herald

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Two life terms for evil gang boss Bulger

Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger has been handed two life sentences plus five years for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s.

The Irish-American gangster (84) was defiant to the end, calling his trial on racketeering charges a sham.

He was convicted in August on a racketeering indictment that included murder, extortion, money-laundering and weapons charges. He was also convicted in 11 of the 19 killings he was charged with but acquitted of seven.

SATAN

Judge Denise Casper heard testimony from a dozen relatives of the 19 victims , with one man calling him a "terrorist" and "Satan".

Delivering a blistering speech before passing sentence, Judge Casper called his crimes "almost unfathomable" and said the human suffering he inflicted was "agonising to hear" and "painful to watch".

She read off the names of Bulger's 11 victims. "Each of these lives came to an unceremonious end at your hands or at the hands of others at your direction," Casper said.

Bulger stood and folded his hands in front of him, expressionless, as she imposed his sentence.

Bulger, the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's sinister character in "The Departed", was seen for years as a Robin Hood who bought Thanksgiving turkeys for working-class Boston residents and kept hard drugs out.

BODIES

But that image was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies more than a decade ago.

Prosecutors portrayed him as a cold-blooded, hands-on boss who killed anyone he saw as a threat, along with innocents who got in the way. Corrupt Boston FBI agents protected him for years while he worked as a crime boss and an FBI informant who ratted out his rivals.

Former Boston FBI agent John Connolly Jr – Bulger's handler – was jailed for 10 years after he was convicted of tipping him off ahead of an indictment in 1994.

Bulger was on the run for 16 years until he was caught in California in 2011.

nnews@herald.ie

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