The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

November 14, 2013

Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger sentenced to life

BOSTON — Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced to life in prison Thursday at 84 for his murderous reign over the city’s underworld in the 1970s and ’80s, accepting his punishment with 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 were killed by Bulger or his henchmen.

For the families, Bulger’s sentence ended a decades-long struggle to find justice for fathers, uncles, brothers and sisters.

Many of the relatives had vented their anger at Bulger during the first day of his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, calling him a “terrorist,” a “punk” and “Satan.”

So when U.S. Judge Denise Casper announced Bulger’s punishment and the defendant was led from the courtroom, there were no shouts of joy or applause from the families, just silence.

Afterward, many said they took some comfort in knowing that Bulger will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“That old bastard is finally going to prison. He’s going to die in prison,” said Tom Donahue, whose father was gunned down by Bulger after he happened to offer a ride home to a man who was Bulger’s actual target.

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 the bureau 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 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, as prosecutors had requested.

Bulger, who was known for his volcanic temper and snarled obscenities at several once-loyal cohorts during his trial, said nothing at all at his sentencing and left the courtroom without even looking at one of his brothers or other supporters.

J.W. Carney Jr., one of Bulger’s lawyers, said Bulger was “pleased that he held to his principles” by staying silent and refusing to participate in the sentencing.

Bulger’s lawyers said he believes his trial was a “sham” because he was not allowed to argue that a now-deceased federal prosecutor gave him immunity to commit crimes.

Defense attorney Hank Brennan blasted prosecutors for plea bargains given to Bulger associates who testified against him, including hitman John Martorano, who served only 12 years in prison after admitting to killing 20 people, and Kevin Weeks, who did five years behind bars after he admitted taking part in five murders.

“Why in the world do we have a handful of murderers walking the streets?” Brennan asked.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors had to make difficult decisions to get Bulger.

“Was it worth it? I believe so, but it’s not something you enjoy doing,” Ortiz said.

“James Bulger deserves nothing less than to spend the rest of his life in prison for the harm, the pain and the suffering that he has caused to so many in this town,” she said.

 

1
Text Only
National and world
  • Teacher tenure fight gains momentum with ruling

    The California ruling struck down state laws dictating how long it takes for a teacher to earn tenure as well as rules that protect senior teachers during layoffs.

    July 11, 2014

  • Governors_Hass-1.jpg Biden to governors: Lead us out of this mess

    “The way things have gotten today, and I’m not singling out any party or any group of people — the politics, the culture in Washington, it’s become too personal, it’s too corrosive,” Biden said during a meeting of the National Governors Association. “I think you’ve got to lead us out of this mess we’re in.”

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • AFSCME.jpg Union pulls black college support after Koch gift

    A powerful government workers' union will end its support for the United Negro College Fund after the group accepted $25 million from the conservative powerhouse Koch brothers and the college fund's president appeared at a Koch event.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Haskell.jpg Texas shooting suspect collapses in court

    A shackled Ronald Lee Haskell was standing before a state district judge during a probable cause hearing when he fell to the ground. After another minute, he collapsed again.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gay Marriage Colorado web.jpg Judge: Gay couples can keep marrying in Colorado

    Couples began trickling into Denver City Hall to tie the knot Thursday afternoon.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Boehner lawsuit web.jpg House GOP moves ahead on suing Obama

    Obama has called the GOP effort a “stunt” and criticized lawmakers for inaction on legislation such as a stalled bill to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Israel Iron Dome web.jpg Gaza dead tops 85 as Israel presses its offensive

    Undeterred, Hamas militants have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, including salvos Thursday at the country’s two largest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, that were intercepted by the rocket-defense system known as the Iron Dome.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Emmy Nominations web.jpg ‘Game of Thrones’ earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

    In this widely proclaimed golden age of television-plus, the brutal fantasy saga “Game of Thrones,” based on the work of novelist George R.R. Martin, emerged Thursday as the leading nominee with 19 nods. Dramas “Breaking Bad” and “True Detective” and movie “The Normal Heart” are among the other front-runners.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • HoustonShooting.jpg 4 children among 6 killed in Houston-area shooting

    33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell persuaded the children he was a FedEx delivery man to gain access to their home in Spring, Texas.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thrones.jpg 'Game of Thrones' earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

    In the competitive best-drama series category, "Game of Thrones" will compete with "Breaking Bad," ''Downton Abbey," ''House of Cards," ''Mad Men" and "True Detective."

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads