James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boogeyman of South Boston, was found guilty on Monday of 31 criminal charges filed against his name. Besides 11 murders, the gangster will serve time for extortion, narcotics distribution, money laundering, and illegal firearms charges.
Bulger fled Boston upon receiving a tip from a retired FBI agent.The sentencing comes nearly twenty years after Bulger fled Boston upon receiving a tip from a retired FBI agent. He remained in hiding for the duration of that time, and as the years passed, many feared that he would never face justice for the murders he committed. According to CBS News, the jury deliberated for over 32 hours before reaching a final verdict. Family members of deceased victims wept with relief when the life sentence was read.
For decades, Bulger cultivated an almost Robin Hood-like image around the Boston area. When he was first found in Santa Barbara and arrested in 2011, he vowed to take the stand in Boston if only to refute the charge that he had ever killed a woman (because apparently, it’s perfectly fine to kill men). Now found guilty of strangling several, that image appears to be blown apart forever.
The 83-year-old still faces numerous murder charges in Florida and Oklahoma: both states with a death penalty. Upon hearing the verdict, Bulger is reported to have turned his brother, former Senator Billy Bulger, and flashed him the thumbs-up sign.
Bulger used the trial as an opportunity to argue against claims that he had been an informant for the FBI.The defense’s role in the trial was not to get Bulger acquitted; that would be impossible for a man who spent decades on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Rather, the defendant used the trial as an opportunity to argue against claims that he had been an informant for the FBI- a “rat.” In a recent Boston Globe article, Bulger was said to be “very pleased” with the outcome of the trial, because it exposed more government corruption.
“This day of reckoning for Bulger has been a long time coming,” US Attorney Carmen Ortiz told the press outside the courthouse, following the reading of the verdict. “So many people’s lives were so terribly harmed by the criminal acts of Bulger and his crew. . . . We hope they find some degree of comfort in the fact . . . that Bulger is being held accountable for his horrific crimes.”