Bulger Day 18: Defense Wanted to Delay the Trial Because Whitey Is ‘Exhausted’
So Whitey Bulger’s on trial and you’re interested in hearing about it, but you’ve got this darn day job and you can’t manage to keep up with all the live tweets. We feel you. Here’s what you missed. (Past coverage here.)
Whitey Bulger’s lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. tried and failed to have the judge suspend the trial until next Tuesday, arguing that the prosecution is moving so fast, the defense team is having trouble keeping up, and noting that Bulger himself is tired.
Bulger, Carney said, has to wake up at 4 a.m. to reach the courthouse from Plymouth. “This 83 year old man is exhausted,” he said. (Apparently the process of sitting at a table scribbling notes, ignoring witnesses, or occasionally shouting obscenities at them requires a good night’s sleep.) Carney also argued that prosecutors are giving him evidence last minute, and while he’s kept up thus far, his team is working seven days a week, even through they July 4th holiday, and they’re falling behind.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Hafer fought against a delay, saying that the defense won’t stipulate to obvious points, like that the victims died of gunshot wounds, which requires the prosecutors to call more witnesses, which requires the defense to do more prep work. (But couldn’t that argument be logically extend to “If Bulger would just agree to the obvious idea that he murdered all those people, we wouldn’t need to call so many witnesses and the defense wouldn’t have to work so hard?” Disputing the prosecution’s facts is kind of the point of a defense, isn’t it?)
Hafer also contested the idea that the defense hasn’t had enough time with the evidence, and also said he didn’t want to inconvenience the witnesses who had been flown in to testify. And in the final smackdown, he addressed Bulger’s apparent exhaustion, saying, “That’s not good enough. Mr. Bulger had 16 years to relax in California.” The victims’ families had to await justice while he avoided arrest.
“I’m not inclined to suspend the trial,” Judge Casper ruled, though she did agree to eliminate the extended court proceedings on Thursdays and instead dismiss the jury at 1 p.m., as they do most days.
And so we move on to the day’s testimony …
The Witnesses: We returned to the testimony of former medical examiner Anne Marie Mires, who was finishing describing the excavation of Paul McGonagle’s body. Once she’d completed that typically grim description, she moved on to the excavation of Tommy King and Debra Davis from a beach on the Quincy side of the Neponset River. Investigators had to dig up a 15 foot deep hole the the length of two football fields before they found what they were looking for. She took the jury through some photos of the victims’ remains, which, for obvious reasons, visibly upset Davis’s brother, who was present today, and is likely to testify tomorrow.
Mires finished up her descriptions and the defense declined to cross-examine her. Next up was Elaine Barrett who described the day her husband Bucky went missing. (Mires described the discovery of Barrett’s remains yesterday.) And finally, Tom Daly, a retired FBI Agent, gave some details about his informant Richard Castucci, whom the prosecution alleges was murdered by Bulger when disgraced FBIer John Connolly leaked to him that Castucci was giving up info on members of Bulger’s gang. Charming stuff.