Bul­ger sen­tenced to two life terms

Judge cas­ti­gates ex-mob boss for ‘al­most un­fath­omable’ de­prav­ity

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY DENISE LAVOIE

BOS­TON | For­mer Bos­ton crime boss James “Whitey” Bul­ger was sen­tenced to life in prison Thurs­day at 84 for his mur­der­ous reign over the city’s un­der­world in the 1970s and ’80s, ac­cept­ing his sen­tence with stone-faced si­lence even as a judge cas­ti­gated him for his “al­most un­fath­omable” de­prav­ity.

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 were killed by Bul­ger or his hench­men.

For the fam­i­lies, Bul­ger’s sen­tence ended a decades­long strug­gle to find jus­tice for fa­thers, un­cles, brothers and sis­ters.

Many of the rel­a­tives had vented their anger at Bul­ger dur­ing the first day of his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing Wed­nes­day, call­ing him a “ter­ror­ist,” a “punk” and “Satan.”

So when U.S. Dis­trict Judge Denise Casper an­nounced Bul­ger’s pun­ish­ment and the de­fen­dant 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 the bureau in­for­ma­tion on the ri­val New Eng­land 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 were so aw­ful.

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

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

Bul­ger, who was known for his vol­canic tem­per and snarled ob­scen­i­ties at sev­eral once-loyal co­horts dur­ing his trial, 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 at­tor­neys, said Bul­ger was “pleased that he held to his prin­ci­ples” by stay­ing silent and re­fus­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the sen­tenc­ing.

Bul­ger’s at­tor­neys 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.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Tommy Don­ahue, son of James “Whitey” Bul­ger vic­tim Michael Don­ahue, speaks to the me­dia Thurs­day while his brother, Shawn, com­forts their mother, Pa­tri­cia, and his brother Michael Jr. looks on out­side fed­eral court in Bos­ton. Bul­ger, 84, was sen­tenced to life in prison for his mur­der­ous reign over the city’s un­der­world in the 1970s and ’80s.

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