For the last two months, Whitey Bulger sat in Courtroom 11 at the Joe Moakley federal courthouse looking like a guy waiting for a bus.
On Monday, it looked like that bus ran him over.
To call the verdict a resounding defeat for Whitey would be an understatement. He didn’t get shut out, but given the size of the case against Whitey and how far back into history it reached, Whitey lost and lost big.
As he spends the rest of his days waiting for his mortal coil to be wrapped up, maybe Whitey can tell himself how great it was that the jury didn’t believe Johnny Martorano’s tales about them taking out Indian Al and some other hoodlums who posed a threat to the Winter Hill Gang.
Maybe in Whitey’s World, getting a “no finding” on the murder of Debbie Davis, the girlfriend of his partner in crime Stevie Flemmi, rates as some kind of victory.
The only part of the indictment Whitey really objected to was the murders of Davis and Deborah Hussey, Flemmi’s stepdaughter. He didn’t care that much about the other 17 murders he was charged with.
Whitey has spent decades carving out this phony narrative of him being a gangster with scruples. But gangsters with scruples don’t murder defenseless women, so he had to fight that.
The jury couldn’t decide on Debbie Davis’s murder because it was only Flemmi’s word against Bulger, and Flemmi is a total degenerate who had sex with his stepdaughter when she was a young teenager.
But the jury did accept the testimony of Flemmi and Kevin Weeks, Whitey’s protégé, that Whitey strangled Debbie Hussey, who turned to drugs after Flemmi turned her into a sex object.
Lisa Hourihan, the court clerk, said guilty so many times in a row that I thought she had a tic. It went on and on and on.
Whitey stared ahead, no emotion. He would have looked good in Madame Tussauds.
He had to know he’s going to die in prison. Maybe a Super Max. Maybe at the end of those needles he hates so much, if the states of Florida or Oklahoma get ahold of him.
Outside the courtroom, Stevie Davis said he understood why the jury couldn’t reach a verdict on his sister’s murder. In some ways, it didn’t matter to him. He knew that Whitey and Flemmi conspired to kill his sister. He takes some solace in knowing Debbie fought them.
“At least it wasn’t a not guilty,” Davis said of the no-finding issued by the jury. “They just acknowledged they didn’t know who to believe, given the lack of other witnesses.”
To the side, Pat Donahue smiled broadly as her sons, Michael Jr., Shawn, and Tommy, hugged each other.
“Finally,” said Pat Donahue, whose husband Michael’s murder proved that Whitey Bulger didn’t just kill other gangsters. Michael Donahue was a truck driver who had the misfortune to give a ride home in 1982 to Brian Halloran, a hoodlum marked for death by Whitey’s corrupt FBI handlers because he was shopping Whitey to other, honest FBI agents. “This has been a long time coming, but I’m relieved this day is finally here.”
The Donahues are not done. They want the man identified at the trial as the second gunman in the murder, Pat Nee, charged with the murder. They also want justice from a federal government that gave them nothing, not even an apology.
“We’re not through with the government,” Tommy Donahue said. “Not even close.”
Tom Foley, the great state cop who fought the FBI to bring the first criminal charges against Whitey, was there to savor the moment. He shook hands with State Police Detective Lieutenant Steve Johnson and DEA agent Dan Doherty, who worked under him and stayed with the case to the bitter end.
“I’m glad this day is here,” said Foley, only wishing that his mentor and great pal, Pat Greaney, who helped him roll Chico Krantz, the first bookie to testify against Whitey, was still alive to see this day.
Bobby Long, another great state cop who charged hard at Whitey, felt the same way, wishing his mentor, State Police Colonel Jack O’Donovan, who first pointed the finger at the FBI’s corrupt embrace of Whitey Bulger, was still alive.
Although they were not at the courthouse, the honest cops who fought the corruption of the FBI to target Whitey — Boston cops Frank Dewan, Kenny Beers, Jimmy Carr, Chip Fleming, and state cops like Rick Fraelick and Jackie O’Malley and Buddy Saccardo and Tom Duffy and so many others who put so much on the line to take on Whitey when they got nothing but aggravation — pumped their fists so hard we felt it on the waterfront.
They had removed the words reputed and alleged from references to Whitey Bulger. He is done.
Whitey left the courthouse having prevailed on really just one thing.
He gets to keep the Stanley Cup ring he got from Chris Nilan, who was married to the daughter of his girlfriend Teresa Stanley. Which is good for Whitey, because where he’s going there won’t be much to remind him of anything else good.