The life and death of “Whitey” Bulger, the great Boston gangster

Stock photograph of June 23, 2011, where you can see the façade of the apartment complex Princessa Eugenia where the alleged ringleader of organized crime, James "Whitey" Bulger, was captured in Santa Monica, California (USA). EFE / Archive

The murder in a West Virginia high security prison of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger at the hands of another inmate puts an end to a life worthy of the pen of the best black film writers; a cocktail of disloyalty, police corruption and cruelty.

According to the newspaper The Boston Globe, which he quoted sources familiar with the facts, Bulger was killed shortly after being transferred to this penitentiary.

The local radio station WV News noted that it was an inmate who killed Bulger, without providing further details.

The octogenarian capo had entered the high security prison in Hazelton (West Virginia), after being transferred from another prison in Oklahoma City (Oklahoma).

“Whitey” Bulger, 89, who was immortalized by actor Jack Nicholson in the 2007 film “The Departed” by Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp in “Black Mass” (2015) by Scott Cooper, was the head of the Irish Mafia in Boston in the 70s and 80s.

In those decades, the band of Bulger, centered in the south of Boston, and its rivals of the Italian mafia, with connections in New York, staged a bloody battle for the control of the city.

Bulger was sentenced in 2013 to two life sentences for 11 murders during his years leading the feared “Winter Hill Gang”, which dominated much of the city’s drug trafficking, extortion and illegal gambling business.

In addition to his legacy as a major crime in Boston for almost 20 years, his story also includes the fictional figure of the corrupt police: FBI agent John Connolly, raised in the same neighborhood as Bulger, and warned gangsters about the police operatives.

And, in an even more ambitious plot twist, the political connection.

“Whitey” Bulger’s brother, William, was a well-known local Democratic politician who became president of the Massachusetts Senate and who headed the prestigious State University until the links with his brother, with whom he allegedly talked while he was on the run , forced to end his public career in 2003.

What does not appear in the Scorsese film, although it gives a more than interesting sequel, are the quiet wanderings of Bulger, after his escape from Boston in 1994.

For 16 years he remained hidden in a simple apartment in the placid Santa Monica, a wealthy city in Los Angeles County on the shores of the Pacific, with his partner Catherine Greig, while the FBI placed him on the list of the most wanted fugitives together to Osama bin Laden.

Exasperated by the inability to locate the gangster, federal agents decided to concentrate on determining the whereabouts of Greig, known for his passion for cosmetic surgery.

It was to her that they finally discovered in 2011 thanks to the trace left by her embellishment operations, accompanied by an elderly man: it was Bulger, slightly aged, who obviously lived under another name.

Greig, serving his sentence for minor charges, is expected to regain his freedom in 2020.


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