The Belmont Stakes 2014

Belmont Stakes 2014 banner v2 920x150

Last Saturday my friend Noah Amos and I decided to attend The Belmont Stakes. It was quite an adventure.


Noah and I wait for the train.


Here it comes.


This guy was fun to talk to while we waited.


Getting on the train wasn’t as fun.


Some ran from door to door looking for an in.


After a brief Japanese transit experience we arrived.



The security line at the west gate.


Once inside, the fashions got pretty good.


This guy’s tie & kerchief match was on point.


This gent’s green Heineken tall boy worked well with his red tie and grey blazer.


This fellow is clearly brave in his life choices. Hats off sir.


The binoculars are always a nice touch. Impressive how he doesn’t let them get in the way of that tie for my picture.


Let’s not forget the ladies. The hat scene was in full effect.


Everyone seemed to be complaining about bad phone service. It didn’t stop them from trying though.


These ladies sport an enhanced throwback to the Burger King crowns of youth.


Big & floppy ruled the day.


Crockett & Tubbs might have chatted up this lass down at Gulfstream Park back in the 80’s


Huge points for the wearing a horse on your hat.


Came across this excellent plaque by the clubhouse.


Thought this one pretty interesting as well.


Found the vendors re-up area.


I’ve seen this technique before.


This guy’s head wear is right for the occasion every day.


I heard it was over 100.000 in attendance that day.


We decided to choose our window and got in line to place our bets.




For some reason people were all stressed out that the ATMs kept running out of money.



This guy was not stressed out.


Finally a straw hat. The only person all day that complimented me on the hat I was wearing. Thank you sir.


A dark horse?


The carnation is a nice touch here.


Forget the thin hipster mustache, this guy’s schooling everybody by re-establishing that Papa Gino’s look.


Security was very present.


Here a race fan gets out of the cardboard box he mistook for a chair.


For some, all the racing excitement was just too much to handle.


Better get up soon if you want to place that winning bet sir.


A surprising number of Nantucket reds on the lawn this year.

Murphy at The Belmont Stakes 2014_sm

Noah took my picture with this interesting panaorama photo app. on his high-tech smarty pants phone. Cool distortion slices.


We actually decided to flee just before that 11th race since it was obviously going to double as a cataclysmic event training exercise.


This race fan held our attention more for his daring style of two wrist watches and two pairs of sunglasses, rather than the high chance that his bed spins were about to reach the next level.

Neither of us bet on California Chrome to win but neither of our bets panned out either. Another full bodied lesson in why gambling isn’t really for me but social documentation is right up my alley.

Congratulations to all those with the foresight/luck to have won that day.

Others seemed not to take it so well. Better luck next year.–part-ass-in-defeat-010645280.html


Rookie of the Year 1955

Here is the two page spread from March 1956 issue of The Ring proclaiming my great uncle, Bobby Murphy 1955 Rookie of the Year by the boxing writers. Extreme gratitude goes to Dan Cuoco for handing me this huge puzzle piece.

Bobby Murphy_Rookie of the Year 1955_01_sm

Bobby Murphy_Rookie of the Year 1955_02_sm


Here is a shot of The Brockton Blockbuster, World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano presenting Bobby with the Rookie of the Year award at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

Rocky Marciano_Bobby Murphy_Rookie of the Year 1956_sm


The Pug’s Lunch

Tuesday May 13th 2014

10:41am Florian Hall Dorchester, MA.

Florian Hall

On my first venture in many years to learn more about my great uncle Bobby Murphy I find myself at Florian Hall in Dorchester. I am an hour early for The Pug’s Lunch, a monthly meet up of Boston’s boxing legends. Florian Hall is a firefighters Union hall and there is an excellent firefighters painting in the lobby and a great tile mosaic of an old horse drawn fire truck on the go. I’m sitting at the bar in the Fireman’s Lounge. They are not open yet but the waitresses who are stocking the bar and setting up the tables let me stay. There is a TV on in front of me and suddenly I’m watching security camera footage of everybody’s favorite rapper, JAY-Z getting slapped & kicked in an elevator by his sister in-law while his wife passively watches. I’m a little stunned and then find myself thinking how rare it is to get a glimpse at the sometimes ugly realities of family life behind the big curtain of fame and success.

Dan Cuoco_Director IBRODan Cuoco

The first person I see moving around the long banquet table set up for the Pugs is Dan Cuoco. He is the director of the International Boxing Research Organization. I’ve been trading emails with him and he’s been quite informative and helpful. Dan tells me he brought something for me and hands me a laminated copy of an article about my great uncle Bobby Murphy from a 1956 issue of The Ring magazine. It’s a two-page spread proclaiming Bobby as Rookie of the Year. I’m in a bit of shock looking at this. It shows him with Bobby Jr. in his lap and an action shot of him dropping veteran boxer Chico Vejar at the Boston Garden in ’55. His pretty wife Barbara smiles in a photo and Bobby hits the speed bag in another. The article has details about Bobby’s parents (my great grandparents whom I never met) that I was not aware of. For instance that my great grandfather Cornelius (Les) Murphy was a boxer in his own right between 1902-1912. And that he trained Bobby to box from when he was 9 years old. It also tells how my great grandmother Helen (maiden name Kelly) was not really into Les making a boxer out of Bobby and that they were still fighting about it 14 years later. There’s also some input from Bobby’s neighbors saying they all love him and how he was active in drama and captained his High School football team. At 18 years old Bobby Murphy was named Outstanding Young Citizen of Brighton by the local Kiwanis chapter.

Next I met Jimmy Conners. He tells me he knew Bobby and says he was a good man. Jimmy then goes to his seat at the other end of the table and I tell him I’ll catch up with him before the lunch is through.

Dan then introduces me to Mickey Finn.  He is the president of the Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame, Boston’s only historical boxing fraternity incorporated back in 1947. Mickey and I have been trading some emails and he doesn’t disappoint in person. I bring out some of the 8x10s I’ve collected over the years and Mickey holds up a shot of Bobby nose to nose with Tony Veranis. I mention to Mickey that this was Bobby’s last fight and the end of his career. He looks me dead in the eye and says, “Tony was on his way up when your uncle was on his way down, Veranis never would have beat him on equal ground.” I am rather pleasantly taken aback with Mickey’s passionate delivery. We walk through the rest of the photos I brought and Mickey then introduces me to Jimbo Curran. A real character this guy is with just the right amount of Boston accent and a hilarious energy to keep you interested in whatever he has to say. I’ve also brought along an 8×10 photo of a young boxer named Joe Barboza posing next to Puerto Rico’s Jose Torres. Jimbo is really into that photo and starts telling a story from when he was a kid. As he tells it, Barboza and Johnny Martorano pulled up in a Cadillac somewhere in Southie where a guy was on a ladder painting. Barboza jumped out and kicked the ladder down. The guy now stranded two stories high pleaded with Barboza, “Joe, how am I gonna get down?” to which Barboza replied, “F**king jump you a**hole and you better have what you owe next time I see you.” Jimbo then tells us that Barboza turned to him and yelled, “Jimbo, you throw rocks at him!” before jumping back in the car and speeding off. His story gets some good laughs. Then they start talking about the backgrounds in some of the line up shots of boxers. It’s decided that most of the ones I have were taken in the New Garden gym that was on Friend St. near the old Boston Garden. Ed Bernard is sitting next to me and starts telling me how he used to train at the New Garden gym. He tells me how when he was really young an older guy got conversational with him in the locker room and kindly tried to pass down a pair of his old shorts. Ed was a little weirded out and turned him down not being sure how to respond. The older guy then walked away and another boxer turned to Ed and said, “Do you know, who that was? That was Tony DeMarco!” Ed then tells me he knows Tony well these days and is still waiting to get those shorts. I then hear that a guy named Al Clemente ran the New Garden. I’ve heard his name before and can tell he must have been a colorful character. The New Garden obviously has a rich history.

Everybody is already eating. I was holding out for fear I wouldn’t actually eat since I’m trying to wrangle all these conversations that are happening so fast. But now I’m really hungry so I order the cod special. The waitress asks me if I want another “tonic.” Wow, haven’t heard that in a long time. I can’t help but feel a sense of home I haven’t felt since I was a kid. This insignificant detail, spoken with the regional ring of my relatives from both sides, reminds me how deeply I sometimes miss my hometown.

After I eat, I go over and speak with Jimmy Conners and Joe Marques. Jimmy says he Bobby Murphy met at the New Garden gym. He tells me he knew him pretty well and speaks rather fondly of him. Once Jimmy gets going he is a real pleasure to listen to. I feel like I’ve known this guy forever. He tells me about his career and that if he didn’t make the smart financial decisions he did back then, he would have ended up broke like some of his friends did. these days, Jimmy owns a number of bars in the New Bedford area. He tells me that he thinks the Pugs Lunch is special in the sense that the bond between boxers is stronger compared to the athletes in other sports. Joe is quick to agree. Jimmy says the level of respect & admiration amongst boxers just isn’t found anywhere else. Joe hasn’t said much so far but after Jimmy says this, Joe lets out seasoned, “oh yeah” lit with a smile that shows a glimpse of all the personality he’s got in there.

Jimmy Conners is Pug of the MonthJimmy Connors looking good in 2014


Bobby Murphy and Jimmy Connors looking good in 1957

Pretty soon a lot of the guys start moving around and some make their way off. I move to another table with Mickey Finn, his fiancé Mary, Jimbo Curran, and Bobby Franklin. Bobby is writer for The Boston Post Gazette. He has a column about boxing called Boxing Ringside. He is also from Brighton and tells me that his father knew my great uncle and that he had met him on at least one occasion when he was younger. Bobby looks over the photos I brought and tells me he is working on something about the New Garden gyms’ history. He’s scouring the shots trying to figure out where each one was taken. A few are from the New Garden and some are from another gym that was previously some sort of well-decorated restaurant. The windows in the background have ornate decorations around the edges like no other boxing gym I’ve ever seen. Bobby tells me that it was on street level and didn’t have tall ceilings like the other boxing gyms.

 Bobby Franklin and Jimbo CurranBoxing writer Bobby Franklin and Southie legend Jimbo Curran

My waitress comes over to talk to me about my great uncle. Her name is Cathy and she tells me that she knows Irish Bobby Murphy’s widow. [Note: An older boxer named Edward Conarty from California took the name Irish Bob Murphy and boxed professionally from 1945 to 1954. I’m not sure how well they knew each other but I do have a photograph of them together.] It turns out that he relocated to Boston from the west coast. Irish Bob Murphy passed away after a motorcycle accident in 1961. In the early 90’s my great uncle Bobby Murphy was struck by a car and killed. It’s a strange coincidence that they both died in auto accidents. My waitress is very nice and she tells me that she is impressed I came all the way from Brooklyn to the Pugs Lunch. We keep talking and she says a bunch of nice things to me but I strangely find myself just wanting her to ask me if I want another “tonic.” I notice that Mickey Finn has some tattoos creeping out from under his shirtsleeves. I ask him how much ink he has only to watch him quickly roll up his right sleeve and show me a full sleeve of colorful work. He then shows me his left arm and I see another full sleeve. But, this arm also has a really nice B&W portrait of the world famous, clown of clowns, Emmett Kelly. Nice. Mickey tells me that Emmett is one of his heroes. I’ve always been pretty impressed with tattoo work that honors ones influences. Always a class move.

Mickey Finn reveals his Emmett KellyMickey shows off his Weary Willy.

We all leave Florian Hall and walk out to the parking lot.  Bobby Franklin is going to give me a ride to the bus station. We walk with Mickey and Mary to his car. His license plate is TKO4. Pretty cool. Bobby and Mickey then talk about how Tony DeMarco has the coveted TKO plate. I ask them how long ago he obtained it and Mickey tells me that he got it back in the 50’s. Wow. Mickey then digs in his trunk and hands me a Ring4 lapel pin. Very cool. To be presented with this small token feels really nice. We say our goodbyes and drive off.

Bobby gives me some copies of the Gazette to check out. As we drive I start the unavoidable conversation that happens about how Boston is unrecognizable in so many ways over the last 15 years since I left. Earlier we spoke of Tony DeMarco and how there is now a statue of him at the beginning of Hanover St. Bobby decides it’s a great time to show it to me and I’m game. Tony is usually at the Pugs Lunch but wasn’t there today. We park almost right in front of his statue. I am really impressed. It might as well be the Rocky statue at the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It’s positioned in a rather booming spot. Very fitting for Boston’s most legendary champion and professor emeritus of the sweet science. We walk over and I photograph it. I want to find the photo it was sculpted from. His pose is a full action shot with the look one has in that split second of victory. Very, very, cool.

Tony DeMarco's Statue

Tony DeMarco's Statue Plaque


The Friends Of Tony Veranis


Pat McCarthy, Tony Veranis, Bobby Murphy, Jimmy Connors

Last year during the Bulger trial I came across an excellent article by boxing writer Ted Sares. It chronicled some of the boxers to come out of Boston that had met unfortunate underworld endings. Crime and boxing have had a long, long relationship and Boston’s rich criminal landscape produced and seduced some very interesting characters. While reading the article I came across a mention of my great uncle Bobby Murphy that blew me away. Sares, writing about Veranis’s 1957 defeat over my great uncle (Bobby Murphy’s last fight) gave him a serious measure of respect.

“Tony’s best win may have been on December 3, 1957, when he stopped—and retired—the talented Bobby Murphy (19-3-1). Bobby, a former USA New England welterweight titleholder, had impressive wins over Vic Cardell (65-25-7), Fitzie Pruden (50-21), Rocky Sullivan (66-43-12) and Jackie O’Brien (65-17-9), as well as a draw with top contender Chico Vejar (63-5-1). A win over Murphy meant something.”

Read Ted’s full article here…

I traded some emails with Ted and he pointed me in the direction of Boston’s old school boxers monthly get together, The Pugs Lunch. Next week I’m going to attend to see what else I can find out about this great boxer in my family and try to find some of the guys who actually knew him.

Thank you Ted.


Brighton’s Golden Boy

Bobby Murphy photo in Barber Shop Brighton MA 1997©Ryan Murphy_sm

Back in 1997 I was studying photography at the Mass. College of Art. My subject at the time was barber shops. One day I stopped in a barber shop on the Leo M Birmingham Pkwy right across the street from Channel 38. Tony Priest was the barber who owned it and he was just fine with me hanging around taking pictures. I probably went there three or four times to photograph and give those guys prints of the picture I had made of them. On the first day I was there I was looking at all the stuff he had hanging on the walls when I noticed something that stopped me dead in my tracks. A picture of my great uncle Bobby Murphy was hanging on the wall next to an article announcing his recent death. “A tribute to Brighton’s Golden Boy” was the headline. It quickly told me more about his history than I’d ever known.

I had actually met him once about 7 or 8 years earlier. Through some girls I met at who worked at the swan boats in Boston’s Public Garden, I found out that Bobby still worked there. I had heard from my father for years that his uncle, the famous boxer, worked at the Swan Boats but I always thought it was long ago. So with my youthful enthusiasm I went down there one day asking for him. He was at lunch so I went over to a bench nearby and waited. Soon a skinny older man in a scully cap walked over and asked me who I was. I perked up and announced myself, telling him that his brother Edward (the oldest of the ten Murphy children, whom I never actually met) was my grandfather. I’m not really sure today what his actual response was but it wasn’t the reaction my extreme optimism had prepped me for. After that we spoke briefly before he said goodbye and pretty much walked away. Definitely not the feeling I had come looking for. It was also compounded by the fact that some of those girls were there that day and observed how it went. That look of paralyzed sympathy is anything but comforting.

Anyway, when I ran into Bobby again at that barber shop I was sad to hear about his death and took this picture of him on Tony Priest’s wall of fame. When I first announced to those guys, “hey uh, that’s my great uncle on your wall” Tony walked away from a guy in his chair, mid haircut and studied my face next to Bobby’s. After a few seconds he and the other barber felt satisfied it was true and told me I looked like him. That made me feel good.

The next time I went by Tony told me that he knew Bobby’s ex-wife Barbara and that he wanted to introduce me to her. I think she was a little apprehensive and I can understand that. We never connected. I know that Bobby and Barbara had two children, Bobby Jr. and Susan. I wish them well and hope they’re doing fine.

CU_Bobby Murphy photo in Barber Shop Brighton MA 1997©Ryan Murphy_smHere is a transcription of the framed article above written by Jim Twomey.

A tribute to Brighton’s “Golden Boy”

The term “Golden Boy” is, for the most part, reserved for those in the field of sports. The requirements for this accolade are youth, excellence in their chosen field, and if the package is complete, they are endowed with good looks, which help increase their drawing power with the adoring public.

Bobby Murphy possessed all three, and in abundance. He was Brighton’s “Golden Boy.”

Bob Murphy passed away a few weeks ago from a motor vehicle accident, and sad to say, many of his friends and admirers (and they were legion) were unaware of his death.

Still, there were many who did receive the sorrowful news, and they filled St. Columbkille’s Church in Brighton to pay their last respects to Bob and the rest of the Murphy family.

Bob first displayed his athletic ability playing baseball and football at Brighton High as a member of the class of ’51. Before he graduated, he found time to win countless trophies and medals throughout New England as an outstanding amateur boxing champ.

One of Bob’s biggest wins as an amateur was also an emotional one when he drew as his opponent his friend and neighbor, Bill “Bucky” McHugh. They were finalists in the New England Tournament and the winner would decide who was the champ in their weight division.

These two warriors put their friendship on hold and went at it hell bent for leather to jaw in a Pier 6 brawl that had the crowd on it’s feet from bell to bell with nary a clinch in the contest. Both fighters had to climb off the deck for this one, and when the final gong sounded they embraced one another in the center of the ring.

Bob Murphy was awarded the decision, but anyone who was there that evening will tell you that Brighton was the winner, as they were witness to the best fight in the whole tournament. As a result, Bob Murphy was voted the honor as the best fighter of all the contestants.

It wasn’t too long before fight managers and promoters called on Bob to join their forces, but a force much stronger and more demanding beat them to the punch: Uncle Sam. Before you could say “You’re in the army now,” Bob was.

With his outstanding amateur credentials preceding him, Bob was soon climbing through the ropes representing the U.S. Army Boxing Team, performing for thousands of GI’s, both here and overseas in Korea. It was his Army stint that honed Bob into the polished ring craftsman that he was soon to become.

He boxed the best of the servicemen in all branches here and overseas, and when he completed his service tour, the offers came pouring in for Brighton’s “Golden Boy.”

His professional record was a very good one, and peaked with wins over top welterweight contenders such as Vic Cardell and Fitzie Pruden. His comeback against the nationally-known, and TV headliner Chico Vejar gave Bobby some of the well-earned accolades he so deserved. He had to come on strong against the New York favorite, dropping Vejar twice in the late rounds to garner the split.

Those outstanding outings were duly noted by Nat Fleischer, editor of the boxing bible “Ring Magazine.” Bobby gained more national prominence as “Ring” voted him “Rookie of the year.”

It was shortly after this honor that Bob began his battle with the energy-draining and feverish germ, mononucleosis. A hiatus from the ring schedule was ordered until Bob could return to the gym.

Many fans and friends thought he came back too soon, but Bob insisted he was fine and signed on to meet the talented but vastly underrated Walter Byars. Byars turned the tables on Bobby and defeated him in back to back fights. Bob took another time out, this time to reflect on his ring future. Should he go back the drawing board and try to reverse his loses to Byars, or should he listen to the fight promoters throughout New England who still wanted him to headline their fight cards?

There were strong rumors that Bobby was offered a TV fight on the west coast against the highly touted Art Aragon. So many things to weigh, but only one decision to make, so Bobby opted to try a couple of tune-ups for the answer.

He was not happy with either performance, and hung them up for good.

He had no second thoughts about the decision, and for the most part, his departure from the ring left no void in his life. He won every possible honor as an amateur from his championship days as a Park Dept. medalist, Golden Gloves winner, and, on two occasions he was voted the best fighter in New England.

He won countless awards as a member of the U.S. Army’s Boxing Team then, as a professional, whipped some of the best welterweights around. He was truly Brighton’s “Golden Boy,” and we shall never forget him. He was a class fellow inside and outside the ropes, and to the very end, the most humble man regarding his ring craftsmanship. Rest in peace Bob, you have given us all some golden years.

Jim Twomey



Notes from Day 35 of the Whitey Bulger trial



Day 35 of the James J. Bulger Trial

Moakley Federal Courthouse, Boston MA.

3:05 am

I arrive at the courthouse and take the #3 spot in line. Ahead of me is Veronica from my two previous days and a woman named Cara. #4 then arrives behind me. His name is Andrew. He tells me he used to be a story assignment editor for one of the local TV stations. We all talk about the case.


4:00 am

Veronica has her DVD player again and this time she plays “Throw Mama From The Train”. She puts it on the ground in front of us all. Billy Crystal looks young.


4:16 am

The rest of the first ten arrive. #9 & #10 Jump out of a car and run over to the line. A father and his son are here from St. Louis. Another man is a retired crime reporter from Montreal. He tells us about a mineral rights lawyer from Oklahoma who was a there here a few days before. He says that he knew an astounding amount of information about the case and Bulger’s history. The ex-reporter says that he asked the man what were FBI agent John Connolly’s three nicknames. “Zip, Elvis and Neighbor” the man from Oklahoma answered quickly. My friend Chris who attended the trial two days earlier told me about this guy. He told him that he had become a Bulger pen pal writing to him soon after he was captured. He said that he had 4 or 5 letters from Bulger. He said that they were always signed “Jim”.


5:00 am

12 people are now on line. A reporter fro WCVB Channel 5 comes by and asks to interview me. I politely pass as I am taking another day off from work for unexplained reasons.


5:30 am

It starts to drizzle. The line’s orderliness goes out the window as everybody comes underneath the front entrance to escape the rain. It soon starts coming down really hard.


5:50 am

The sun starts to come out. The streetlights switch off.


7:30 am

We are let into the courthouse five at a time and led right through security. The five of us run to the elevators and quickly start hitting the door close button. We get to the 5th floor ready to sprint to the list at the courtroom door but the hallway is empty. We casually walk the rest of the way.


8:15 am

We are let into the courtroom. Steve Davis and the Donahue family are present. Andrew and sit by the isle. We’ve been talking about the case and Bulger in general for the last couple of hours. He’s more knowledgeable than most of the people you meet on line.


8:30 am

Bulger atty. Hank Brennan enters the courtroom. Andrew tells me that I need to google the photo of Jackie Bulger wearing a fake mustache for a fake id photo for Whitey.


8:37 am

JW Carney enters the courtroom.


8:45 am

James J. Bulger enters the courtroom. His niece and a tall man are seated in the Bulger family row. Bulger acknowledges them.


8:46 am

Hank Brennan & Bulger share a chuckle at the defense table.


8:50 am

Judge Denise J. Casper deals with some motions. Carney states that they have decided to forfeit the 800k that was found in his apartment. Carney says that they would like the money to go to the families that had their awarded judgment taken away from them. This is huge. Carney then says that they want to meet with Bulger in the confidential meeting rooms during recess to speak about whether Bulger will take the stand. Andrew tells me that this is a sign that he will be taking the stand.


9:00 am

The jury enters the courtroom. Brennan & Bulger talk. Bulger holds up his yellow legal pad to hide their conversation.


9:05 am

JW Carney calls Mrs. Desi SideropolousShe has been the chief secretary at the Boston FBI office for over sixty years. Served under 18 SACs. Carney asks her how dictation is taken. Mrs. Sideropolous doesn’t know where the voice is coming from. Carney has to wave his hands from the podium so she can see where to respond to.  She finds him and tells him that it is done by hand and not by Dictaphone. Carney leads her into telling how the SAC used to have a safe in his office. SACs do not have safe anymore. Carney is showing her the same report by SAC Sarhatt in three different versions. Mrs. Sideropolous comes across very cute in a feisty grandma way. Her Boston accent is thick. Carney shows her another version of the same document. She quickly says out loud, “That’s not my IBM” meaning she didn’t type that version. Carney asks how long SACs stayed in the Boston office. “About three years.” Carney then leads her to say that an incoming SAC told her to destroy the report at hand, “because if I didn’t that we all would get fired.”

9:40 am

Side bar is called. The white noise is played.


9:44 am

Bulger has two sets of glasses on the defense table. He continues to keep his head down and writes on his yellow legal pad.


9:46 am

The Prosecution moves to cross-examine. Prosecutor is showing Mrs. Sideropolous the same four versions of the document. I decide to run to the restroom. On the way back I see John Martorano approaching the courtroom door ahead of me. He’s dressed to the nines. He stands at the door waiting to be called. I approach the door and notice that Martorano is 3-4 inches shorter than me.  I re-enter the courtroom and JW Carney is objecting to every question the prosecution is asking. He comically gets up out of his seat and raises both hands over his head and objects again.


9:55 am

Mrs. Sideropolous is excused after the prosecutor doesn’t really get anywhere with her.


9:57 am

Sidebar is called.


10:00 am

JW Carney begins reading Marion Hussey’s testimony from a prior appearance. She is too ill to appear in court. The judge instructs the jury on how to regard this evidence. Hussey talks about how Deborah was a troubled girl. Flemmi was always bad mouthing Deborah calling her a slut a whore and a drug addict. Marion Hussey later kicked Flemmi out of the house. She tells how she was arguing about Deborah with Flemmi about her general drugged up state. Says Flemmi was slapping Deborah around in front of her. Deborah yelled out to Marion that she had been “sucking his prick for years.” Marion left the room in shock. As she was leaving Deborah said to her, “Mom I’m not lying.” Marion said to her, “I believe you.” Hussey told Flemmi to remove all of his belongings from the house. He did so the next day.


10:15 am

John Martorano is called to the witness stand. He enters the courtroom and walks right past me. His dapper look is crowned with a pair of swishy looking sunglasses that an older woman from Boca Raton might be wearing. JW carney leads Martorano towards the death of Debra Davis.



Side bar is called after the prosecution objects three times. Martorano sits and stares at Bulger. Bulger does not return the gaze and just continues writing on his yellow pad. Atty. Brennan watches Martorano over Bulger. Martorano patiently waits.


10:20 am

Martorano says he used to socialize with Flemmi and Debra Davis. Martorano says that he asked Flemmi how Davis was doing. Flemmi told him that she wasn’t coming back and that he strangled her. The prosecution is constantly objecting. Martorano says that Flemmi told him that he strangled her and that it was an accident.


10:25 am

Wyshak cross-examines and gets him to agree that he wasn’t present when she was killed.


10:26 am

Carney leads him to say that he asked Flemmi how you strangle someone by accident. Carney approaches and hands Martorano a previous deposition of his. To read it, Martorano takes off his Boca sunglasses and pulls out a pair of humble reading glasses. After he finishes reading the document he replaces the Boca sunglasses. Martorano says that Flemmi never answered his question.


10:28 am

Wyshak asks Martorano who Flemmi’s criminal partner was at the time of Debra Davis’s death. Martorano answers “Whitey.”

bulger-trial John Martorano on the stand again.

10:29 am

20 min. recess is called.


10:50 am

JW Carney asks his wife, son & daughter to step outside of the courtroom.


10:51 am

JW Carney and his family return.


10:53 am

Judge Casper returns and begins discussing some matters continued from earlier.


10:55 am

JW Carney states that the defense will rest. Many people in the gallery are looking at each other in disappointment. The judge asks Bulger why he’s decided not to testify. Bulger stands and speaks! (After following Bulger’s exploits for some 23 years I am finally now witness to seeing and hearing him speak) Bulger tells the judge that he was promised immunity from Jeremiah O’Sullivan for saving his life. He says that “the whole trial is a sham and you can do what you want with me.” Before he is even finished Patricia Donahue, widow of Michael Donahue, who was an innocent bystander in the murder of Brian Halloran, yells from her seat, “You’re a coward!” A Bailiff comes over to quiet her but really doesn’t even confront her.


11:00 am

The jury is about to be lead back in. Bulger is in conversation with both of his attorneys. The judge is instructing the jury before dismissing them.


11:05 am

The jury is dismissed. The judge is going over the formalities of the defense resting its case.


11:10 am

Judge Casper starts reading off all of the charges against Bulger. Carney holds up a legal pad to shield their conversation before the judge. The list of charges is rather long and detailed. Carney is again blocking their conversation with a legal pad. More and more descriptions of charges, on and on and on. “Bookmaking, loansharking, extortion… various co-conspirators… murders perpetrated to protect the Winter Hill organization… various crimes including murder”


11:20 am

Prosecutor Wyshak gets up and pleads for the court to make sure JW Carney doesn’t talk to the press. Carney agrees and says he has always complied with the courts order and will continue to comply. Wyshak immediately retorts that he has spoken and did so yesterday.


11:27 am

Wyshak is asking for more time for his closing remarks. Judge Casper allows him 15 more minutes to the already 3 hours allotted.


11:35 am

Bulger is lead out of the courtroom. Andrew who is seated next to me tells me that he thinks Bulger looked teary eyed when he looked at his niece on the family bench before he left the courtroom. I didn’t see it.



Outside the courtroom I see State Policeman Tom Foley talking to a group of people and Boston mob lawyer Anthony Cardinale. It feels like they are all semi-celebrating the end of this story. Moods are high amongst all of the contributors to this trial.


11:55 am

I notice T.J. English, author of “The Westies” outside the courthouse and strike up a conversation. He tells me that he’s working on a book about the trial. He tells me that he’s been there for every day of the trial. I ask him if he was surprised that Bulger did not testify. He tells me that he won quite a few bets on the matter. I tell him about the man from Oklahoma who had attended the trial the previous day who said he had exchanged letters with Bulger. He tells me that he also wrote to Bulger but that he never responded to any of his letters. English then tells me that he introduced himself to Bulger’s attorney Hank Brennan. Brennan said he was very pleased to meet him and that his client had required he read “The Westies” before the trial began. I tell English that is an excellent compliment. We talk about the trial. English tells me that he doesn’t think that Bulger and Flemmi were really friends beyond their business relationship. I’m not sure what I think about that. JW Carney exits the courthouse and approaches the press to make a statement. Both of us get closer to listen.


12:10 pm

After Carney is finished with his main comment he is doing an interview with a reporter to the side. His daughter and I start talking. I tell her I’ve seen her at the trial on previous days with an entourage. She laughs and says, “yeah, well you know…” I finish her sentence, “if my father were defending a huge case like this I’d be there every day too.” She laughs and says, “This is pretty historic.” She’s very nice and we say a few more things before her father calls to her to leave with him after finishing an interview.


12:45 pm

I meet my Friend Thos for lunch down the street from the courthouse at Louis. It’s on the second floor and has a nice view of the harbor. I see the Donahue family seated at a big table out on the deck. They are lifting their glasses in a toast.

J.W. Carney_R. Murphy There I am in the blue shirt standing between T.J. English, author of The Westies holding out his audio recorder and Joe Berlinger, director of Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger shooting with his video camera.

Here is the NECN report that I took this frame from.

Here is the docket for the day.

Docket day 35 Bulger trial

Steve from Methuen

Steve is easily the most colorful of my new Bulger trial friends.

“Hey, Paisan!” Is how he greeted me in line at 4am on our second morning together.

Here we are waiting to go through the metal detectors.


Notes from Day 25 of the Whitey Bulger trial

Flemmi returns from the lam in ’74.

Bulger did not look at Flemmi once during this day’s proceedings.

Flemmi and Bulger in a more comfortable seating arrangement.

Winter Hill’s big six.




 Day 25 of the James J. Bulger Trial

Moakley Federal Courthouse, Boston MA.


3:40 am

Because of all the attention Stephen Flemmi’s coming testimony has brought to the trial I decide to come earlier than yesterday. When I arrive I am #5 in line. Here before me is the same crew from yesterday, Dee, Veronica, Lauren and her father David. Dee and Veronica are sitting by the front door watching “The Departed” on a portable DVD player. Veronica tells me that she also brought a comedy and a musical.


4:20 am

#11 from yesterday, Steve, arrives with his daughter Brittany. Today he is #6


4:45 am

The older lady who yesterday asked everyone what time they turned up has just arrived. There are already 13 people ahead of her and her friend. They just hover by the door in denial that they have struck out again. Another woman gets authoritative and has everybody get in line who is hovering.


6:00 am

We are let in the lobby to wait. There are 30 people in line so far.


6:50 am

Steve is sitting next to me in the lobby. On his phone he shows me a picture of his friend Vinnie who is now named Candice. In the picture Candice is dressed in all white with pink hair standing next to a white sports car. Steve tells me that Vinnie/Candice got caught robbing the Caldor in their hometown of Methuen. For that he was sentenced to 10 years. When he came out he was now known as Candice. Steve tells me that Vinnie and his crew wanted Steve to come on the job but he couldn’t do it.

Steve later tells me that he one time had to go to one of Bulger’s guys to help straighten out a matter over an unpaid horse bet. He tells me that he was owed 3 thousand and the other party would not pay. He says that the Bulger assosciate called the other party and made a long series of high energy threats. “First he tells him it’s no longer 3, now its 5 thousand.” Steve says that after the associate got off the phone with the other party it was like night and day, and he immediately went back to being cool calm and collected. “He told me, OK so that should be all set. Let me know what happens in a few days.” Steve tells me that before he could leave the premises the associate picked up the phone and began calling the other party again. “I was like what the fuck is he doing?” He said the associate turned it back up to 11 and again began wildly threatening the other party with violence. “He was giving him a follow up call, immediately, just to shake him up all over again.”


7:30 am

We are let in through security. When we get to the 5th floor there is a couple there that were not on line with us downstairs. They obviously don’t know the drill about the list because they are just standing around. I sprint past them to the sign in sheet and get my name down. They end up in line for the sheet before a couple that are #9 and #10 effectively shutting them out. The woman who is #9 is the same one who got authoritative downstairs and she is not having it. They obviously got in somehow and are trying to blend in with us. Everybody I was in line with is up in arms. They try to claim that they were in line downstairs. Dee responds: you weren’t in line you guys are liars”. Then the man tries to say that they were waiting in a different line. Even worse reaction from everybody. The couple then stays away from the rest of the group as it’s quickly gotten pretty uncomfortable for them. The bailiff in charge of the list could care less. He states to everyone that all that matters to get in is getting your name on this list and where you were in line downstairs is irrelevant. He tells the woman who is was shut out that she can go and complain to the US Marshalls downstairs. Her and her husband leave to go and complain.


8:10 am

The Guard from downstairs comes up and motions to the bailiff to come and speak with him. After a few minutes the Bailiff goes over and tells the cheaters that they have to leave. A few minutes later the couple who went and complained return to a round of applause from our group.


8:15 am

We are let into the courtroom. We are all talking about what happened. The couple who got back in are telling us how the Marshall really didn’t care either. She had to wait around for a supervisor to show up and pleaded her case.  She said that once the supervisor realized that they weren’t going to give up he got to the bottom of it. It turns out the man of cheater couple was a law enforcement officer and the woman worked at the DA’s office. They used their credentials to get upstairs before we were let in.


8:20 am

Since 8 of the 10 of us are the same from yesterday we are pretty well socially acquainted. Someone mentions that we should have a reunion.


8:30 am

Hank Brennan arrives.


8:35 am

Jay Carney arrives.


8:38 am

On my way to the bathroom I see the expelled line jumping law enforcement couple. They are standing by the elevators looking unhappy. On they way back from the bathroom I say to them, “good plan, almost worked” and head back to the courtroom. I tell the crew when I get back inside.


8:45 am

Bulger enters he courtroom. Today the only difference from yesterday’s outfit is a dark blue shirt instead of a black one.


8:47 am

Federal Judge Denise j. Casper enters the courtroom. Some matters are discussed about Flemmi regarding the Judge Wolf hearings from1995.


8:50 am

Bulger has his head down and is busy writing on his pad. Jackie Bulger is again on the bench in front of me.


8:55 am

Hank Brennan come over and confers with Jackie.


9:00 am

Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi enters the courtroom. The jury enters and we are back in session.


9:03 am

Fred Wyshak starts questioning Flemmi. A copy of Flemmi’s agreement with the government is put on the video screens. Wyshak slowly goes over it with him. Jackie Bulger leans in close to get a better look.


9:14 am

Flemmi talks about the Back Bay condos, parking spots and bank accounts that were seized from him by the government. He tells him that he had a brokers license and invested in real estate. He states that all the money used to purchase these things was illegal.


9:16 am

Flemmi talks about his start in a life of crime. He talks about the Bennett brothers then about Frank Salemme. Flemmi talks about Joe Barboza and how his brother Jimmy was aligned with him and his group. He tells how he knew the Anguilo brothers, how there was a Charlestown group led by the McCloughlin brothers, and a group in Somerville’s Winter Hill led by Buddy McLean & Howie Winter. He tells of how FBI agent H. Paul Rico was friends with the Bennett brothers. Wyshak puts an classic B&W image of Partiaca Family underboss Henry Tameleo doing the perp walk with agents H. Paul Rico and Dennis Condon on either side of him. Both men seem to be wearing identical pork pie style straw hats.

Flemmi talks about how at the beginning of the 60’s gang war he was with the Bennett brothers who were aligned with the Charlestown group. The Bennetts soon changed sides and aligned themselves with the Winter Hill group because of agent H. Paul Rico who was friendly with Buddy McLean.

Flemmi tells how he got into a fistfight with Larry Zannino and another mafia solider over 3 thousand for a number that came up that the mafia didn’t want to pay. Wyshak asks if that was a no-no to assault a mafia member. Flemmi responds, “at the time I really didn’t care.” Zannino and his associate ended up Fleeing before the matter was settled. At a later date J.R. Russo showed up at Flemmi’s bar to continue the “negotiations” and was shot in the leg by one of Flemmi’s associates who had a nervous trigger finger. Flemmi later apologized to Russo and the entire matter was settled with Flemmi getting the 3 thousand he initially had coming to him.

Flemmi tells how H. Paul Rico helped him and Frank Salemme find and kill Punchy McCloughlin by providing detailed notes about his daily routine. Flemmi tells how McCloughlin showed up right on time at a bus stop in Dedham on his way to his brother’s trial in Boston. “I stepped out from behind a building and shot him six times.

Wyshak leads Flemmi through a long list of murder victims he killed himself or was involved in. “How did you kill Wimpy Bennett?” “I shot him in the head.” “Where did you dispose of the body?” “On the grounds of a gun range out in Hopkinton.” “After you killed the Bennett brothers did you take over their bookmaking operation?” “Yes.”

Wyshak leads Flemmi through the rigging of a bomb under the car of Joe Barboza’s Lawyer’s. Flemmi tells him that He and Salemme practiced on a similar modeled car with only the blasting cap to make sure the connection was good. “Salemme was an electrician so he was good with wiring things.”

Flemmi tells how the actual gang war of the 60’s only took the lives of maybe 6 people. The other 54 were killed under the cover of the gang war but were killed really for other reasons. “Was the gang war out of control?” “Yes, very much so.”

8:50 am

Flemmi tells how he went on the lam because he was told he was about to be arrested for his involvement in the car bombing. He says he went to Florida and California before ending up in Montreal. Tells Wyshak that he went to work at a printing press there. He tells how Howie Winter, John Martorano and others came up to visit him and bring him money. Flemmi tells of how he returned to Boston in May of ’74 once he was told by agent H. Paul Rico that the coast was clear. Once he came back to Boston he began working with the Winter Hill group.


9:30 am

Wyshak puts on the screen a classic tree graph of the members of the Winter Hill group circa 1975 to 1980. At the top are the six leaders: James Bulger, Stephen Flemmi, John Martorno, Howie Winter, Joe MacDonald and Jimmy Sims. There are about 30 others underneath them. Flemmi tells Wyshak that whatever decisions needed to be made had to be agreed upon by all six leaders of the Winter Hill group.


10:15 am

Flemmi tells how he and Bulger became friends easily because they didn’t drink and worked out regularly unlike the other members who were partiers. Flemmi says that Bulger proposed to the group that he go and meet with FBI agent John Connolly who had recently approached him. They all agreed that it was a good idea. Bulger came back and told them that among other things Connolly offered to help them out against the local mafia. Flemmi stated that he immediately started getting information from Connelly through Bulger that dramatically helped his business.


10:30 am

Flemmi tells how they killed Eddie Connors of Dorchester while he was using a payphone. We are shown a B&W flash photo of Connors slumped in the phone booth after being shot with a machine gun. Shattered glass surrounds the ground around the phone booth.

Flemmi tells how Bulger insisted that they needed to kill Tommy King. Flemmi re-states that Bulger had to make a case to the entire group since all the leaders of the Winter Hill group had to agree on all matters.


10:40 am

Flemmi tells how Bulger introduced him to agent John Connolly at a coffee shop in Newton. Agent Dennis Condon, who Flemmi already knew through agent H. Paul Rico was also there. Flemmi was suspicious of the meeting. He suspected that he might be being set up somehow.


10:43 am

Flemmi says that he was approached for membership in the local mafia several times. “What did you say to them?”  “I repeatedly declined.”


10:47 am

Flemmi states that Bulger gave Connolly an Alcatraz belt buckle and a diamond ring for his wife.


10:50 am

Bulger had Flemmi come to his mother’s house when Connolly would be there. This meeting was to set up Flemmi to start meeting Connolly on his own.


10:55 am

Judge Casper calls the mid morning break. Out in the hallway I notice crime fiction author Richard Marinick. He wrote of a book called “Boyos” I enjoyed a few years ago. I strike up a conversation and we talk about yesterday’s proceedings and the case in general. Marinick watching from one of the overflow rooms. I ask about the video footage they get to see in there and he tells me that the camera angles suck. Marinick tells me about a new project he’s working on about contemporary Boston black street gangs. I’m impressed he’s looking to venture a bit outside of his bailiwick.


11:25 am

Court resumes. Flemmi tells how they killed Richard Castucci in an apartment down the street from the Winter Hill’s HQ at Marshall Street Motors. A rather graphic B&W crime scene photo of Castucci is shown to the court. Castucci’s head is sticking out of a sleeping bag in the trunk of his own car.


11:35 am

Flemmi tells a story about some New York mafia members who came to Boston to deal with some money that was owed to a New York bookie. To intimidate them they were brought to Marshall Street Motors where Martorano had gathered as many Boston area criminals as possible as a show of force. The debt was not going to be paid due to the fact that the New York bookie that was owed the money had given away the location of a safe house apartment that Jimmy Sims and Joe McDonald were holed up at in New York City. The New Yorkers got the message and the debt was not repaid.


11:45 am

Flemmi talks about how he first met John Morris at the agent’s home. They spoke about getting Bulger & Flemmi dropped from an upcoming horse race fixing indictment.


11:48 am

A side bar is called. Bulger sits at his seat and does not take his eyes off of his yellow legal pad. Flemmi is calm and occasionally looks around but generally looks straight ahead.


11:50 am

Flemmi tells how Morris and Connolly told him and Bulger that they were essential to the Boston FBI’s mafia investigations. Connolly told them when the indictments were coming down. This gave Martorano the time he needed to go on the lam. Flemmi also tells how the Winter Hill Group generally got their finances together in preparation of potentially being off the street for a long period of time.  The horse race fixing case left Bulger and Flemmi as the last men standing and in charge of the Winter Hill group. Martorano was still in as a full partner in the income generated.


11:59 am

Flemmi states that they were paying State Trooper Richard J. Schneiderhan 1 thousand a month from the late 70’s to the 90’s. Flemmi describes the EX fund that they always maintained. It was a slush fund for dealing with seen and unseen expenses. It fluctuated at times between 50 and 250 thousand.



Flemmi tells how after the Horse race fixing case was over and the better part of the Winter Hill group was incarcerated that Howie Winter told them that they couldn’t use the Marshall Street Motors garage as their HQ anymore. George Kaufman then purchased the Lancaster St. garage and that became the new HQ for the Winter Hill group.


12:06 pm

Wyshak shows a series of B&W surveillance photos that were taken during a State Police investigation of Lancaster St. They show a literal who’s who of the Boston underworld. Only a few of the shots from this collection have been shown to the public. Beyond the Irish and Italian gangsters a number of Jewish bookies are shown. The deceased Frank Salemme Jr. whose father was incarcerated during this period also makes an appearance. The few shots released to the public only show serious or passive appearances of the subjects. The photos presented to the court today show a wide range of smiles, laughter and animated gesture.


12:12 pm

Flemmi tells how Connolly told them that the Lancaster St. Garage was under surveillance and that they moved soon after that.


12:15 pm

Flemmi says that John Callahan was a legitimate businessman who liked to rub shoulders with wise guys. How he wanted to buy World Jai Lai and that he needed help from Bulger and Flemmi to deal with any possible interference from any other criminal groups.


12:20 pm

Flemmi said that Bulger and him went along with the killing of Roger Wheeler. He states that they really didn’t want to do it but that John Martorano was going to do it anyways. “Why would you go along with it?” “Well, we had a lot of history together.” “What do you mean by that?” “We killed a lot of people together. You know we were in all the way.” “In for a penny in for a pound?” “Yes, exactly.”


12:20 pm

“Why did you bring a gun to a meeting with Raymond Patriarca Jr.?” “Because I didn’t trust the mafia.”


12:35 pm

Bulger and Flemmi give Connolly 50 thousand from the split of a score in 1983. Connolly says to them “I’m in the gang.”


12:38 pm

Flemmi lists 6 or 7 other FBI agents that they gave money to.


12:40 pm

“Did FBI agent John Newton ever give you anything?” “Yes.” “What?” “John Newton gave us a case of C-4 explosives.”


12:45 pm

“How much money did you give Connolly over the years?” Flemmi tells Wyshak that they gave him over 230 thousand plus other gifts.


12:50 pm

“Were you in love with Debra Davis?” “I loved her but I wasn’t in love with her.” Flemmi tells how he was throwing Debra Davis a birthday party when Bulger called and said they had to meet with Connolly immediately. Bulger told Flemmi to tell her he’d take her out another time. During an argument Flemmi revealed to Davis that he was going to meet with Bulger and Connolly. Bulger and Connolly were unhappy about that he had done that. Bulger told Flemmi he wanted to kill Davis numerous times. Flemmi didn’t agree at first but Bulger made an extensive case for killing her.


12:57 pm

Flemmi is describing the killing of Debra Davis. Bulger grabbed her by the neck and strangled her. “He took her down the stairs strangling her all the way down.” Debra’s brother, Steve Davis is sitting in the front row. His face is red and he is barely able to hold back his tears. Many in the courtroom are watching Davis as he listens to Flemmi describe the brutal murder of his sister. Veronica who is sitting next to me wipes away some tears and tries to compose herself. There is a strong wave of emotion sweeping the courtroom. I realize that I am also getting choked up.


1:05 pm

Judge Casper asks Wyshak if this would be a good place to stop for the day, he agrees. The jury is excused. Steve Davis leaves the courtroom immediately.

Steve Davis

Debra Davis



Notes from Day 24 of the Whitey Bulger trial

Last week I traveled back to Boston to see Stephen Flemmi testify in the trial of James J. Bulger.