Vic­tims’ kin call Bul­ger ‘Satan,’ ‘ter­ror­ist’

Mob boss says his trial ‘a sham,’ de­clines to ad­dress judge

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY DENISE LAVOIE

BOS­TON | The fam­i­lies of peo­ple killed by South Bos­ton crime boss James “Whitey” Bul­ger and his gang fi­nally got the chance Wednes­day to tell Bul­ger how his long reign of ter­ror dam­aged their lives, calling him a “ter­ror­ist,” a “punk” and even “Satan.”

A stone-faced Bul­ger re­fused to look at them, again de­clared his trial a sham and didn’t take his op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the judge.

Bul­ger, his back to the fam­i­lies, stared straight ahead and scrib­bled on a le­gal pad as a dozen rel­a­tives stood one by one in a packed court­room and poignantly de­scribed the loss of their loved ones and their con­tempt for the crime boss.

The son of a man who was gunned down by Bul­ger in 1974 ad­dressed the 84-year-old Bul­ger as “Satan” and de­scribed how his fa­ther, a mem­ber of a ri­val gang, dis­ap­peared in 1974 but wasn’t found un­til decades later when his body was dis­cov­ered in a wa­tery grave.

Sean McGona­gle was 11 when his fa­ther, Paul, dis­ap­peared. He said Bul­ger called his fam­ily’s house the fol­low­ing year and said, “Your fa­ther won’t be com­ing home for Christ­mas.” When he asked, “Who’s this?” Bul­ger re­sponded, “Santa Claus,” Mr. McGona­gle said.

“You’re a do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist fueled by greed and sick­en­ing evil,” he said.

Sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers blasted cor­rupt FBI agents for pro­tect­ing Bul­ger for years while he was work­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously as a crime boss and an FBI in­for­mant who rat­ted out the ri­val New Eng­land Mafia and other groups.

David Wheeler, the son of a Tulsa, Okla., busi­ness­man who was shot be­tween the eyes by a hit man for Bul­ger’s gang, de­liv­ered a blis­ter­ing con­dem­na­tion of both the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment, which suc­cess­fully ar­gued to have his fam­ily’s wrong­ful death law­suit dis­missed on the grounds that it was filed too late.

“They are as re­spon­si­ble for that mur­der as the de­fen­dant here sit­ting be­fore you,” Mr. Wheeler said. He called Bul­ger a “govern­ment-spon­sored as­sas­sin” but said the “great­est shame of all” falls on the FBI.

For­mer Bos­ton FBI agent John Con­nolly Jr. — Bul­ger’s han­dler when he was an in­for­mant — was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison af­ter be­ing con­victed of tip­ping off the gang­ster ahead of an in­dict­ment. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the tip in 1994, Bul­ger fled Bos­ton and re­mained a fugi­tive for more than 16 years un­til he was cap­tured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011. Con­nolly was later con­victed of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in Florida for leak­ing in­for­ma­tion to Bul­ger that led to the slay­ing of a gam­bling ex­ec­u­tive.

Judge Denise Casper asked Bul­ger if he wanted to speak, but he de­clined. She was slated to hand down Bul­ger’s sen­tence Thurs­day.

Pros­e­cu­tors have rec­om­mended two con­sec­u­tive life sen­tences, plus five years. Lawyers for Bul­ger de­clined to make a rec­om­men­da­tion.

Bul­ger claims that a now-de­ceased fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor had given him im­mu­nity to com­mit crimes in ex­change for Bul­ger’s of­fer to pro­tect him from the Mafia. The judge re­fused to al­low Bul­ger to use that claim as a de­fense to his long list of crimes, in­clud­ing mur­ders.

A fed­eral jury con­victed Bul­ger in Au­gust in a rack­e­teer­ing in­dict­ment that in­cluded mur­der, ex­tor­tion, money-laun­der­ing and weapons charges. It found Bul­ger guilty in 11 out of the 19 killings he was charged with par­tic­i­pat­ing in dur­ing the 1970s and ’80s but ac­quit­ted him of seven killings and is­sued a “no find­ing” in another.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sean McGona­gle, the son of James “Whitey” Bul­ger vic­tim Paul McGona­gle, was 11 when his fa­ther dis­ap­peared. “You’re a do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist fueled by greed and sick­en­ing evil,” Mr. McGona­gle told Bul­ger at his sen­tenc­ing Wednes­day.

Bul­ger is ex­pected to be sen­tenced on Thurs­day. Pros­e­cu­tors have rec­om­mended two con­sec­u­tive life sen­tences, plus five years. Lawyers for the for­mer South Bos­ton crime boss did not make a rec­om­men­da­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.