A Family's Painful Wait For Verdict In Bulger Trial

Aug 8, 2013
Originally published on August 8, 2013 5:39 pm

The jury in the Boston trial of reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is deliberating for the third day in his murder and racketeering trial.

For the families of his 19 alleged murder victims, the wait for the verdict to come down is just part of a long, painful journey.

From the the Here & Now Contributors Network, David Boeri of WBUR reports.


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The jury in the trial of reputed mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is in its third day of deliberations. Yesterday, they sent Judge Denise Casper a flurry of questions and she met behind closed doors with defense lawyers and prosecutors. Among the charges against Bulger, 19 murders. And for the families of some of his alleged victims here in Boston, the wait for the verdict is just part of a long and sorrowful road.

From the HERE AND NOW Contributors Network, WBUR's David Boeri has the story.

DAVID BOERI, BYLINE: Terri Barrett Bond is a mother of five sons. But it's being a daughter that has brought her here every day from the start of the trial. She comes, she says, as a character witness for her dad, Arthur "Bucky" Barrett.

TERRI BARRETT BOND: Took us on weekends and took us on his boat and was Santa Claus and he was just everything. He was our rock. He was our rock.

BOERI: Thirty years ago last week, Barrett was kidnapped by Stephen Flemmi and Kevin Weeks, and they say by Whitey Bulger as well. Barrett was a brilliant safecracker and bank thief, and Bulger's former associates say they wanted a share of Barrett's recent bank job. After Bulger allegedly murdered him, he was secretly buried.

BOND: And he just disappeared. He didn't come home one day. And we had John Morris come to my dad's home and assure us that he had gotten word from Whitey Bulger himself that he had nothing to do with my dad's disappearance.

BOERI: John Morris was the FBI supervisor corrupted by Bulger. The lie lived, hoped died. Terri and her three brothers idolized their dad.

BOND: My older brother Paul committed suicide. He jumped in front of a train in '91. And my mother was in and out of the hospital a lot because it was a hardship for her. And then my younger brother Johnny, he did the same thing. He committed suicide. He jumped in front of a train. It was devastating, long-term devastation to have our dad not there.

BOERI: The mystery and the meaning of questions posed by the jury to the judge yesterday are of small circumstance compared to what Bond and the grown daughters of Bulger's other alleged victims have endured at this trial. With impressive dignity and bearing, Bond has sat through witness's accounts of how they and Bulger chained her father to a chair, forced him to raise the ransom for his life, then killed him anyway. She tried to leave the room before the jury was shown pictures of her father's bullet-broken skull and jaw, missing teeth that were yanked out. But sometimes she was caught off guard and had to close her eyes.

BOND: And I think you don't realize what actually is (unintelligible) dealt with until you're actually in a place - in a setting like this; then you realize all that's kept - doors that have been kept shut are opened automatically. And you don't even realize it until you're sitting there. And I do not want to be haunted.

BOERI: The questions posed by the jurors that caused the court to come back in excitement there might be a verdict were about statutes of limitations to crimes and whether the jurors had to be unanimous in their verdict on the racketeering acts, and what was the difference between aiding and abetting and conspiracy. Bond had to deal with more pressing issues of personal survival.

BOND: I just wanted to be able to get a cup of coffee and go sit and get my brain together after just listening to my father's head being blown off.

BOERI: Her anger runs in more directions than Bulger's, as does the anger of many families at this trial. They often feel better treated by Bulger's attorneys than by the by the federal prosecutors in the government. They complain of the lack of both accommodation and accountability.

BOND: I feel betrayed. I feel victimized. And it's not by Whitey Bulger. I do not feel so much victimized by him as I do the government.

BOERI: Bond thinks of the FBI agents who came to her home long ago and assured her mother Bulger had nothing to do with her dad's disappearance. She thinks of what she calls the cover-ups. Even if Bulger is convicted, she says, she won't be celebrating.

BOND: To me, Mr. James Bulger is just a minnow. There's some big, big fish out there. Get a bigger boat and get a bigger rod, and let's go fishing.

BOERI: Terri Barrett Bond believes there's much more to catch than the verdict for James "Whitey" Bulger.

YOUNG: That's WBUR's David Boeri. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.