(BOSTON) — The angry victims of convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s reign of terror in Boston testified at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, calling him a “rat,” a “son of a b*tch,” and a “piece of s***.”
Sean McGonagle was a little boy in December 1975 when he answered the phone and heard a familiar voice snarl: “Your father’s not coming home for Christmas.”
“I asked who is this,” McGonagle told the court Wednesday morning as he glared directly at Bulger, the notorious Boston mob boss who killed his uncle and his father by the time he was 11 years old. “He said, ‘Santa Claus.'”
The caller, McGonagle said, was Bulger.
Bulger, 83, dressed in an orange prison jump suit, scratched on a legal pad as McGonagle glared at him and never looked up.
Marie Mahoney told the court she was excited about having breakfast with her daddy, a promise he had made to her over the phone hours before he was shot dead in 1976.
“I waited and I waited and I waited and he never came,” Mahoney told the court. Instead, police came to the door to tell her mother that he was dead, gunned down by Bulger and his cronies.
“You learn to cope with your fear, but you never get over it. Here I am 40 years later trying to put into words how that horrific night impacted me,” she said.
“Rest in peace,” Mahoney said of her father. Then she, too, stared at Bulger. “We got you, you rat.”
Steven Davis was allowed to address the court even though the trial, which convicted Bulger of 11 murders was unable to determine that he was guilty of killing Davis’ sister Debbie Davis who was strangled in 1981.
“You piece of s***, look at me,” Davis yelled at the defense table, frustrated that Bulger ignored each of his victims’ families as they spoke.
“I hope Whitey dies the way my sister did, gasping for breath with his last breaths. I would like to strangle him myself. Instead I am sitting here with the anger that the son of the b***h won’t look at his victims,” Davis said.
Bulger was charged with 32 counts that included 19 murders, but the jury found that the federal prosecutors had not proven that Bulger killed or ordered the killings of eight of the people.
He was aided in his domination of Boston organized crime by corrupt FBI agents, including one who tearfully took the stand during Bulger’s trial to admit helping Bulger evade arrest.
In addition to the 11 murders, Bulger was convicted of racketeering, narcotics and money laundering.
When asked if he wanted to address the court Wednesday, Bulger uttered one word, “No.”
Among Bulger’s victims who testified Wednesday was Patricia Donahue whose husband Michael Donahue was killed in 1982 when he offered to give Brian “Balloonhead” Halloran a ride home, unaware the Bulger and a hit team were waiting for Halloran. Both men died in the ambush.
“My husband was shot by Bulger while corrupt FBI agents stood by and watched,” Patricia Donahue told the court. “He was the soul of our family. Everything we treasured was gone in the blink of an eye,” Donahue said, describing the heartbreak that has followed her three sons into adulthood.
Bulger’s lawyer said his client was moved by the victim impact statement made by Theresa Barrett Bond, whose father Arthur “Bucky” Barrett was tortured and killed by Bulger.
Bond asked Bulger if he knew what her father was doing right before he died and then answered the question for him.
“Praying,” Bond told the court. “He flipped open his wallet to a picture of a little girl. That was me.”
Bulger’s attorney Jay Carney told ABC News that Bulger was “moved” by Bond’s remarks and “swiveled a bit” in his chair to face her, one of the few times he looked up from the legal pad he was scribbling on.
Before the hearing began U.S. District Court Justice Denise Casper asked Bulger’s attorneys if they had any objection to the pre-sentencing report issued by the court, but attorney Hank Brennan reiterated a statement Bulger made during his eight-week trial when he called the trial “a sham.”
Assistant United States Attorney Brian Kelly told the court that the “real sham” is the defense Bulger’s attorneys presented: that he wasn’t a FBI informant and argued that because he was Irish he could not be an informant.
“He’s a disgrace to the Irish,” Kelly told the court. “The carnage that he has caused is grotesque. He’s a little sociopath whose twisted view of the world…was to convince the court he was not an informant. That’s the real sham of this trial.”
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