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Flemmi describes a jealous Bulger

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By Shelley Murphy
Globe Staff / July 10, 2009
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Notorious gangster Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi testified yesterday that when he started spending more time with his beautiful young girl- friend, his longtime sidekick and fellow FBI informant James “Whitey’’ Bulger grew jealous and soon started plotting to kill her.

“Bulger kind of resented the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with him and our business,’’ said the 75-year-old Flemmi, offering new insight into Bulger’s mind during a civil trial in US District Court.

Flemmi recalled that he began skipping some of Bulger’s secret meetings with the FBI so he could be with Debra Davis.

“He would contact me, and I wouldn’t respond,’’ said Flemmi, adding that he shut off his pager when he was home.

“I didn’t want to be bothered,’’ Flemmi said. “He was very upset about it.’’

That anger turned deadly when Bulger discovered that Flemmi had told Davis about their relationship with the FBI, according to Flemmi.

“He wanted to kill her,’’ Flemmi said. “He wanted me to bring her down and set her up so he could kill her.’’

Flemmi is expected to describe Davis’s slaying in detail for the first time when he resumes testifying today. During two prior trials he provided few details but said Bulger strangled 26-year-old Davis inside Flemmi’s parents’ South Boston home. Flemmi said he watched Davis die, then helped dispose of her body. Her remains were discovered in 2000, buried alongside the Neponset River in Quincy.

Wearing black pants and a black windbreaker over a white T-shirt, Flemmi, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison for 10 murders, was brought to court from an unidentified federal prison for protected witnesses. He took the stand on the fifth day of trial on wrongful death suits filed against the government by Davis’s family and the families of two other victims, Deborah Hussey, 26, killed in 1985, and Louis Litif, 45, killed in 1980.

The families say the FBI is responsible for the slayings because it created a “dangerous condition’’ by failing to control Bulger and Flemmi, while protecting them from prosecution, despite knowing they were vicious killers.

The Justice Department contends it was not obligated to control the gangsters and did not know they planned to kill the victims.

Flemmi testified yesterday that he met Davis when she was 17 years old and working in a Brookline jewelry store and he was nearly 40. He said he didn’t plan to tell Davis about his relationship with the FBI, but “blurted it out’’ one night because she was becoming suspicious since he was constantly dashing off for meetings with Bulger and FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr.

One night while he and Davis were celebrating her birthday at an upscale Boston restaurant, Flemmi said Bulger paged him and insisted he leave the celebration and take Davis home because he had to meet with Connolly.

“She probably figured it was another woman,’’ said Flemmi, adding that he told Davis he was going to meet Bulger’s FBI friend, Connolly. “I bit my tongue afterward, but I felt I was justified.’’

Flemmi said Bulger had told both of his longtime girlfriends, Teresa Stanley and Catherine Greig, about his relationship with Connolly and even occasionally met the agent at the women’s homes.

“I felt they knew about it, so I told Debbie,’’ Flemmi said. But he said Bulger was furious that he had told Davis because he feared she might tell one of her brothers, who he feared was a Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

In earlier interviews with investigators, Flemmi said part of the reason he agreed to kill Davis was because she wanted to end their nine-year relationship after falling in love with a wealthy businessman during a trip to Mexico.

After killing Davis, Flemmi said, he kept getting calls from Davis’s frantic mother, Olga, who had reported her daughter missing to the Randolph Police.

“I told her that I didn’t know where she was,’’ said Flemmi, adding that he suggested to Olga Davis that her daughter was in Texas or Mexico.

“I always said I’m trying to locate her,’’ Flemmi said.

Olga Davis died two years ago. Bulger, who is wanted for 19 murders, has been a fugitive since 1995. Connolly is serving a 40-year sentence for orchestrating a 1982 gangland slaying in Florida with Bulger and Flemmi, and a 10-year sentence for federal racketeering.