BOSTON — The former right-hand man of James "Whitey" Bulger testified Monday that he saw the alleged mobster open fire on a car and kill two men in 1982.
Kevin Weeks took the witness stand at Bulger's racketeering trial and said he saw Bulger extort multiple businessmen and drug dealers for a cut of their profits.
Weeks said he first developed a friendship with Bulger in the 1970s while he was working as a bouncer at Triple O's, a South Boston bar where Bulger did business as the leader of the Winter Hill Gang. Soon, he said, he was working as an enforcer, driving around South Boston and picking up cash from local bookmakers Bulger and his gang were extorting.
"Sometimes I'd beat somebody up," he said.
In May 1982, Weeks said, he went from being muscle to helping Bulger in a murder.
The target was Edward "Brian" Halloran, a man who Bulger had heard was cooperating with authorities.
"Brian Halloran was talking to the FBI about Jim Bulger and some murders," Weeks said.
Weeks said that after another Winter Hill member told Bulger he had spotted Halloran on a pay phone, Bulger drove to one of the gang's hangouts in a "hit car." Bulger was wearing a wig and fake moustache, he said.
Bulger told him to drive to the waterfront and wait there, Weeks said. A short while later, Bulger drove up, with a man wearing a ski mask lying in the back seat. Weeks said the man waved to him, but he said he did not know for sure who it was.
Weeks said Bulger handed him a two-way radio, told him to watch Halloran in a restaurant, then let him know when Halloran was coming out.
Weeks said he told Bulger, "The balloon's rising," as Halloran started to leave the restaurant, a reference to Halloran's nickname, "Balloonhead." When Halloran walked outside, Weeks said he told Bulger, "The balloon's in the air."
Halloran got into a blue Datsun driven by a friend, Michael Donahue.
Weeks said he saw Bulger pull up to the car.
"He slid across the front seat and he yelled out, `Brian!' and he proceeded to start shooting," Weeks said.
The car Halloran and Donahue were in drifted across the road and hit something, Weeks said.
Halloran then got out of the car, and "Jim Bulger just started shooting right at him," Weeks said. "His body was bouncing on the ground."
Both Halloran and Donahue were killed. Weeks said he had never met Donahue, and he was not a target of the shooting.
Both Bulger and the person in the back seat fired at the car, Weeks said.
When he called Bulger later that night, Bulger said he was eating dinner with his girlfriend and urged him to "go get something to eat," Weeks said.
Donahue's son Thomas, who has attended every day of the monthlong trial with his mother and two brothers, said hearing Weeks testify about the killing of his father had shaken his family.
"It tears you apart hearing the horrific story," he said.
Weeks, who was a close associate of Bulger's for two decades, later became a government witness and eventually led authorities to the bodies of people who were allegedly killed by Bulger and the gang. He served five years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory to five murders.
Bulger stared straight ahead during much of Weeks' testimony and only glanced at him occasionally.
Weeks also described how Bulger acquired a liquor store in South Boston. Prosecutors say Bulger forced Stephen Rakes to sell his liquor store to him in 1984 to use as a headquarters for his gang and as a source of "legitimate" income.
Weeks denied that the gang forced Rakes to sell the store, saying Rakes had agreed with an offer from Bulger to buy the store for $100,000. He said when they arrived at Rakes' house to close the deal, Rakes said his wife didn't want to sell the store and complained about the selling price.
"He was trying to shake us down," Weeks said.
At the time, Rakes' two young daughters were in the room and Bulger was bouncing one of the girls on his lap, Weeks said. He said he pulled a gun out of his waistband and put it on the table. The girl on Bulger's lap reached for the gun, Weeks said. Bulger then told him to put it away.
Weeks said Bulger told Rakes he couldn't back out of the sale.
"At that point, we went through with the deal," he said.
"We didn't go to him to buy the store. He came to us. It wasn't your regular extortion," Weeks said.
Rakes, who was in the courtroom for Weeks' testimony, later disputed his account and said he was forced to sell his store to Bulger.
"Kevin continues to lie, as usual, because that's what he has to do," he said.
"My liquor store was never for sale – never, never, never."
In addition to the slayings of Halloran and Donahue, Weeks has testified previously that he was present for three other killings committed by Bulger.
Bulger, 83, is accused of playing a role in 19 killings while allegedly leading the Winter Hill Gang. He has pleaded not guilty.
Bulger fled Boston in 1994 and was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
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James "Whitey" Bulger
Gangster. Informant. Fugitive. These are three words that best described Bulger's life in crime. Born in South Boston, he rose to be a powerful figure in organized crime, and was allegedly involved in drug dealing, extortion, loan-sharking, gambling and other illegal activities. Prosecutors allege that he cemented his place atop the underworld through violence, charging him with 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. During those years, however, he was also an FBI informant. HIs relationship with the FBI was corrupt and in 1994 the agent he worked with tipped him off about a looming indictment. Bulger skipped town and became one of the most wanted men in America. Finally, in 2011, he was found living under an assumed identity in Santa Monica, Calif. with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. This June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger after his capture in Santa Monica. (AP Photo/ U.S. Marshals Service, File)
Bulger, through the years
These 1984 file photos released by the FBI show James "Whitey" Bulger. (AP Photo/FBI, file)
Bulger, through the years
These 1953 file Boston police booking photos provided by The Boston Globe show James "Whitey" Bulger after an arrest. (AP Photo/Boston Police via The Boston Globe, File, WCVB-TV, thebostonchannel.com)
Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi
Flemmi was one of Bulger's closest associates in the Winter Hill Gang. He's serving life in prison for 10 murders and is expected to testify as a witness against his former boss, Bulger. In this Sept. 22, 2008 photo, Flemmi is testifying at the trial of corrupt FBI agent John Connolly. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File)
Hit man John Martorano
The prosecution intends to put John Martorano, a hit man who's admitted killing 20 people, in the witness box against Bulger. He served 12 years for the killings. This photo shows him testifying on Sept. 17, 2008 about FBI agent John Connolly, the crooked agent who worked with Bulger when he was an informant for the bureau. (AP Photo/Marice Cohn Band, Pool, File)
Whitey Bulger and Kevin Weeks
Bulger, left and henchman Kevin Weeks strolling on a walk around Castle Island in South Boston in this undated photo. Weeks is one of several former Winter Hill gang members expected to testify against Bulger.
Former FBI Agent John Connolly
Agent Connolly was the FBI handler working with Bulger and his righthand man Stephen Flemmi. Bulger and Flemmi were enlisted as informants, supplying information about the Italian mafia in Boston. But Connolly went rogue and let the Winter Hill Gang off the hook for their own crimes. In 2008, Connolly got a 40-year sentence for helping Bulger's gang murder a businessman in Florida they feared would be a witness against them. Connolly is not expected to testify in Bulger's trial. (Photo by George Rizer/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Catherine Greig, Bulger's girlfriend
This undated photo from the U.S. Marshals Service shows Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of Whitey Bulger, who was captured with him, on June 22, 2011, in Santa Monica, Calif. Greig lost her bid to reduce the 8-year prison sentence she received for helping Bulger during his 16 years as a fugitive. A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Friday, May 17, 2013, that it found no basis to change the sentence that Greig received after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud. . (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)
H. Paul Rico
Rico was an FBI agent in Boston who knew a young Bulger and Stephen Flemmi. Later, Rico left the bureau and began working as head of security at World Jai Alai. There, he was reconnected with Flemmi and Bulger, who allegedly skimmed money from the company. He was accused of participating in the murder of Roger Wheeler, a World Jai Alia executive who discovered that gang members were skimming of the top. Rico died in custody in 2004 before gong to trial.
William Bulger, the politician brother of the gangster.
In this May 8, 2003 file photo, William M. Bulger, then-President of the University of Massachusetts, addresses the attendees at the National Public Service Week Recognition Dinner on the campus of Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass. He's the younger brother of Whitey Bulger and was forced out of his university post because of a controversy about his relationship with his fugitive sibling. For years, he was one of the state's most powerful politicians, serving as the president of the state senate. (AP Photo/Robert E. Klein, File)
U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O'Sullivan.
The late U.S. attorney Jeremiah O'Sullivan is seen in this photo. Attorneys for Bulger contend that the former federal prosecutor gave the Winter Hill Gang boss immunity. Former members federal attorney's office in Boston may be called to testify, including Robert Mueller, who became FBI director and William Weld, who became Massachusetts' governor. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Edward G. Connors, murder victim
Connors worked with the Winter Hill Gang, but was not a full-fledged member, according to statements from Stephen Flemmi. He got whacked in a Dorchester phone booth in 1975, according to Flemmi, because he spoke to openly about his role in the killing of James O'Toole. Flemmi said that he and Bulger were ordered to shoot Connors by Howie Winter, who was then the head of the Winter Hill Gang.
James "Spike" O'Toole, murder victim
O'Toole was a South Boston gangster who, according to Winter Hill gang members, tried to kill Stephen Flemmi's brother Vincent Flemmi. Soon after O'Toole completed a prison sentence in 1973 for being an accessory after the fact to a murder, John Martorano ran him over in his car. O'Toole died and Martorano said he was ordered by Bulger to kill him.
Edward Brian Halloran, murder victim
Halloran was a federal informant killed allegedly by Bulger and a masked man in 1982. Halloran's friend Michael Donahue, who had no criminal record, was also killed outside the restaurant where the two had dined.
Roger Wheeler was an Oklahoma businessman who bought World Jai Alai, only to find out that the Winter Hill Gang was siphoning money from the company in a scam. He was killed in 1981 in Tula, because Bulger and his crew feared he'd be a witnesses against them. Rogue FBI agent John Connolly was convicted of helping with the fatal shooting of Wheeler. <em>Correction: An earlier version of this slide incorrectly stated that Wheeler was killed in Florida.</em>
Widow and son of an alleged murder victim
Patricia Donahue, widow of alleged murder victim Michael Donahue, stands with her son, Tommy, outside federal court in Boston, Monday, June 3, 2013, after a pre-trial hearing for accused mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. Jury selection begins Tuesday. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Steven Davis, victim's brother
Steven Davis, the brother of Debra Davis, a woman allegedly killed by James "Whitey" Bulger, stands near the Neponset River where his sister's body was found in Quincy, Mass., on Thursday, June 21, 2012. Davis has been one of the most vocal of the victims' relatives. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Two sisters of Paul McGonagle leave a plea hearing for Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of reputed Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, outside the Federal Courthouse in Boston, Wednesday afternoon, March 14, 2012. Paul McGonagle is among the 19 murders Bulger is accused of committing. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
The charges against Whitey Bulger are being prosecuted by the office of the U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts. That office is led by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. The case is being tried by a team of assistants that includes Fred Wyshak and Brian Kelly.
The defense team
Defense attorneys J.W. Carney Jr., left, and Henry Brennan, right, leave federal court in Boston, Monday, June 3, 2013, after a pre-trial hearing for accused mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. Jury selection begins Tuesday. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)