BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives, was convicted Monday in a string of 11 killings and other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant.

Bulger, 83, showed no reaction upon hearing the verdict, which brought to a close a case that not only transfixed the city with its grisly violence but exposed corruption inside the Boston FBI and an overly cozy relationship between the bureau and its underworld snitches.

Bulger was charged primarily with racketeering, a catchall offense that listed 33 criminal acts — among them, 19 murders that he allegedly helped orchestrate or carried out himself during the 1970s and ’80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston’s ruthless Irish mob. The racketeering charge also included acts of extortion, money-laundering and drug dealing.

The jury had to find he committed only two of those acts to convict him of racketeering. After 4½ days of deliberations, it decided he took part in 11 of those murders, along with nearly all of the other crimes.

Bulger could get life in prison. But given his age, even a modest term could amount to a life sentence for the slightly stooped, white-bearded Bulger.

During the two-month trial, federal prosecutors portrayed him as a cold-blooded, hands-on boss who killed anyone he saw as a threat, along with innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, according to testimony, he would go off and take a nap while his underlings handled the cleanup.


Among other things, Bulger was accused of strangling two women with his bare hands, shooting two men in the head after chaining them to chairs and interrogating them for hours, and opening fire on two men as they left a South Boston restaurant.

Bulger, the model for Jack Nicholson’s sinister crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie “The Departed,” was seen for years as a kind of benevolent tough guy who bought Thanksgiving turkeys for fellow residents of working-class South Boston and kept hard drugs out of the neighborhood. But that image was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.

“This is not some Robin Hood story about a guy who kept angel dust and heroin out of Southie,” prosecutor Fred Wyshak told the jury in closing arguments.

Bulger skipped town in 1994 after being tipped off — by a retired FBI agent, John Connolly, it turned out — that he was about to be indicted.

During 16 years on the run, Bulger was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. He was finally captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger evade the law.

His disappearance proved a major embarrassment to the FBI when it came out at court hearings and trials that Bulger had been an informant from 1975 to 1990, feeding the bureau information on the rival New England Mafia as well as members of his own gang while he continued to kill and intimidate.


Those proceedings also revealed that Bulger and his gang paid off several FBI agents and state and Boston police officers, dispensing Christmas envelopes of cash and cases of fine wine to get information on search warrants, wiretaps and investigations and stay one step ahead of the law.

At his trial, Bulger’s lawyers tried to turn the tables on the government, detailing the corruption inside the FBI and accusing prosecutors of offering absurdly generous deals to three former Bulger loyalists to testify against him.

The defense portrayed the three key witnesses — gangster Stephen The Rifleman” Flemmi, hit man John Martorano and Bulger protege Kevin Weeks — as pathological liars who pinned their own crimes on Bulger so they could get reduced sentences.

But overall, the defense barely contested many of the charges against Bulger. In fact, Bulger’s lawyers conceded he ran a criminal enterprise that raked in millions through drugs, gambling and loansharking.

His lawyers did strongly deny he killed women, something Bulger evidently regarded as a violation of his underworld code of honor. And they spent a surprising amount of time disputing he was a “rat” — a label that seemed to set off the hotheaded Bulger more than anything else, causing him to erupt in obscenities in the courtroom.

Bulger’s lawyers argued that Connolly, Bulger’s supposed handler inside the FBI, fabricated Bulger’s thick informant file to cover up his corrupt relationship with the gangster and advance his own career. At the time, bringing down the Mafia was a major priority for the FBI.


The prosecution’s witnesses also included numerous drug dealers, bookmakers and legitimate businessmen who described terrifying encounters with Bulger in which he ordered them to pay up or take a beating or worse.

Real estate developer Richard Buccheri said Bulger threatened to kill him and his family if he did not pay $200,000. Buccheri related how Bulger slammed his hand on a table in anger.

“With that, he takes the shotgun that was on the table — he sticks it in my mouth,” Buccheri said as spectators in the courtroom gasped.

Before the trial, Bulger’s lawyers said he would take the stand and detail the corruption inside the FBI. Bulger planned to argue he was given immunity for all his crimes by a now-dead federal prosecutor. But Judge Denise Casper disallowed such a defense, and Bulger did not testify.

“I feel that I’ve been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense,” he complained to the judge as the trial wound down. “My thing is, as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t get a fair trial, and this is a sham, and do what youse want with me. That’s it. That’s my final word.”

Bulger’s life story fascinated Bostonians for decades. He grew up in a South Boston housing project and quickly became involved in crime, while his younger brother, William, rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts as state Senate president.


William Bulger was forced to resign as president of the University of Massachusetts system in 2003 after he testified before a congressional committee investigating the FBI’s ties to his brother and acknowledged receiving a call from him after he fled Boston.

Two years earlier, William Bulger told a grand jury he did not urge his brother to surrender because he didn’t “think it would be in his interest to do so.”

Key events in the life of James “Whitey” Bulger

BOSTON (AP) — Key events in the life of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, who was convicted Monday by a jury that believed the mob boss took part in 11 slayings, finding him guilty of racketeering and other a slew of other crimes:

— Sept. 3, 1929: James Bulger is born to Irish immigrant parents living in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. He is the second of six children. His shock of platinum blonde hair earns him the nickname “Whitey.”

— 1956: Bulger is sentenced to federal prison for bank robbery. After he’s suspected of plotting an escape from one prison, he’s transferred to Alcatraz to serve part of his term.

— 1960: Bulger’s younger brother, William, is elected to the state House of Representatives. John Connolly, a childhood friend from South Boston, works on the campaign.


— 1965: Whitey Bulger is released from prison and comes home to “Southie.” He becomes a top lieutenant to Somerville mobster Howie Winter, head of the Winter Hill Gang.

— Mid-1960s: Gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi develops a relationship with Boston FBI agent H. Paul Rico. Flemmi, using the code name “Jack from South Boston” informs on members of the Providence, R.I.-based New England Mafia.

— 1969: Flemmi is indicted for the murder of a mobster, and with childhood friend “Cadillac” Frank Salemme, for a car bombing. Rico tips off Flemmi that the indictments are coming, and the two flee Boston. Flemmi spends the next 4 ½ years on the lam.

— 1970: William Bulger is elected to the state Senate.

— 1972: John Connolly, now an FBI agent, recognizes Salemme on the street in New York City and arrests him. Salemme is later sentenced to 15 years in prison. The arrest earns Connolly a transfer back to his hometown of Boston.

— 1974: Flemmi returns to Boston after criminal charges are dropped when several key witnesses recant. He hooks up with Winter, who counts Whitey Bulger among his key allies.


— June 1975: Edward Connors is killed by Flemmi to prevent him from telling authorities about an earlier murder by the Winter Hill Gang.

— September 1975: Acting partly on Flemmi’s recommendation, Bulger cuts a deal with Connolly to provide information on the Italian Mafia in exchange for protection from the FBI, according to testimony from Flemmi. (Bulger during the trial strongly denied he was an informant.)

— 1977: Veteran agent John Morris is appointed to oversee Connolly and his underworld informants.

— 1978: William Bulger becomes president of the state Senate and goes on to serve in the post longer than anyone in its history.

— 1979: After a former business associate implicates Whitey Bulger and Flemmi in a horse race-fixing scheme, FBI agents Connolly and Morris persuade federal prosecutors to leave the two out of the indictment. Twenty-one people are charged, including Winter, whose conviction paves the way for Bulger and Flemmi to assume control of the Winter Hill Gang.

— November 1980: Bulger and Flemmi help the FBI plant a surveillance bug in the North End headquarters of Boston Mafia boss Gennaro Angiulo.


— May 1981: Roger Wheeler, the owner of World Jai Alai, a gambling enterprise from which Bulger and Flemmi have been skimming money, is shot between the eyes in the parking lot of his country club in Tulsa, Okla. The killer is Winter Hill Gang hit man John Martorano.

— Spring 1982: Bulger and Flemmi allegedly gun down a former henchman in broad daylight on a South Boston street to prevent him from telling about the Wheeler murder. Connolly files a report with the FBI saying rival gangsters made the hit.

— July 1982: Flemmi and Bulger allegedly order Martorano to kill John Callahan, the former president of World Jai Alai, to prevent him from telling investigators about the Jai Alai scheme.

— December 1994: Bulger disappears on the eve of his indictment on racketeering charges. Indictment comes down in January 1995.

— 1997: The FBI, under court order, acknowledges that Bulger and Flemmi were “top echelon” informants as a federal probe into the agency’s corrupt ties to its mob informants begins.

— May 2002: Connolly is convicted of racketeering for warning Bulger, Salemme and Flemmi that they were about to be indicted in January 1995.


— June 2003: William Bulger testifies before a congressional committee investigating the FBI’s ties to mobster informants such as his brother. After receiving immunity, he acknowledges receiving a call from Whitey Bulger shortly after he fled, but says he has not heard from him since and has no idea where he is.

— August 2003: William Bulger resigns as president of the University of Massachusetts system amid growing pressure.

— 2005: Federal and state law enforcement officials investigate leads and Whitey Bulger look-alikes in at least 19 countries.

— 2006: Authorities release 26-year-old surveillance video of Bulger in the hope that someone will recognize his mannerisms.

— 2007: FBI releases video of a couple resembling Bulger and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in Italy.

— 2008: Connolly is convicted of second-degree murder in the hit on John Callahan as prosecutors argue the information he provided the mobsters was critical to the hit.


— 2010: FBI appeals to plastic surgeons in the effort to locate Bulger and Greig.

— June 20, 2011: FBI announces an effort to target Greig in the hopes of reaching Bulger.

— June 22, 2011: Bulger arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., with Greig.

— March 14, 2012: Greig pleads guilty to helping Bulger evade capture during 16 years on the run.

— June 12, 2012: Greig is sentenced to eight years in prison. Her attorney says she still loves Bulger and doesn’t regret helping him stay on the run.

— Nov. 4, 2012: Bulger is taken from jail to Boston Medical Center, where he is treated after complaining of chest pains, then back to jail.


— March 4, 2013: A judge rules that Bulger can’t present evidence at his trial about his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor gave him immunity for future crimes, including murder.

— March 14, 2013: A federal appeals court removes U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns from the Bulger case, ruling that his background as a former federal prosecutor could create the appearance of bias. Judge Denise Casper replaces him and upholds his decision on the immunity claim.

— June 12, 2013: Opening statements in Bulger’s trial begin.

— Aug. 12, 2013: Bulger is convicted of racketeering and other crimes, including extortion, conspiracy, money-laundering and drug dealing. The jury believed he took part in 11 of 19 killings. Sentencing is set for Nov. 13.

Verdicts of the jury in the


  • Count 1: Racketeering Conspiracy: Guilty
  • Count 2: Racketeering: Guilty

To find Bulger guilty of racketeering, jurors unanimously had to agree the prosecution proved at least two of the following:

  • Act No. 1: Conspiracy to murder members of the Notorangeli group: Not proved
  • Act No. 2: Murder of Michael Milano: Not proved
  • Act No. 3: Murder of Al Plummer: Not proved
  • Act No. 4: Murder of William O’Brien: Not proved
  • Act No. 5: Murder of James O’Toole: Not proved
  • Act No. 6: Murder of Al Notorangeli: Not proved
  • Act No. 7a: Conspiracy to murder James Sousa: Not proved
  • Act No. 7b: Murder of James Sousa: Not proved
  • Act No. 8: Murder of Paul McGonagle: Proved
  • Act No. 9: Murder of Edward Connors: Proved
  • Act No. 10a: Conspiracy to murder Thomas King: Proved
  • Act No. 10b: Murder of Thomas King: Proved
  • Act No. 11: Murder of Francis “Buddy” Leonard: Not proved
  • Act No. 12: Murder of Richard Castucci: Proved
  • Act No. 13a: Conspiracy to murder Roger Wheeler: Proved
  • Act No. 13b: Murder of Roger Wheeler: Proved
  • Act No. 14: Murder of Debra Davis: No finding
  • Act No. 15: Murder of Brian Halloran: Proved
  • Act No. 16: Murder of Michael Donahue: Proved
  • Act No. 17a: Conspiracy to murder John Callahan: Proved
  • Act No. 17b: Murder of John Callahan: Proved
  • Act No. 18: Murder of Arthur “Bucky” Barrett : Proved
  • Act No. 19: Murder of John McIntyre: Proved
  • Act No. 20: Murder of Deborah Hussey: Proved
  • Act No. 21: Extortion conspiracy: Proved
  • Act No. 22: Extortion of Richard O’Brien: Proved
  • Act No. 23: Extortion of Kevin Hayes: Not proved
  • Act No. 24: Extortion conspiracy: Proved
  • Act No. 25: Extortion of Michael Solimando: Proved
  • Act No. 26: Extortion of Stephen Rakes and Julie Rakes: Proved
  • Act No. 27: Extortion of Richard Bucheri: Proved
  • Act No. 28: Extortion of Raymond Slinger: Not proved
  • Act No. 29: Conspiracy to distribute narcotics: Proved
  • Act No. 30: Concealment of money laundering: Proved
  • Act No. 31: Concealment of money laundering: Proved
  • Act No. 32 (a): Concealment of money laundering: Proved
  • Act No. 32 (b): Concealment of money laundering: Proved
  • Act No. 33: Concealment or promotion of money laundering transfer: Proved

The jury also ruled on the these charges:

  • Count 3: Extortion conspiracy: Guilty
  • Count 4: Extortion: Not guilty
  • Count 5: Concealment of money laundering conspiracy: Guilty
  • Counts 6-26: Concealment of money laundering: Guilty
  • Count 27: Concealment or promotion of money laundering: Guilty
  • Count 28: Possession of firearms in furtherance of violent crime: Guilty
  • Count 29: Possession of machine guns in furtherance of violent crime: Guilty
  • Count 30: Possession of unregistered machine guns: Guilty
  • Count 31: Transfer and possession of machine guns: Guilty
  • Count 32: Possession of firearms with obliterated serial numbers: Guilty

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