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Boston and Beyond

June 26, 2013

Alleged victims' relatives testify at Bulger trial

BOSTON (AP) — The widow of a man who prosecutors say was killed by James “Whitey” Bulger’s gang testified yesterday that after her husband disappeared in 1975, Bulger told her that he “was probably in Canada robbing banks.”

The body of Tommy King, a former rival who had joined forces with Bulger, was found 25 years later, buried in a shallow grave along the Neponset River in Quincy.

Margaret King said Boston police officers came to her house on Nov. 6, 1975, looking for her husband. She said police told her that a man her husband had grown up with — Francis “Buddy” Leonard — had been found dead in her husband’s car. She said she never saw her husband again.

King and relatives of others allegedly killed by Bulger and his gang were called to the stand by prosecutors Tuesday in Bulger’s racketeering trial.

The 83-year-old Bulger is charged with participating in 19 killings during the 1970s and ‘80s while allegedly leading the Winter Hill Gang. He was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives after fleeing Boston in 1994, and was finally captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

King testified that around the time of her husband’s disappearance, she saw Bulger getting into a car outside Triple O’s, a bar in South Boston that was used by Bulger’s gang, and asked him if he knew what happened to her husband.

Bulger told her “that he was probably in Canada robbing banks,” and “that’s what he originally wanted to do,” King said.

When asked by Assistant District Attorney Zachary Hafer what Bulger’s demeanor was, King said, “I am sure he was a little agitated that I would even bother him ... I was quite upset.”

Prosecutors say Bulger hit man John Martorano shot Tommy King because Bulger saw him as a threat. They say the Bulger gang killed Leonard the following day in an attempt to divert attention from King’s disappearance.

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