Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 15, 2013

View from the courtroom; Local law professor had front-row seat on Bulger trial

Local law professor had front-row seat on Bulger trial


“The notion we could still have such a notorious figure, even in his 80s, intrigues people,” said Coyne, a Suffolk University Law School graduate.

He pointed to USA Today, which has referred to Bulger as a “Robin Hood-like creature” that came to the aid of widows and orphans living in the South Boston area. Bulger has also been portrayed as a thug “who only robbed from those who could afford to pay him,” Coyne said.

But Coyne said two months of “extraordinary” trial have revealed the “systematic and brutal” slayings that occurred under Bulger’s reign. When convicted murderer John Martorano, one of Bulger’s soldiers, took the stand, Coyne said, “I know I saw Satan himself.”

“Satan was in the room,” Coyne said. “He answered every question coldly and matter of factly.”

Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, another close Bulger associate, was equally, if not more chilling, he said. “He was absolutely the lowest form of life possible,” he said. ‘I didn’t think we could get any lower than that.”

Flemmi’s testimony also underscored his fierce loyalty and love for Bulger. Flemmi admitted “he’d do anything for Whitey,” Coyne said.

While reporters, analysts, family and some members of the public were permitted in the courtroom, no photographs or videotaping is allowed inside federal court. Cameras were stacked outside the court in what was nicknamed “Bulger Beach.” Coyne with dozens of others waited throughout last week as jurors deliberated Bulger’s fate.

Coyne predicted that Bulger would go to jail for the rest of his life — even before the guilty verdict was read on Monday.

“In essence, he’s acknowledged he was a criminal kingpin in South Boston,” Coyne said. “He wants his legend to be, while he was a bad guy, he lived by his own code.”

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