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Ex-FBI agent says witness was killed

Testifies man could have tied fugitive to Litif slaying

By Shelley Murphy
Globe Staff / July 7, 2009
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A retired FBI agent testified yesterday that a possible witness implicated James “Whitey’’ Bulger in the 1980 slaying of South Boston bookmaker Louis Litif, but the investigation ended abruptly when the witness was shot to death months after he began cooperating with the FBI.

Former Winter Hill Gang associate Edward “Brian’’ Halloran told the FBI in early 1982 that he dropped Litif off at Triple O’s bar in South Boston on April 12, 1980, and was parked nearby when he saw Bulger and an associate “carry out what appeared to be a body’’ and dump it into the trunk of a car, testified retired agent, Gerald T. Montanari.

The body of 45-year-old Litif was found in his car the next day.

Montanari said Halloran implicated Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi, both longtime FBI informants, in a number of slayings, but he and his partner thought Litif’s murder was “the most viable case’’ since Halloran claimed to be a witness.

The investigation was “interrupted,’’ he said, when Halloran was gunned down on the South Boston waterfront in 1982, allegedly by Bulger.

Bulger is charged with Halloran’s slaying, but no charges were ever brought in Litif’s slaying.

The testimony came during the third day of trial in federal court over wrongful death lawsuits filed against the government by Litif’s family and the families of two other victims, Debra Davis, 26, killed in 1980, and Deborah Hussey, also 26, killed in 1985.

Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence for 10 slayings, has testified in prior proceedings that he and Bulger killed Davis, who was Flemmi’s girlfriend, and Hussey, who was the daughter of Flemmi’s live-in girlfriend, Marion Hussey.

Flemmi is slated to testify in the trial. Bulger, who is wanted for 19 slayings, has been a fugitive since 1995.

The families assert that the FBI is responsible for the slayings because the agents knew Bulger and Flemmi were killers yet protected them from prosecution because they were informants.

Justice Department lawyers contend that the FBI was not obligated to control the gangsters.

In other testimony yesterday, Joseph Saccardo, a retired State Police captain, said Marion Hussey asked him to look into her daughter’s disappearance in 1985, but he was unable to find her. Deborah Hussey’s remains were recovered from an unmarked grave in Dorchester in 2000.

The familes are seeking unspecified damages in the nonjury trial before US District Judge William G. Young.