Whitey Bulger, Infamous Boston Crime Boss, Killed in Prison at 89

Boston organized crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger died Tuesday when he was killed in a federal prison. He was 89.

james-whitney-bulger-getty-Donaldson Collection : Contributor
(Photo: Donaldson Collection / Contributor, Getty)

Bulger was killed in a maximum sercurity prison, the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia, where he was transferred to shortly after spending time in an Oklahoma prison, according to the Boston Herald. Prison officials have not released details but say he was found dead sometime after he was moved to the prison.

The feared former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, in 2013, Bulger was convicted to life in prison for a slew of crimes, including being linked to at least 11 murders stretching from Massachusetts to Florida to Oklahoma. Among the several killings linked to Bulger was Roger Wheeler's death, who was gunned down outside his country club in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981.

In addition to his role in murders, Bulger was also convicted for racketeering. He had been wanted by the FBI for 16 years before he was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California, where he was arrested with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

Now 67, Greig pleaded guilty in 2012 to identity fraud and harboring Bulger. She also pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in 2016 for refusing to cooperate with authorities against him.

She is currently behind bars at a federal women's prison in Minnesota serving an eight-year sentence. She is scheduled to be released on Sept. 29, 2020.

Bulger was the head of the Winter Hill Gang, a violent South Boston crime ring, from the 1970 into the '90s. In 1995, he was tipped off about an indictment headed his way by an FBI agent and escaped, remaining on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list until 2011.

Last week, he was transferred out of a federal prison in Florida to the one in Oklahoma City. He had just recently arrived at Hazelton. Though he was known to have medical ailments, it's not clear why he was on the move. The Hazleton facility houses 1,277 maximum-security inmates and is located in Bruceton Mills. The Oklahoma facility he was held in last week often serves as a temporary stop for inmates in transit.

0comments

Bulger's attorney, Hank Brennan who tried to appeal his life sentence all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, declined to comment to the Boston Herald pending notification of Bulger's death by the Bureau of Prisons.

Most recently, he was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 2015 movie Black Mass, which documented his life story as a gangster and longtime FBI informant. His dark life story also inspired several other films, such as The Departed, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2006.