‘Whitey’ Bulger Jury Hears from Alleged Victims
(BOSTON) -- On the last morning of her husband's life, Patricia Donahue kissed him goodbye and they made plans for him to take their 8-year-old son Tommy fishing over Mother's Day weekend.
It was May 11, 1982 and Michael Donahue stopped by his wife's salon so she could "fix his hair." He told her he would be home for dinner, a dinner that she was preparing when there was a newsflash on the TV in the kitchen.
"They said there was a gangland slaying, but I paid no attention because it didn't concern me," Patricia Donahue testified Friday.
Donahue would find out later that the murder did concern her: Boston's most notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger, who is on trial for the murder of Michael Donahue and 18 other people, allegedly unloaded a fusillade of bullets at her husband and his friend, Brian "Balloonhead" Halloran.
"I looked up and saw the car, my father-in-law's car. He was a Boston police officer,'' Donahue testified.
The car's windows were smashed out by the gunfire. One man was dead and another was still alive, the news reporter said, she remembered.
"I was confused. I wasn't sure what I was seeing. I was hyperventilating. I didn't know what was going on,'' Donahue told the court. "I waited and I waited for someone to call me and let me know where my husband was. I am thinking about all the things I could say to him if I could only get to where he was."
By the time Donahue made it to the hospital, her husband Michael was dead. Her three sons, Michael, then 13, Sean, then 12, and Tommy, were forced to grow up without a father. Donahue never remarried.
Bulger's defense attorney J.W. Carney asked Donahue about the testimony she had listened to earlier this week from Kevin Weeks, who told the court he signaled Bulger with a walkie talkie that "the balloon is in the air." The balloon was Halloran and he was Bulger's intended target. Donahue was an innocent bystander.
"You now know that James Bulger is accused of being one of the people in the car when your husband was killed?" Carney asked.
"Yes I do,'' she answered.
"You also know that Kevin Weeks was involved as the lookout?" Carney asked.
"Yes I do," she replied.
Carney asked Donahue how she felt about Weeks' deal with the government that allowed him to serve just "five years for five murders" in exchange for his cooperating.
"It made me sick,'' Donahue testified.
Carney then asked her about dirty FBI agent John Morris, who confessed to leaking the information that led to the murder of her husband.
"You learned that he agreed to be a cooperating witnesses and he got full immunity for everything, right?" Carney asked of Morris.
"Yes,'' Donahue answered.
"He was even allowed to keep his pension?'' Carney asked.
"Yes,'' she told the court. It was the FBI's involvement and the sweetheart deals made with Weeks that really infuriated the Donahues. Now grown men who were in court with their mother Friday, the Donahue sons even attempted unsuccessfully to sue the FBI for its involvement to "make sure it doesn't happen again."
In court, Patricia Donahue pointed to her sons and then made a final statement under cross-examination by Carney:
"I don't understand why all these people involved in my husband's death are still walking around like nothing happened,'' Donahue told the court. "I don't think it's fair and I don't understand why the government allows that to happen.''
Assistant United States Attorney Brian Kelly stood up with one final redirect question for Donahue.
"Are you aware that the man who did the shooting of your husband is sitting right here, James Bulger?" Kelly asked.
"Yes,'' she answered.
When Donahue stepped down, jurors heard from a Chinatown restaurant owner who described picking up a bag of money for Bulger. Barry Wong described being driven to a location by Weeks, asking for a man named "Charlie" and then leaving with a bag.
"Did you know what was in the bag?" Kelly asked.
"I didn't want to know, I didn't want to look, I didn't care,'' Wong told the court. "I gave it to Kevin."
Weeks, Wong testified, then pulled out $200. At first Wong told the court he protested, but then took the money.
"What the hell, 200 is 200,'' Wong told the court, which led to laughter.
That brief reprieve from testimony about bloodletting was followed by emotional testimony from Steve Davis, whose sister Debra Davis was murdered in the fall of 1981, prosecutors said, by Bulger and her ex-boyfriend Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.
Flemmi, Weeks told the court this week, wrapped her face with duct tape and then kissed her on the forehead and told her she was "going to a better place." Davis was then strangled. Her teeth and hands were removed, according to Weeks' testimony, and her body dumped in a craggy section of the Neponset River with other victims of the Winter Hill Gang.
"She was a beautiful young woman,'' Davis told the court. His voice then began to shake with tears. "She was my best friend growing up. She had no enemies except for two…"
Those enemies were Flemmi and Bulger, Davis said.
Davis was 24 when he last saw his sister. His mother last heard from her on Sept. 17, 1981.
"My mother called me and told me 'something is wrong.' Debbie hasn't called her. I kept saying 'she'll be all right. She'll be all right,''' Davis told the court.
Flemmi was so diabolic about the slaying, Davis testified, he cried with the Davis mother and told her "I'm doing everything I can to find her."
Jurors also heard from a bookie who was forced to "pay rent" for his bookmaking business after Winter Hill Gang mobsters called him to a meeting in a room lined with plastic. That bookie, Kevin Hayes, said he was told that the plastic was to make the cleanup easier when he was shot in the head.
"I thought I was going to be shot in the head,'' Hayes told the court. Instead, he testified, he began paying rent to Bulger for $1,000 a week during the football season and the same amount monthly when the football season was over.
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