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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Lawyer for Boston mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger seeks delay in trial


15:55 |

The lead attorney for James "Whitey" Bulger pleaded Tuesday to delay the start of his trial, saying the stress of trying to prepare in time to defend the former Boston mobster in November has taken a toll on his health. J.W. Carney Jr. told U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler that it will be "impossible" for him to read hundreds of thousands of documents turned over by prosecutors by Nov. 5, the scheduled trial date. Bulger, the former leader of Boston's notorious Winter Hill Gang, is accused of participating in 19 murders, including one in Tulsa. Among the homicides Bulger is implicated in is the 1981 killing of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler, 55, at Tulsa's Southern Hills Country Club. Wheeler, chairman of Telex Corp., had just finished a round of golf and was in the parking lot when a gunman shot him. Charges were filed in Tulsa County against Bulger, former FBI agent H. Paul Rico and mobsters John Martorano and Stephen Flemmi in connection with the Wheeler homicide. Rico died in 2004; Martorano pleaded guilty in 2001 to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison; Flemmi is serving a life term for his role in 10 murders, including Wheeler's. On Tuesday, Carney said he has been working six or seven days a week trying to get ready for trial and his doctor recently noticed the effects of the stress on him. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly said many of the documents Carney is referring to have only marginal importance to the case and suggested the complaints are a delay tactic. "The defendant, Mr. Bulger, is of course trying to avoid trial," Kelly said, adding that Bulger, now 82, fled Boston in 1995 and was apprehended last year, after 16 years on the run. Carney said he plans to submit a formal motion within the next two weeks "that will contain all the reasons why the Nov. 5 trial date is so unrealistic."


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