Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger Convicted

From the Boston Globe:

“James J. “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster who rampaged through the city’s underworld for decades before slipping away from authorities and eluding a worldwide manhunt for more than 16 years, was convicted today in a sweeping federal racketeering indictment of charges that he killed 11 people.

After 32 1/2 hours of deliberations over five days, the jury of four women and eight men returned to the courtroom this afternoon with their verdict, bringing a resounding end to Bulger’s decades of evading justice. They found Bulger guilty of 31 of the 32 counts he faced. He now faces the likelihood that he will die in prison.”

From 1978 to 1995 Bulger headed Boston’s infamous Winter Hill Gang, which engaged in everything from extortion to drug smuggling to cold-blooded murder. They ran the Boston underground and through brute force and public corruption dominated the city streets for decades. The Academy Award-winning film The Departed was based in part on the life and times of James “Whitey” Bulger, depicting in graphic detail what went on in Boston when organized crime was at its zenith.

After operating with impunity for years, in 1994 Bulger got wind that a federal indictment against him was on its way. He fled Boston and for the next 17 years he lived on the run with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig. It was not until June 2011 that he was apprehended by FBI agents in Santa Monica, California.

It took nearly two years for prosecutors to assemble the case against him, a case which examined almost the entirety of Bulger’s criminal career. The trial itself took place over the course of 35 days and included the testimony of 72 witnesses, many of them gangsters themselves, who recounted Bulger’s brutality in the way he ran the Winter Hill Gang.

After five days of deliberations, the jury convicted Bulger on almost all charges. The biggest count against him racketeering, which is a broad term to describe participation in a criminal enterprise. Under the RICO Act, the government had to prove that Bulger was a member of a criminal enterprise and that the enterprise had committed at least two criminal acts over within a 10-year period. In the indictment, the federal government alleged that Bulger and his gang had committed dozens of crimes of murder and extortion. The jury found that Bulger had a part in at least 11 out of the 19 murders alleged in the indictment, along with many more acts of extortion.

Bulger’s sentencing is scheduled for November 13th and it is almost certain that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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