Infamous crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was killed this morning after being transferred to USP Hazelton in West Virginia from a transfer facility in Oklahoma City, according to NBC News. Bulger was previously serving time in a federal penitentiary in Florida.
Bulger was convicted in 2013 on 11 counts of murder and several more counts of racketeering after being captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California. Before his capture, Bulger spent more than 16 years as a fugitive, including 12 years on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
It has not been stated why Bulger was moved from USP Coleman in Florida to the West Virginia penitentiary. The Boston Herald reported he had been suffering from poor health, but USP Hazelton is not a facility that’s equipped to deal with longterm healthcare for inmates.
Who Was Whitey Bulger?
Born September 3, 1929, in Massachusetts, Bulger grew up destitute in a rough Boston neighborhood. By his teens, the Irish-American, who hated the name “Whitey” and preferred to be called “Jimmy,” had gotten in with the city’s Irish gangs. He quickly earned a reputation for both his loyalty and for his quickness with a knife.
By 1956, Bulger had already done time in a variety of prisons, including juvenile facilities for his crimes as a teenager as well as various stints in the stockade during his brief time in the Air Force. In 1956, however, he did his first real, hard time, for what would be the beginning of several stints in prison. Over the next few decades, he’d serve time in Atlanta, at Alcatraz, and even at Leavenworth.
After his release from Leavenworth in 1965, Bulger would be a free man for the next four and a half decades. That doesn’t mean, however, that he stayed on the right side of the law.
Between 1965 and 2011, Bulger would work his way up through the Boston criminal underworld, leaving victims who were assaulted, tortured, and murdered in his wake. He also made millions of dollars, some of it even legally.
By 1994, the feds had closed in on Bulger’s gambling operation, and Bulger would go on to spend the next 17 years on the lam, including over a decade on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. But on June 22, 2011, when Bulger was 81, he was captured in Santa Monica, California. He would later be convicted of various counts of murder, racketeering, and other crimes, for which he was sentenced to two life terms plus five years.
How Did He Die?
Questions remain about the circumstances of Bulger’s death, including whether he died of natural causes or was a victim of foul play. It also remains unclear why he was being transferred between prisons, including to one which isn’t equipped to handle the medical needs of aged inmates.
This is a breaking story and will be updated when more information becomes available.