Bulger jury goes home for weekend without verdict
BOSTON (AP) — Jurors in the racketeering trial of reputed crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger finished a fourth day of deliberations Friday without reaching a verdict.
The jury will be back Monday after deliberating for about 28 hours since first getting the case Tuesday.
Bulger, 83, is charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment with playing a role in 19 killings during the 1970s and ’80s as the reputed head of the mostly Irish-American Winter Hill gang based in South Boston while simultaneously providing information to the FBI on the New England Mafia and other criminals. He was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives after fleeing in 1994 on the eve of an indictment. He was finally captured in 2011 in California, where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend.
Prosecutors said many of the crimes allegedly took place while Bulger was an FBI informant and was being protected by corrupt agents. Bulger’s lawyers strongly deny that he was an informant.
About two dozen family members of people allegedly killed by Bulger and his gang have waited at the federal courthouse for a verdict. On Friday, many of them sat together in the cafeteria, sharing a meal and playing cards.
“It’s good to see a lot of people here standing up for their loved ones,” said Shawn Donahue, whose father, Michael Donahue, was shot to death in 1982. Bulger is accused of spraying Donahue’s car with bullets as he left a South Boston restaurant with Bulger’s target, Edward “Brian” Halloran. Donahue had offered Halloran a ride home that night.
Patricia Donahue, Michael Donahue’s widow, said although the waiting has been difficult, she is not surprised the jury has not yet reached a verdict. The indictment contains 32 counts, including racketeering, extortion, money-laundering and weapons charges. Within the main racketeering charge are 33 separate acts, including the 19 killings, as well as extortion and money-laundering. The jury must find that prosecutors proved at least two of the acts to find Bulger guilty of racketeering.
“Maybe they’re taking their time and really looking over a lot of issues,” Patricia Donahue said.
Her son, Tom Donahue, said he is not worried, either.
“There is a lot to go through. To have all that information dumped on you for two months, and then you have to digest it, and then come up with a verdict — that’s a lot of work,” he said.
Late Friday, Bulger waived his right to have the jury decide whether he must forfeit his ownership rights to $822,000 in cash, 30 guns and other items found in the California apartment if he is found guilty. Judge Denise Casper will now make the decision.
Prosecutors say the cash, guns and other items were obtained through illegal activity so they should be forfeited.