I would have been happy. P-A-S-S."
Flemmi said Bulger wanted Hussey killed because her mother was aware of her fling with Flemmi, she used drugs and talked carelessly, making her a liability.
"If I wanted to murder her, I could have done it myself. I didn't need anyone else to do it. I didn't need any witnesses," he said.
"When your stepdaughter was on the ground, you took a pair of pliers and put them in her mouth?'' Brennan asked Flemmi.
"Yes. I tried to pull her teeth out," Flemmi answered.
"How many teeth did you pull out of your stepdaughter's mouth?" Brennan asked.
"I don't remember,'' Flemmi answered.
"Do you remember getting on your knees and pulling them out of her mouth?" Brennan asked.
"Probably,'' Flemmi told the court. "It was very distasteful to do and it was very difficult for me to do."
Flemmi also get testy when Brennan asked him if he was a pedophile because of what Flemmi called the "consensual" sexual relationship with his stepdaughter before she died, a relationship that she had revealed to her mother.
"I didn't molest her. It was consensual,'' Flemmi told the court.
That's when he nodded toward Bulger and blurted: "You want to talk about pedophilia, look at that table over there."
"If you want to come down on me. ... He had a young girl, 16 years old,'' Flemmi said. "He took her to Mexico.''
That led Judge Denise Casper to admonish Flemmi to answer the questions without "ad-libbing."
Brennan continued to press Flemmi about Hussey's murder asking how she was buried in the basement of the South Boston house along with two other men Bulger is accused of killing.
"We dug a hole and buried her,'' Flemmi told the court. "We. W-E. We. Kevin Weeks was there. It was a concerted effort."
"Did you put your stepdaughter's body is in that hole?" Brennan asked.
"Yes,'' Flemmi answered.
Hussey's murder was told in excruciating detail a day after Flemmi described the murder of his girlfriend, Debbie Davis, allegedly at the hands of Bulger.
Today Flemmi admitted that he yelled: "Let her pray!" as Bulger allegedly squeezed her throat.
"Wasn't it a little too late to let her pray?" Brennan asked.
"It was a reaction," Flemmi answered. "It was a traumatic thing."
Flemmi told the court that after Bulger strangled Davis, he undressed her, wrapped her in a tarp, and buried her at Tenean Beach in Dorchester.
"Did you pull the teeth out of her mouth?" Brennan asked.
"I don't remember,'' Flemmi answered.
"Jim Bulger murdered her. Not me," Flemmi barked.
After Davis was murdered Flemmi mourned with her family and told her mother that he had hired a private investigator to help find her. He had told the family he had sent her on a vacation and she never came back.
"You knew her mother was waiting up at night about her daughter not coming home?" Brennan asked.
"That's a normal reaction for someone worried about their daughter," Flemmi answered.
Throughout Flemmi's testimony – his third day on the stand – he was visibly disturbed. He sniffled and argued with Brennan. The judge repeatedly warned him not to ask questions, but just answer them. At one point he talked about his nickname "The Rifleman" telling the court he earned it while fighting on the front lines in the Korean War.
"I got that nickname in Korea,'' Flemmi told the court, after "I killed five Chinese."
Brennan asked Flemmi how many murder victims he had involvement with but the witness could not recall.
"It's hard to remember how many people you killed in Boston?" Brennan asked.
Flemmi answered that he remembered the "ones I testified to." And he insists Bulger was involved in most of them.
Murders, Flemmi told the court, were just the price of being part of the Winter Hill Gang. The fact that people needed his help probably kept him "alive all these years."
"It's the business we're in,'' Flemmi told the court. "The criminal business."
Flemmi told the court he was remorseful about a car bombing that left a lawyer without a leg. Defense attorney John Fitzgerald represented Joseph "The Animal" Barbosa when he became a witness against Flemmi and Bulger. Fitzgerald lost his leg but survived.
"I felt bad,'' Flemmi told the court of the bombing. "He was a legitimate guy doing his job."
Under questioning Flemmi became flustered with Bulger's defense attorney. At one point he told him from the stand:"You don't know anything about the underworld. It's hard to answer your questions. The way you are looking at me…I'm trying to read your facial expressions."