Court upholds million-dollar judgment for families of alleged Bulger victims
A federal appeals court today upheld million-dollar judgments in favor of families of James “Whitey” Bulger’s alleged murder victims, finding that the government was liable for the deaths because of the FBI’s corrupt relationship with the gangster.
The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld awards totaling more than $1.3 million for the family of Debra Davis, $350,000 for the family of Deborah Hussey, and $1.1 million for the family of Louis Litif.
Davis was the girlfriend of Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Bulger’s longtime associate and fellow FBI informant. Flemmi also had a long-term relationship with Hussey’s mother, and he raised Deborah as a daughter.
He previously testified that he watched as Bulger strangled the women, who were both 26 when they were killed at different times in the 1980s.
Litif, a bookmaker, was slain in 1980 after he offered to cooperate against Bulger.
The appeals court affirmed the trial judge’s decision that the FBI showed “negligence of wildly reckless behavior” in using Bulger and Flemmi as informants and shielding them from prosecution.
Steve Davis, the brother of Debra Davis, said today that the ruling shows the court was paying attention to the families.
“In my case, it’s not about the money, it’s more about justice,” Davis said, adding that the case will not be over until Bulger stands trial for the murder of his sister and 18 other victims. “We’ve been fighting all these years for justice and I’m still going to be fighting.