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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Stephen Flemmi was a feared gangster and former paratrooper they called ''The Rifleman''


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Stephen Flemmi was a feared gangster and former paratrooper they called ''The Rifleman'' around South Boston. The same Stevie who murdered Hussey's daughter.
Hussey once knew him well he spit in Flemmi's face when he found out the gangster was sleeping with his wife.
Flemmi cold-cocked him but let him live. Decades later, Thomas Hussey's daughter, Deborah Hussey, met a different -- and final -- fate.On Monday, Flemmi was not on trial. His 2004 conviction for strangling Deborah is just one of 10 murder charges that put him in prison for life.Instead, Flemmi was there to testify against former Boston FBI agent John Connolly, 68, who stands accused of being corrupted by Flemmi's gang and leaking vital information that led to the 1982 murder of a gambling executive in South Florida.''He's really aged,'' Hussey, 74, whispered as the diminutive Flemmi, also 74, walked in, sporting glasses, thinning gray hair parted to the side and an olive prison suit.And with that, Flemmi began his day recounting his decades-long criminal career in Boston. Hussey watched calmly, nodding at points, remembering names and places as though he were watching a familiar movie.Hussey has been a court regular since the Connolly trial began last week. A plumber, he moved to South Florida in 1973 to escape the danger around South Boston.His then-wife, Marion Hussey, had taken up with Flemmi, who along with Winter Hill gang leader James ''Whitey'' Bulger ran an unchecked criminal enterprise in Boston.The last time Hussey saw Flemmi was during a party for Deborah's high school graduation in 1976. Deborah's life spiraled into drugs and booze. Eight years later, Deborah accused Flemmi of sexual molestation. She went missing soon after.Flemmi took Deborah shopping for clothes, then strangled her and yanked out her teeth to make identifying her body difficult. Her corpse was not unearthed from a Boston marsh until January 2000.''I'm glad he didn't get the death penalty,'' Hussey said of Flemmi. ``I want him to suffer. Death penalty is too quick.''Minutes before Flemmi arrived Monday and outside the jury's presence, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Stanford Blake expressed his condolences to Hussey. Then he politely asked Hussey to step outside if emotions took over. ''I can handle it,'' Hussey assured the judge. Flemmi never looked his way.He did face the jury, however, telling them how he and Bulger gave Connolly more than $200,000 in gifts over the years.''Hey, I'm one of the gang,'' Flemmi recalled Connolly saying after receiving $25,000 in drug money.
He recalled Connolly telling them of a bookmaker named Richard Castucci, who had informed the feds about the hiding place of a fugitive pal. The gang murdered him.
They also killed fellow gangster Brian Halloran, who ratted to the FBI that Bulger's gang killed Oklahoma millionaire Roger Wheeler in 1981 over a business dispute involving Miami's World Jai-Alai.Hussey watched, getting up only to get a closer look at blow-up photos of South Boston and its players. ''Most of those guys are from South Boston, where I lived. Tough neighborhood,'' he whispered.In the years since his daughter disappeared, Hussey has battled alcohol addiction but little anger. He hopes Connolly gets convicted but wants to see him receive a light sentence.Flemmi is scheduled to testify about the disgraced FBI agent on Tuesday.
As for Flemmi, Hussey watched with the detached eye of a Red Sox analyst.
''I hope they put him in the jail's general population,'' Hussey said, affably. ``He'll have a heinous death. He's a pedophile and a snitch -- they'll kill him, very brutally.''


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