Rifleman: Flemmi thought about killing his pal Whitey
Victims of gangsters bloody reign Monday, April 8, 2013 By: Howie Carr
First of three excerpts from Howie Carrs new book, Rifleman: The Untold Story of Stevie Flemmi, Whitey Bulgers Partner.
Gangster Stevie the Rifleman Flemmi will return to Boston for one final cameo in June, for his longtime underworld partner Whitey Bulgers murder trial in federal court. Theres no love lost between these two, and in todays excerpt, Flemmi claims he thought about killing Whitey.
Testifying against Bulger will have to do. Prosecutors will want Flemmi to hang a string of murders including his two girlfriends, Debbie Davis and Debra Hussey on Whitey. The defense will try to pin them on Flemmi alone.
At age 78, Flemmi is doing life at an undisclosed prison after confessing to 10 murders, and taking the Fifth on 10 others.
After his 2003 conviction, Stevie detailed his 40-year criminal career to feds and cops from three states. That document is the basis of Howie Carrs Rifleman. What follows is a partial list of Flemmis explanations or rationalizations for why he, Whitey and other Boston mobsters killed:
Debbie Davis, 26, Flemmis longtime girlfriend, strangled by Whitey in 1981:
Flemmi had met Davis shortly after his return from the lam in 1974. Flemmi and Davis lived together, but over the years their relationship deteriorated, as Flemmi began sexually abusing Davis 14-year-old sister Melissa.
To patch things up, one night Stevie took Davis to the Bay Tower Room on State Street. But he was called away and Davis, suspicious that he was going to see another woman, asked him why he had to leave so suddenly.
He admitted out of frustration that he was going to see an FBI agent (John CONNOLLY), who was a friend of BULGERs. BULGER was very angry when he learned from FLEMMI that Ms. DAVIS was now aware of their relationship with Connolly.
FLEMMI stated the problems with Ms. Davis were also affecting his relationship with BULGER. FLEMMI said that BULGER didnt like Ms. DAVIS, and wasnt very skilled in his relationships with women. As FLEMMIs romance with Ms. DAVIS cooled, BULGER insisted that Ms. DAVIS had to be eliminated because of her knowledge.
FLEMMI said that he finally assented to BULGERs demands and allowed BULGER to plan the murder. Flemmi says he was under a great deal of stress when he lured her to his parents house across a courtyard from Senate President Billy Bulgers home. Whitey was waiting inside, on the Flemmis sun porch, to murder her. Strangling the beauty was a pleasure for Whitey, Flemmi says, and while she was being buried on Tenean Beach, Flemmi claimed, he contemplated killing BULGER.
Later Flemmi told hitman Johnny Martorano that he himself had accidentally strangled Davis a statement Flemmi denied making in his confession.
Debra Hussey, 26, Flemmis common-law stepdaughter with whom he had been having sex since she was 14, strangled by Whitey in 1985:
This was another very difficult and emotionally draining murder for Flemmi. But like Davis, Hussey was often disrespectful to BULGER. And, Flemmi added, she was doing a lot of things which I didnt approve of.
Hussey was using heroin, turning tricks and sometimes even brought home black male prostitution clients to the familys residence (in Milton), which caused FLEMMI additional embarrassment.
Flemmis confession continues: Eventually he and BULGER had had enough and decided to kill her.
Flemmi said the actual strangulation was committed by Whitey, although he (Flemmi) may have twisted her light beige sweater around her neck, while stripping her body and also pulling out her teeth, to prevent future identification.
Later, when the gang had to dig up three bodies theyd buried in a small house in South Boston, the observant Flemmi noticed that Ms. HUSSEYs corpse had some flesh clinging to the bones after it was exhumed.
Harold Hannon and Wilfred Delaney, gangsters strangled by the Winter Hill Gang in 1964:
Flemmi says they werent tortured with acetylene torches, and were in fact given drugs a humane method intended to reduce the doomed pairs suffering.
Wimpy Bennett, Stevies first underworld boss, was murdered in 1967 because (Mafia underboss) Larry BAIONE had a particular dislike for BENNETT and these feelings were mutual.
Walter Bennett, Wimpys older brother, was murdered three months later. After his brothers murder Walter no longer trusted FLEMMI. It was decided that Walter must also be eliminated.
Billy Bennett began vocalizing his belief that Flemmi had murdered both his brothers. Flemmi reluctantly decided Billy had to go, too.
Richie Grasso, who helped kill Billy Bennett, was shot in the head the same night in December 1967 because of the panic he had exhibited at the murder scene.
Peter Poulos, a witness to the Bennett murders, was murdered by Flemmi in the Nevada desert in 1969 because FLEMMI became concerned that POULOS will was weakening.
Paul McGonagle, part of Southies Mullens Gang, was murdered by Whitey in 1974 because BULGER still considered him a threat, not least because BULGER had murdered his brother by mistake years earlier.
Roger Wheeler, the millionaire owner of World Jai Alai, was murdered in Tulsa in 1981 because he was being exceptionally difficult to deal with.
Brian Halloran, murdered on Northern Avenue in 1982, was a potential witness against Whitey. Flemmi was fine with it: I thought he was a bully he killed a guys horse. I thought that was a despicable act.
Tomorrow: Whitey Bulger claims five murders he didnt commit, to intimidate a shakedown target. Wednesday: Flemmi says FBI agent H. Paul Rico asked him for a throwdown gun to kill a gangster but failed to go through with it. To preorder Howies new book, Rifleman, go to howiecarrshow.com.
(Note: Lehr & O'Neil's book Whitey begins with the Davis murder--I have the audiobook version. There won't be an audiobook version of "Rifleman" but I ordered a copy of the book...--rr)