The James “Whitey” Bulger trial began in Boston Wednesday as the 83-year-old gangster denied multiple felony counts that include corruption, conspiracy, and murder.
Bulger gained notoriety as the leader of Boston-based Winter Hill gang in the 1980s. Within the gang, Bulger developed a reputation, as prosecutor Assistant US Attorney Kelly explained at the trial, as a “hands on killer” who often liked to get his hands dirty, committing a number of murders himself.
Bulger’s trial started Wednesday as he plead “not guilty” to 32 federal charges, 19 of which involve slayings. With over a hundred witnesses to set to testify, the trial is expected to last months.
Prosecutor Kelly describes Bulger as a sadistic man who did not flinch from assaulting, torturing, or murdering others.
In the instance of John McIntyre, whose murder is among the charges leveled against Bulger, Kelly describes the victim’s final interaction with the defendant:
“Bulger tried to choke him with a rope, but the rope was too thick. So Bulger asks him, ‘Do you want one in the head?’ ‘Yes please.’ So Bulger shoots him in the head.”
Beyond James “Whitey” Bulger’s acts of violence was his role in government corruption in Boston and his role as an FBI informant.
Since 1975 Bulger fed tips to federal agents in exchange for the FBI’s blind eye to be turned toward his Winter Hill gang.
Maintaining the double act of mob boss and federal snitch for nearly 20 years, Bulger learned of a plan by the FBI to arrest him in 1994 and fled. On the run for years, the now elderly gangster was arrested in 2011 after occupying the FBI Ten Most Wanted List for nearly 17 years.
The Bulger trial may last up to three months with many witnesses, including several key gangsters and convicted hit men, expected to give testimony against the former mob boss.
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