The jury in the James J. “Whitey” Bulger racketeering case deliberated for about seven hours today, without reaching verdicts in the closely watched trial of the South Boston gangster and FBI informant who is accused of participating in 19 murders.
The jury of four women and eight men appeared briefly in US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper’s courtroom around 4:30 p.m. and were told to resume their deliberations Friday morning. Since getting the case on Tuesday, jurors have deliberated for more than 20 hours.
“We’re going to recess for the day. Please keep all my cautionary statements in mind,” Casper told jurors. She reminded them not to talk to anybody about the case and not to watch or read any media coverage.
Prodded by federal prosecutors, Casper earlier today told the jury that they should try to reach verdicts on all of the allegations in the racketeering charge that Bulger faces, including the 19 murders he allegedly participated in.
Bulger, 83, faces a sweeping 32-count indictment that alleges that he participated in a criminal enterprise — initially the Winter Hill Gang and later a South Boston gang — from the 1970s to the 1990s and raked in millions from drug trafficking and extortion.
One of the counts, a federal racketeering charge, contains an array of 33 acts, including allegations that Bulger participated in the murders.
In her instructions today, Casper told jurors they must go through those 33 acts and try to reach a unanimous verdict of “proved” or “not proved” on each one. Casper had earlier told jurors that they only need to find that the government proved Bulger committed two of the acts within a 10-year period to convict him of the racketeering charge.
“You have a duty to attempt to reach agreement on each of the racketeering acts,’’ Casper said. “If you can do so conscientiously.”
Steve Davis, the brother of murder victim Debra Davis, said that without the direction from Casper, he feared the jury would skip over the allegation that Bulger killed his sister, and he would never see Bulger held responsible for the murder.
Casper told jurors Wednesday that they could pass on an act if they could not be unanimous, but prosecutors asked they at least try. She refined that instruction today.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held without bail.
Jurors began deliberating Tuesday after hearing 72 witnesses over 35 days of testimony. Bulger, who was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in June 2011 after more than 16 years on the run, faces a life sentence if the jury finds he committed even one of the slayings.Shelley Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph. Milton J. Valencia can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.