By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - Accused mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger choked to death a fellow reputed gangster's 26-year-old stepdaughter, and had her buried in the basement of a South Boston house already full of dead bodies, gang member Kevin Weeks testified on Tuesday.
"It was a girl, she wasn't involved with us, she wasn't a criminal," Weeks, 57, a self-confessed murderer told a jury at Bulger's trial on charges including committing or ordering 19 murders while running Boston's "Winter Hill" gang in the 1970s and 1980s.
After taking part in two execution-style killings in the house and burying the victims in the basement dirt floor, Weeks said he was nervous when Bulger called him to return there in early 1985, but could not refuse an order.
"You never know, it could have been my time," he said.
He felt a surge of relief when he saw fellow reputed gangster Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi had come with his stepdaughter, Deborah Hussey, and thought there would be no trouble.
He was proven wrong when Bulger choked her to death, Weeks testified. Bulger and Flemmi had decided to kill the woman, fearing she could testify against them.
Bulger, now 83, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and faces the possibility of life in prison if he is convicted. In opening arguments, his attorney specifically denied that Bulger killed Hussey, arguing that Flemmi acted alone.
But Weeks, who led police in 2000 to the bodies of several of the people Bulger is accused of murdering, said on Tuesday that Hussey was one of three people he saw Bulger kill in the South Boston house.
As he had done with the other two victims, Flemmi pulled out Hussey's teeth and ordered Weeks to dig her grave. He had run out of space in the floor and had to place her atop an earlier victim, John McIntyre, Weeks testified.
"She was buried not quite on top of McIntyre, kind of half on top of him and half next to him," Weeks said. "We were kind of running out of room down there."
DIGGING UP BODIES
The house belonged to the brother of fellow gang member Patrick Nee, who later that year decided to sell it. Weeks, Bulger and Flemmi returned there on Halloween 1985, when they dug up the three bodies and moved them to a field in nearby Dorchester.
Weeks, who took the stand in the fifth week of Bulger's trial, is the second of Bulger's top associates to testify against their former boss.
John "The Executioner" Martorano testified last month and Flemmi is due to be called later in the trial.
The story of Bulger, who fled Boston after a 1994 tip from corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, and evaded arrest for 16 years before his arrest in June 2011, has fascinated Boston for years.
It inspired Martin Scorsese's 2006 Academy Award-winning film "The Departed," with Jack Nicholson playing a character loosely based on Bulger.
While Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges, his attorney said on the first day of the trial that Bulger did commit extortion, loansharking and drug dealing.
His lawyers have argued that Bulger was never an informant for the FBI in an effort to undermine a 700-page file the bureau amassed on Bulger over more than a decade as he regularly met with Connolly.
Bulger's lawyers have argued that Connolly, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for racketeering and murder, fabricated much of the contents of the file to provide cover for his frequent meetings with Bulger. The lawyers said Bulger paid Connolly for information, but gave none of his own.
Providing information to the FBI was considered a major breach of the underworld code. The revelation that Bulger had cooperated with investigators came out after he fled Boston, and led many of his associates to turn against him.
(Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Jeffrey Benkoe)