Juror in Whitey Bulger case bristles at online criticism

A juror in the trial of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger defended the panel Wednesday against attacks on social media deriding their performance in the Boston case that drew attention across the globe.

“We’re being eaten alive out there, and I’m just very offended,” said Gusina Tremblay, 56, of Lowell.

Tremblay, who sat down for an interview with the Globe in Chelmsford, said she has read comments on Twitter describing the jury as incompetent. She said she bristles at that charge because jurors spent so much time analyzing the mounds of evidence in an effort to be as thorough as possible.

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“I would like it to be known for the people that were disappointed with any of the verdicts that we honestly gave it every bit” of consideration, Tremblay said. “We did not take it lightly, and if anybody wants to sit there and say that we did, they are absolutely wrong.”

The jury found that the government proved Bulger’s involvement in 11 of 19 murders. They did not issue a finding on the murder in 1981 of Debra Davis, the 26-year-old girlfriend of Bulger associate Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.

Tremblay also disputed reports that the female jurors could not believe Bulger would murder women. In fact, she said, she voted to find that the government had proven Bulger was involved in the slaying of Davis.

“My gut feeling said that he did do it, and if he didn’t do it himself personally, then he was certainly there,” she said.

At times distressed and at other times laughing in frustration over some of the criticism online, Tremblay said Wednesday that jurors were split on the Davis killing. She said the doubters had questions about the location of where Davis’s remains were found, and that jurors felt that many of the witnesses had credibility issues.

Those witnesses included Flemmi, who has admitted to 10 murders and is serving a life sentence, as well as John Martorano, a confessed killer of 20 people who served only 12 years thanks to a controversial plea deal.

Tremblay, however, declined to say which witness she thought had the least credibility on the stand. “I really don’t want to comment on that, because they were there to do their job, also,” Tremblay said.

She also disputed reports that some jurors feared the possibility of being harmed by any of Bulger’s former associates.

“I think maybe in the beginning, we didn’t know what we were dealing with,” Tremblay said, adding that while she was in court “staring at criminals looking right back at me, it was a little scary. But now that it’s all over and done with, I don’t feel in fear of my life.”

As for Bulger, Tremblay said she thought his claim that he was never an FBI informant was “a bunch of bull crap,” adding that “there was a lot of wasted time and energy spent on that” by prosecutors and defense lawyers.

Despite Bulger’s occasional courtroom outbursts, Tremblay said she was surprised at how composed the gangster remained for most of the trial. But her overall view of him is negative.

“I don’t want to trash him any further, but he was a criminal,” she said. “A cold, calculating criminal, as far as I’m concerned. . . . And I don’t think he has any remorse.”

Ultimately, she said, some of the crimes came back not proven because of a lack of evidence, witness credibility issues, and the difficulty of proving some allegations after so much time had passed.

“I feel that the government did everything that they could to make their case, and they did an excellent job,” Tremblay said. “And the defense also did an excellent job.”

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