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Gerry Leone: Florida, Oklahoma Will Want Whitey Bulger On Trial

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Bulger Trial

BOSTON (CBS) – Whitey Bulger still faces possible trials in Florida and Oklahoma for murders there that could end with him getting the death penalty.

Bulger is facing an indictment for the 1982 murder of John Callahan in Florida.  He’s also charged with playing a role in the 1981 murder of World Jai Alai owner Roger Wheeler in Oklahoma.

John Martorano shot and killed Roger Wheeler in this car outside a Tulsa, OK country club in 1981. (Photo courtesy: U.S. Attorney's Office)

John Martorano shot and killed Roger Wheeler in this car outside a Tulsa, OK country club in 1981. (Photo courtesy: U.S. Attorney’s Office)

“I think both of those states are going to want to opportunity to put him on trial and get their measure of justice. Those are direct, stand-alone state homicide cases, which are much more direct and profound for the victims’ families, ” said WBZ-TV legal analyst and former Middlesex DA Gerry Leone, who is now a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP.

The federal grand jury found Bulger played a role in the murders of  Callahan, Wheeler, and nine others.

His role in seven other killings was not proven, and the jury couldn’t agree on the murder of Debra Davis.

“I wasn’t necessarily surprised because I knew the historical bad behavior by government and the compromised witnesses may play a role in whether or not they could find beyond a reasonable doubt every predicate offense. But it’s extremely disappointing and my heart goes out to the Davis family, it really does,” Leone said.

It took the jury nearly five days to reach a verdict, which some felt was longer than expected.

“It sounds like they did an outstanding job, applied due diligence and worked very hard. And they kept those emotions contained within the jury room. We didn’t hear about what was going on in the jury room with questions to the judge, which you sometimes will hear. This is an intense deliberation that goes on,” Leone said.

“It’s nice that this chapter will be closed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide closure to everybody who was hurt by it.”

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