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Victims’ Relatives Testify In Whitey Bulger Trial

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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Bulger Trial

BOSTON (CBS) – The seventh day of testimony in the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger was an emotional one. At least two jurors ended up in tears as family members of alleged victims recounted stories of brutal murders.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Deborah Scoli talked about being nine months pregnant when her boyfriend, William O’Brien, was gunned down in March of 1973. The baby she was carrying at the time is now 40-year-old Billy O’Brien. After court, he told reporters that seeing his mother on the stand was “overwhelming and surreal.”

Read: Whitey Bulger Trial Coverage

Prosecutors called Ralph DeMasi to the stand since he was riding next to O’Brien when he was shot dead. DeMasi just finished serving more than 21 years in prison for an attempted robbery of an armored car in which no one was hurt.

DeMasi had to testify under court order, since he was planning to plead the fifth; he said he hates the idea of cooperating with the government. He ended up telling the jury why – in a way that did not work to the prosecution’s advantage.

“It’s so outrageous,” DeMasi explained to reporters outside of the courthouse. “The government allows serial killers, admitted serial killers, to go back out on the street again, right? Just because they give testimony against one person!”

DeMasi, a witness for the government, ended up destroying the testimony of fellow government witness John Martorano, who the jury already knows killed 20 people and who testified against Whitey as part of a plea deal. DeMasi’s own 21 year sentence stood in sharp contrast to Martorano’s 12 year prison term.

In fact, other victims and families, called by the government, also seemed to favor the defense.

Diane Sussman de Tennen was shot, her boyfriend Louie Lapiana was paralyzed, and their friend Michael Milano was killed in a 1973 Martorano murder. None of them was actually Martorano’s intended target.

“I’m angry,” she explained after court. “These gangsters changed everyone’s life. Why can someone kill and say, I’ll tell the truth, and then walk?”

Still another prosecution witness, former bookie Charlie Raso, got so rattled on the stand that he interrupted his own testimony to shout at the defense table where Whitey Bulger was seated.

“Why do you keep staring at me?” he said. “This attorney at that table keeps staring at me. Any reason?”

Judge Denise Casper had to calm Raso down by assuring him that everyone was only paying attention to his testimony.

Several more family members of victims are expected to take the stand tomorrow.

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