Boston mob boss put away for life
BOSTON — Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was led off to prison on Thursday to begin serving a life sentence at 84 for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, accepting his punishment in stone-faced silence even as a judge castigated him for his “almost unfathomable” depravity.
Bulger's sentencing brought to a close a sordid case that exposed FBI complicity in his crimes and left a trail of devastated families whose loved ones — fathers, uncles, brothers and sisters — were killed by Bulger or henchmen.
Many of the relatives had vented their anger at Bulger during the first day of his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, calling him a “terrorist” and “Satan.”
So when U.S. District Judge Denise Casper announced the punishment and Bulger was led from the courtroom, there were no shouts of joy or applause from the families, just silence.
Afterward, many said they had some relief in knowing that Bulger will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Bulger, the former boss of the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's Irish mob, fled the city in 1994 after being tipped off by a former FBI agent that he was about to be indicted. He was a fugitive for more than 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
His disappearance became a major embarrassment for the FBI when it was learned that corrupt Boston agents had taken bribes from Bulger and protected him for years while he worked as an FBI informant, feeding information on the rival New England Mafia.
A jury convicted Bulger in August in a broad racketeering case. He was found guilty in 11 of the 19 killings he was accused of, along with dozens of other gangland crimes, including shakedowns and money laundering.
At his sentencing, the judge read off the names of the 11. She told Bulger she sometimes wished that she and everyone else at his trial were watching a movie because the horrors described — including stranglings and shootings — were so awful.
“The scope, the callousness, the depravity of your crimes are almost unfathomable,” she said.
Casper sentenced Bulger to two consecutive life sentences plus five years.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Warhol bodyguard sued over hidden artwork
- Cafeteria worker tried to stop Washington school shooter
- Philadelphia Mafia figure returned to prison for meeting friend
- 1686 shipwreck ‘like dinosaur’ being rebuilt for museum
- Test confirms remains are missing Virginia student’s
- New York, New Jersey order 21-day quarantine of all in contact with Ebola virus
- Lawyer turns down AG post
- Seattle area school homecoming ‘prince’ guns down classmates
- 2 California deputies slain, suspect captured
- U.S. rules out apology to Pyongyang in exchange for 2 imprisoned Americans
- Hatchet attack was terror, NYPD says