Margaret King knew it was risky to storm into Triple O's bar in South Boston to demand answers from a guy like James "Whitey" Bulger.
Nevertheless, that's what she did in 1975 after her husband disappeared, she told a court today in the federal trial of the man she has hated for decades, the man she always believed had murdered her husband Tommy King.
"I'm sure he was agitated that I would bother him,'' King recalled of the day she went into the Winter Hill hangout to ask Bulger, "Where is my husband?" King testified in second week of Bulger's trial.
Sitting at the defense table in front of her was Bulger, 83, wearing a long sleeved green shirt. He is on trial for a string a crimes, including 19 murders.
Bulger didn't snarl at Margaret King today, but he did in 1975 when he told her Tommy King had left town, Margaret King said. "He's probably in Canada robbing banks,'' she remembered Bulger saying, "Because that's what he originally wanted to do."
Tommy King's body was unearthed in a scrubby clearing near the Neponset River in Dorchester in 2000. Hitman John Martorano testified last week that he had shot and killed King because Bulger had ordered it.
"Him and Tommy couldn't get along. They were always butting heads together,'' Martorano told the court. "He wanted to get rid of Tommy."
To get rid of Tommy King, the Winter Hill Gang came up with a plan to avoid suspicion by asking him to accompany them on a drive-by hit., Martorano testified. He convinced King to get into the passenger seat of a car. Guns were then pulled from a paper bag and handed out by Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, Martorano had told the court. King's gun was loaded with blanks, Martorano testified.
He would not have a chance to find that out, Martorano said on the stand last week.
"I shot Tommy,'' Martorano said. "Where did I shoot him? In the head."
Martorano said he got out of the car and never found out how others got rid of the body. Sometime later Martorano was driving along the Southeast Expressway with Bulger, he said. As they crossed a bridge over the Neponset River, Martorano recalled, Bulger grinned at him and said: "Tip your hat to Tommy."
The case against Bulger appears to also be a case against corrupt FBI agents, including Bulger's FBI handler John Connolly and Connolly's supervisor John Morris, who authorities allege helped Bulger's criminal enterprise become enormous and well-organized.
Martorano got rid of Winter Hill Gangs rivals with bullets and bloodshed. The FBI would put other rivals, like the Italian Mafia, out of business by prosecuting them, according to testimony.
In his opening statement, Bulger's attorney J.W. Carney told the court his client made "millions upon millions upon millions" with organized crime activity that included drug dealing, loansharking, bookmaking and extortion. But, Carney and fellow attorney Hank Brennan insist, Bulger was not a FBI informant.
In two days of testimony, however, special agent James Marra with the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office, told the court Connolly and Morris reaped the benefits of the Winter Hill Gang's rising rank in the rackets.
Connolly took cash and a diamond ring. Morris got a case of expensive wine, a plane ticket for his girlfriend to visit him during an out-of-state FBI training, and $7,000 in cash, Marra said under oath.