New England mobster Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi on Friday described watching a cohort strangle his girlfriend as a "very traumatic moment" — but then admitted he pulled out her teeth afterward so her body would be difficult to identify.
Flemmi, 75, showed no emotion as he described the 1981 killing of Debra Davis, 26, a woman he began dating when she was 17.
Flemmi testified Thursday that James "Whitey" Bulger wanted to kill Davis after he learned Flemmi had told her that they were both working as FBI informants. He also said Bulger resented the amount of time Flemmi was spending with her.
He said he agreed to lure Davis to a vacant home he owned in South Boston, where Bulger was waiting. Bulger, he said, "grabbed her by the throat and strangled her."
Flemmi said he watched and did nothing as Bulger killed Davis.
"This happened very quickly, a very traumatic moment in my life," Flemmi said.
He said Bulger carried her down the stairs while he continued to strangle her.
'Let her pray'
After they got to the basement, Flemmi said he told Bulger, "Let her pray." He said he wasn't sure whether she was already dead.
Flemmi said he later removed some of Davis' teeth "at Bulger's insistence."
"He said to extract some of the teeth to deter identification," Flemmi said.
Later, Flemmi said he and Bulger put her body in the trunk of a car and drove her to Quincy, where they buried her along the Neponset River.
Flemmi's chilling account of Davis' killing came during his second day of testimony in wrongful death lawsuits brought by Davis' family and the families of two other people allegedly killed by Bulger and Flemmi.
The families say the FBI is responsible for the deaths because it failed to control Bulger and Flemmi, who were longtime FBI informants. Justice Department lawyers say the FBI did not know Bulger and Flemmi planned the killings and cannot be held liable in their deaths.
Flemmi is serving a life sentence in 10 murders, including the killing of Davis. Bulger fled shortly before he was indicted in 1995 and has been a fugitive ever since. He is on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list.