Mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger guilty of gangland killings
BOSTON, Mass. — A federal jury in Boston reached a verdict Monday in the 32-count indictment against reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts.
The 83-year-old Bulger faces life in prison after being convicted Monday of committing or playing a role in the killings during the 1970s and ’80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston’s Irish mob.
The charges include allegations that Bulger was involved in 19 murders. The jury deliberated more than 32 hours over a period of five days.
The jury of eight men and four women reached its verdict after hearing seven weeks of testimony about murder, extortion, drug trafficking, loansharking, bookmaking and other gangster crimes. It deliberated for more than 32 hours over a period of five days.
Bulger was charged with 32 counts, including a racketeering count that accused him of being involved in 19 killings and other crimes, covering the time he ran Boston’s Irish mob from the early ’70s through 1995, when Bulger fled the city.
The verdict closes an epic criminal tale that included a life on the lam for 16 years that began in 1994 when a crooked FBI agent told Bulger that he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges.
The Irish mob kingpin of tough-talkin’ south Boston soon became one of the most wanted men in America. Bulger the FBI informant became Bulger the FBI fugitive.
It was the stuff of Hollywood moviemaking, and in fact, Bulger’s mob-boss brutality inspired Jack Nicholson’s character in the film “The Departed,” which was directed by Martin Scorsese and won four Oscars in 2006, including best picture.
Then, in 2011, the FBI finally tracked him down: Bulger was living on the other side of the country in an apartment just blocks from the beaches of Santa Monica, California, caressed by year-round sunshine and ocean breezes.
It was a fine life, with about $822,000 in cash — largely $100 bills — hidden inside a wall in his apartment, located in a tourist haven right beside Los Angeles. Bulger also kept 30 guns in his residence.
Daring to the end, Bulger was hiding in plain sight, living under an alias with his girlfriend. They called themselves Charlie and Carol Gasko.
It was a long fall for Bulger: One of America’s notorious mob bosses was called “a rat bastard” and “a coward” by victims’ relatives and former associates who attended or watched the trial.
Bulger declined to take the stand to testify in his defense, telling the judge, outside the jury’s presence, that his trial was “a sham” because he had an immunity deal with federal authorities in exchange for being an informant. The judge had ruled he couldn’t make that claim during his trial.
Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig, pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.
Her crime was “the most extreme case” of harboring a fugitive, prosecutors said.
Greig, 61, was sentenced in June to eight years in federal prison.
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