Juror says Bulger defense argument that government was on trial ‘actually worked for a few days’

A juror in the James J. “Whitey” Bulger trial says the defense argument that the government was also on trial resonated with jurors as they deliberated for five days on the 32 counts against the former gangster.

“It worked!” said Scott Hotyckey in an interview at his Framingham home. “It actually worked for a few days. There [were] people that were shouting about that.”

The jury also struggled to overcome their disgust with several government witnesses, especially Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who testified that Bulger had killed Debra Davis, Flemmi’s ex-girlfriend. The jury were unable to reach consensus on whether or not Bulger killed Davis, largely because at least two jurors refused to believe Flemmi’s testimony, Hotyckey said.

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“‘We don’t accept that,’” some jurors said, according to Hotyckey, a 47-year-old Framingham father who favored collared shirts and ties during the trial. “It was intensely debated.”

He spoke to reporters for nearly two hours on his porch about the sometimes difficult moments inside the jury room, where eight men and four women debated whether Bulger had committed 19 murders as the head of a sweeping criminal enterprise that raked in millions of dollars through extortions and drug trafficking. The jury was diverse — jurors ranged in ages from their 20s to their 50s —and included a stay-at-home dad, an electrician, and an author.

The female jurors were the most adamant against finding Bulger culpable for Davis’s killing, Hotyckey said.

“‘He’s not like that,’” some said, according to Hotyckey. “‘He’s not the kind of man who would kill a woman.’”

They had an easier time deciding he killed the only other female victim, Deborah Hussey. Both Flemmi and one-time Bulger henchman Kevin Weeks testified that Bulger killed Hussey, while Flemmi was the sole witness to testify that Bulger had killed Davis — and questions were raised at the trial about Flemmi’s testimony about that slaying.

Tensions were often high in the deliberating room, as jurors who refused to believe the testimony of some government witnesses bolted out, slamming the door behind them, Hotyckey said.

Some jurors were so anxious about their role in the saga of the criminal underworld that they considered asking the judge to let them off the jury. As they prepared to deliberate, some popped Advil and antacids to deal with headaches and nervous stomachs, Hotyckey recalled.

“How do you know Pat Nee won’t come to your house?” one juror asked at one point, referring to the convicted arms smuggler who was named as Bulger’s co-assassin in the murders of two men, even though he has not been charged.

Hotyckey, who said he was convinced of Bulger’s guilt almost immediately, said he wanted to speak out about the deliberations so that the public would believe the case was decided fairly.

“The people are asking you all the time, so why not just answer their questions?” Hotyckey said. “Sometimes people have to say something, then wouldn’t the trial maybe be viewed as a sham? ... If people want to know, which it is a big thing to a lot of people, I’m willing to help out. I’m not getting nothing for it.”

Bulger was convicted Monday of 31 of 32 counts in a sweeping racketeering indictment. The jury in US District Court in Boston found that Bulger had committed 11 murders, but also found that prosecutors had not proven his involvement in seven others.

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