Posted Apr 07, 2014 12:04 pm CDT
Lawyers for a convicted murderer who maintains his innocence are citing some unusual evidence in a bid to overturn the conviction: letters from convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who says he knew the real killer.
Fred Weichel was convicted based largely on eyewitness testimony by a teen who said he saw gunman jump into a waiting car after the murder of Robert LaMonica in May 1980, the Boston Globe reports. In eight letters written from prison to one of Weichel’s supporters, Bulger says he believes the real killer was a close friend of the murder victim.
According to Bulger, the victim’s friend, a young boxer, told Bulger before the murder that he was afraid because he had badly beaten a man in a street fight, and the beaten man was a friend of LaMonica, who vowed revenge. Bulger says he advised the boxer to kill LaMonica before LaMonica killed the boxer, the Boston Globe says.
Weichel is represented by K&L Gates partner Michael Ricciuti, with help from the New England Innocence Project. Ricciuti has sought an interview with Bulger, but Bulger’s lawyers haven’t responded to his request, according to the story. Weichel’s latest motion for a new trial claims police failed to provide the defense a police report that suggested another man had been identified as a possible suspect in LaMonica’s murder.
Bulger didn’t identify the man he claims is the real killer, but Ricciuti says Buleger is referring to a man who confessed to the crime in a letter to Weichert’s mother, Marie LaMonica. She says her son was killed—she believes the perpetrator was Weichel—because her son came to the defense of a man being beaten as Weichel watched. The man inflicting the beating is the person who supposedly confessed in the letter to Weichert’s mother. The man refused to testify about the letter.