Boston-area gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was found dead Tuesday in a federal prison in West Virginia, NBC News and other outlets reported. He was 89.
Bulger died the day after his trasfer to the West Virginia penitentiary from Florida via Oklahoma, according to NBC News.
The Boston Globe reported that Bulger had been killed inside the prison, and a “fellow inmate with Mafia ties” was being investigated in his death. A U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson confirmed that the feds were investigating but would release no other information.
The U.S. Bureau of Prison said Bulger “was found unresponsive” at 8:20 a.m. and that emergency life-saving measures by prison staff were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead by the county medical examiner.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified and an investigation has been initiated,” the bureau of prisons said in a statement.
Bulger was a notorious racketeer and leader of the Winter Hill Gang for decades before disappearing in 1995. Bulger was also an informant for the FBI but disappeared when his FBI handler warned him that he would soon be indicted.
He was apprehended in Santa Monica, California, in 2011, found guilty in 2013 of racketeering and involvement in 11 murders, and sentenced to life in prison.
Bulger’s brother, William, was the president of the Massachusetts State Senate for almost 20 years and later the president of the University of Massachusetts.
Bulger’s life inspired both the Martin Scorsese Best Picture winner The Departed (which was also adapted from the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs) as well as the Johnny Depp project Black Mass.
Oddy Bulger's name has recently come up on nightly newscasts and in print, in reference to Special Counsel Mueller's past.
Sean Hannity on Fox said, “Bulger’s FBI handler, guy by the name of John Connolly covered up for many of the horrific crimes that were committed by Bulger and his associates, including one instance where four men were wrongfully framed and convicted and imprisoned for decades — all for a murder it turns out they did not commit,” Hannity continued. “The men were ultimately exonerated. A judge awarded $101 million in damages, but not before two of the men actually died in prison. Robert Mueller was the U.S. attorney in charge while these men were rotting in prison, while certain agents in the FBI under Mueller covered up the truth.”
The New York Times explained the relationship this way: “In the 1980's, while [FBI Agent] Mr. Connolly was working with Whitey Bulger, Mr. Mueller was assistant United States attorney in Boston in charge of the criminal division and for a period was the acting United States attorney here, presiding over Mr. Connolly and Mr. Bulger as a ’top-echelon informant.' Officials of the Massachusetts state police and the Boston Police Department had long wondered why their investigations of Mr. Bulger were always compromised before they could gather evidence against him, and they suspected that the FBI was protecting him.
Of course there is no evidence Mr. Mueller did anything wrong, but Whitey's death will surely get the conspiracy groups digging.