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Mixed verdict doesn’t satisfy all in murder case

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • William O'Brien Jr., son of William O'Brien, speaks outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in O'Brien's father's killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    William O'Brien Jr., son of William O'Brien, speaks outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in O'Brien's father's killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

    U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

    In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

    In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

    In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, wipes his eyes while speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • William O'Brien Jr., son of William O'Brien, speaks outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in O'Brien's father's killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • Steven Davis, brother of Debra Davis, center, is comforted by Skip Marcella, left, after speaking outside federal court where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. Jurors could not agree whether Bulger was involved in Debra Davis' killing. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks outside federal court Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, where a jury found James "Whitey" Bulger guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in Boston. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)
  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)
  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)
  • In this courtroom sketch, James "Whitey" Bulger, second from right, stands with defense attorneys Hank Brennan, third from right, and J.W. Carney, right, as the jury submits its verdicts before Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 in federal court in Boston. Bulger was found guilty on several counts of murder, racketeering and conspiracy.  (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

The federal jury found Bulger had a role in 11 murders, assuring the 83-year-old will die in prison, but found that his role in the remaining cases was unproved.

Steve Davis didn’t wait for the jury to be dismissed before he walked out of the courtroom appearing upset it issued no finding on the 1981 strangulation of his sister, Debra Davis.

One woman exclaimed “You’ve got to be kidding me!” after the jury said prosecutors hadn’t proved Bulger’s role in the 1975 death of Francis “Buddy” Leonard, who was shot in the head.

A visibly angry Billy O’Brien told reporters that prosecutors “dropped the ball” after the jury didn’t convict Bulger in the 1973 shooting death of his father, William O’Brien.

“Five minutes they spent talking about his murder” during the trial, he said.

Bulger fled Boston in 1994. He was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011. He had denied participating in the 19 killings.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors were disappointed Bulger wasn’t convicted on every murder charge but respected the jury’s verdict.

“I hope that the victims, the families and many others who suffered tremendously and in some cases were actually destroyed by James Bulger’s criminal actions will take some solace in the fact that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, far away from the beaches of Santa Monica and far from the streets of South Boston,” she said.

Prosecutors said Bulger was a longtime FBI informant, who committed his crimes under the protection of corrupt agents.

Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College, said in an email that the case was not easy to prosecute.

The charges “were so old the government did not have an easy task in proving its case,” Sarat said. “But the evidence was pretty strong.”

Sarat said what captivated many about Bulger was his years on the run following his alleged crimes.

“The trial garnered so much attention because Whitey Bulger was so notorious and his story so intriguing. He was the classic local outlaw, a throwback to another era,” Sarat said. “The way he conducted himself during the trial only compounded the sense of Bulger as the unrepentant, hard-hearted outlaw.”

This included Bulger periodically yelling obscenities at witnesses taking the stand.

Colleen Currie, a Northampton attorney, said she didn’t follow the case closely, with her perspective mostly on Bulger’s history after reading a book detailing his crimes. But Currie said she couldn’t help but notice how he behaved.

“It was a heck of a fight at the trial,” Currie said.

While less attention was paid to the trial in western Massachusetts, with several people on Northampton streets either unaware of the trial or unable to comment on it, the ties between the mobster and law enforcement, specifically the FBI, gave it national exposure.

Sarat said the Bulger trial illustrates the continuing fascination people have with legal cases.

“In the end, this case was another reminder of the fact that trials are galvanizing public spectacles, spectacles built out of the raw materials of human tragedy,” Sarat said.

Suffolk University law professor Chris Dearborn said it was not surprising the jury didn’t convict Bulger of all the crimes the government alleged.

“You can’t blame the jury,” he said. “They heard from some really incredible and creepy witnesses. The three star witnesses for the government were proven liars and people who had cut deals with the government.”

Outside the courtroom, Davis said he had doubts whether Bulger strangled his sister, as Bulger’s former partner and his sister’s boyfriend, Stephen Flemmi, testified. But he’s certain Bulger was part of it, and the jury’s inability to make a finding in the case left him “stuck in the middle like I have been for 32 years.”

“Who’s winning here?” Davis asked. “I lost my sister. All these people lost family members. (Bulger)’s losing his freedom. What do you really win here?”

Gazette reporter Scott Merzbach contributed to this report.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives, was convicted Monday in a string of 11 killings and dozens of other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant. Bulger, 83, stood silently and showed no reaction to verdict, which brought to a …

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