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Juror: We gave Bulger 'benefit of the doubt' on some murders

One of the jurors in the James "Whitey" Bulger trial said Tuesday there were fireworks in the deliberation room before they convicted him of racketeering and other crimes — and they gave the Boston mob boss "the benefit of the doubt" on some of the murder charges.

"Deliberations, they were tough," Scott Hotyckey told NBC station WHDH. "There was a lot of controversy in the courtroom."

The eight men and four women deliberated 32 hours across five days before finding Bulger, 83, guilty of top charges but letting him off the hook for eight of 19 murders outlined in the indictment.

Hotyckey, who is the first member of the federal panel to speak, said he and others believed Bulger committed those eight killings — but then a skeptic spoke up, saying the witness who fingered him, hitman John Martorano, couldn't be trusted.

"Someone said, 'It's Martorano lying. Everything Martorano says is a lie,'" Hotyckey told WHDH.

Martorano served just a dozen years in prison after admitting to 20 murders. He was one of several admitted killers who took the stand as star prosecution witnesses against the Winter Hill Gang leader.

Bulger crony Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi pinned the strangulation of two women — his girlfriend and his stepdaughter — on Bulger. The jury found prosecutors only proved one of them, the stepdaughter, Deborah Hussey.

Hotyckey said he personally thought Bulger was also responsible for the murder of the girlfriend, Debra Davis, but the jury compromised.

“I feel bad for the families if there was anyone there looking for justice,” he said. “I guess I made my decision and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I think that he was convicted of enough things.”

He said that some jurors were in agreement on the first day of deliberations, but others were "very cautious" and wanted to comb through the 32-count indictment.

"People would read the charges for the same crime over and over and over again and then read the pamphlet and then the indictment form,” Hotyckey said.

People were getting red in the face and popping Advil as discussions grew heated, he said.

“This is one of those circumstances where people should do something instead of nothing, like try to make some decisions. Try to go through the docket and find something you agree with,” he said,

Bulger was convicted of 31 counts, including the top charge of racketeering, which prosecutors say will put him away for the rest of his life.

He did not testify at the trial but his lawyer, J.W. Carney, told the Boston Herald he "has regrets regarding several of the killings."

Bulger, he said, "was aware that family members of those victims were attending the trial. This was not the forum for him to make these feelings known. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be an appropriate way to do it sometime in the future.”

Bulger, who spent 16 years on the lam after being tipped off to an indictment by rogue FBI agents, intends to appeal.