The Departed was a fascinating movie. How it really ended in the underlying story has been a mystery.
In what may be the final chapter in a story stretching back more than five decades in South Boston, Massachusetts, James “Whitey” Bulger was found guilty of drug trafficking and 11 murders. The organized crime king pin, who became legendary for his fierce reputation, and immortalized as Frank Costello in The Departed, seemed satisfied as the verdict was read in a federal courtroom on Monday.
Bulger was found guilty of all but one of the 32 counts against him. The 83 year old will spend the rest of his life in jail. According to a Boston Globe reporter, he gave his family in attendance a thumbs up before being heckled by a relative of one of his victims.
“Rat-a-tat Whitey!” Connors yelled from the gallery. Later, she said she was referring to a taped conversation played at the trial, in which Bulger mimicked the sound of machine gun fire as he mentioned her father’s slaying to his nephew and niece when they visited him at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.”
Bulger captured America’s attention during his 16 year run from the law. Chronicled in best-selling books and documentaries, he was even immortalized by Hollywood. Jack Nicholson’s legendary character in ‘The Departed” was based on the notorious South Boston gangster.
While the decision on Monday puts a definitive end to Bulger’s freedom, he may only be partway through his legal battles. He is still wanted for murder in both Florida and Oklahoma. However, officials in both places agreed to wait for the outcome of the federal trial before deciding whether or not to pursue charges against Bulger.
It took jurors more than 32 hours of deliberation over five days before reaching its verdict.
Bulger’s defense team contend that Bulger is pleased with the outcome of the trial, claiming he knew that he would not be set free. Instead, they insist Bulger hoped to use his trial as an opportunity to expose corruption among federal law enforcement officials, whom he insists were complicit in his organized crime activities. Bulger was a noted longtime FBI informant. In exchange for valuable information regarding a rival faction Italian crime family, the FBI largely ignored his organization’s activities. Bulger was also compensated financially. He and a partner took more than $230,000 in payments over a decade long period.
Sentencing for Bulger is scheduled over a three-day period from November 13 to the 15. The judge in the case Denise J. Casper has said she will allow statements from family members of the victims during at least one day of the hearing. Relatives for the deceased are expected to give emotional testimonies, hoping to persuade the judge to increase the severity of Bulger’s sentence.
Bulger was arrested in late June of 2011 in Santa Monica, California. He had been sharing a modest apartment with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. The couple had been on the run since 1996. For 12 years, Bulger topped the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Several years his junior, Greig was sentenced last summer after pleading guilty to charges related to identity fraud and harboring a fugitive. She was received more than eight years in prison.
Joel Mazmanian is a DC-area correspondent for The Blot.