Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
L/rain
49°
L/rain
Hi 52° | Lo 46°

Bulger gets 2 life sentences

  • Tommy Donahue, son of Michael Donahue, speaks to the media as his fiancee Michelle Carter, his mother Patricia Donahue, and his brothers Shawn and Michael Jr. (far right) listen outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. Bulger was found guilty in Michael Donahue's 1982 murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Tommy Donahue, son of Michael Donahue, speaks to the media as his fiancee Michelle Carter, his mother Patricia Donahue, and his brothers Shawn and Michael Jr. (far right) listen outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. Bulger was found guilty in Michael Donahue's 1982 murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jackie Bulger, walks away from federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, with no comment for the media, after his older brother, former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Jackie Bulger, walks away from federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, with no comment for the media, after his older brother, former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Theresa Barrett Bond, left, daughter of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, stands outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 with her son Justin, who holds a photo of "Bucky," with help from family friend Kari Hicks, as Sandra Patient, niece of "Bucky" Barrett stands at right. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Theresa Barrett Bond, left, daughter of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, stands outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 with her son Justin, who holds a photo of "Bucky," with help from family friend Kari Hicks, as Sandra Patient, niece of "Bucky" Barrett stands at right. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sandra Patient, niece of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, holds a photo of Barrett as she hugs Patricia Donahue, wife of slain Michael Donahue, outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice.  Arthur  Barrett was killed in 1983. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Sandra Patient, niece of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, holds a photo of Barrett as she hugs Patricia Donahue, wife of slain Michael Donahue, outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. Arthur Barrett was killed in 1983. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tommy Donahue, son of Michael Donahue, speaks to the media as his fiancee Michelle Carter, his mother Patricia Donahue, and his brothers Shawn and Michael Jr. (far right) listen outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. Bulger was found guilty in Michael Donahue's 1982 murder. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Jackie Bulger, walks away from federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, with no comment for the media, after his older brother, former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Theresa Barrett Bond, left, daughter of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, stands outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 with her son Justin, who holds a photo of "Bucky," with help from family friend Kari Hicks, as Sandra Patient, niece of "Bucky" Barrett stands at right. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Sandra Patient, niece of Arthur "Bucky" Barrett, holds a photo of Barrett as she hugs Patricia Donahue, wife of slain Michael Donahue, outside federal court in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and '80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice.  Arthur  Barrett was killed in 1983. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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 — fathers, uncles, brothers and sisters — were killed by Bulger or his henchmen.

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. District Judge Denise Casper announced the punishment and Bulger 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 information on the rival New England Mafia. In reality, the trial evidence showed Bulger had little to offer about the 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 — including stranglings and shootings — were so awful.

“The scope, the callousness, the depravity of your crimes are almost unfathomable,” she said.

Bulger directed extortions that he used to seize control of drug distribution in South Boston and elsewhere. He collected as much as $500,000 a week by flooding his own neighborhood with tons of cocaine and marijuana and creating an army of addicts.

“Your crimes in my estimation are made all the more heinous because they were all about money,” Casper told Bulger.

Casper sentenced Bulger to two consecutive life sentences plus five years, as prosecutors had requested.

The judge also ordered Bulger to pay $19.5 million in restitution to the victims’ families and to forfeit an additional $25.2 million to the government, based on prosecutors’ estimate of how much his gang took in from drugs, extortion and gambling.

It is unclear how much Bulger will be able to pay. Prosecutors did find $822,000 in cash stashed in the walls of his apartment when he was caught.

Bulger, who was known for his volcanic temper, snarled obscenities at several once-loyal cohorts during his trial, but he 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.

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.