Jurors in the Whitey Bulger trial examined a submachine gun with an obliterated serial number that is linked to the last count of the federal indictment but ended their third day of deliberations without a verdict.
It was unclear why the jury asked for a closer look at the German-made MP-40 — known as exhibit 933 — on Thursday afternoon, or whether they are close to deciding whether Bulger is guilty of racketeering and other crimes as head of South Boston's Winter Hill Gang.
"I'm glad, in a sense, that they're being real thorough," said Steve Davis, whose sister, Debra Davis, was allegedly strangled by Bulger in 1981 because she knew too much about his activities.
"You can see the jurors are getting tired. Everyone’s tired. It’s exhausting. You’re biting your fingernails," said Davis, who has attended every day of the federal trial that has gripped Boston all summer.
Bulger, 83, is charged in a 32-count indictment. One of the counts, racketeering, includes 33 criminal acts — the murders of Debra Davis and 18 other people among them.
"I'm just hoping for guilty on No. 14," Steve Davis said, referring to his sister's number in the indictment. "Then I can put this all behind me and my sister can rest in peace."
The jury only needs to find the government has proved Bulger committed two or more of the racketeering acts to convict him of that count.
Earlier in the deliberations, they asked the judge whether they had to be unanimous in deciding that the government had not proven any of the charges. The judge said they did but also told them that if they were stuck on a particular act they could skip it and move on to others.
The eight men and four women on the panel have also asked the judge whether there is a statute of limitations on any of the charges, which cover crimes dating back to the 1970s. No statute of limitations applies.
Bulger, who spent 16 years on the lam before being captured in California, faces life in prison if he's convicted of a top charge. If he's acquitted, he could still face charges in state courts.
His trial has seen a rogue's gallery of admitted killers take the stand to describe how he allegedly choked the life out of two women with his bare hands and killed or ordered hits on a slew of rivals and suspected rats.
Bulger even cursed out witnesses who described him as an FBI informant and told the judge last week that the trial was a sham.
"As far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial," he said, announcing that he had decided not to testify in his own defense. "Do what you want with me."