BOSTON — Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his murderous reign in the 1970s and ‘80s, bringing to a close a case that exposed FBI corruption so deep that many people across the city thought he would never be brought to justice.
Bulger, 84, said nothing in his own defense and was stone-faced as he learned his fate.
A jury convicted Bulger in August in a broad racketeering case. He was found guilty of 11 of the 19 killings he was accused of, along with dozens of other gangland crimes, including shakedowns and money laundering.
U.S. District Judge Denise Casper heard testimony Wednesday from a dozen relatives the 19 slaying victims. They called him a terrorist, a punk and Satan. Prosecutors called him a sociopath.
On Thursday, Casper delivered a blistering speech before sentencing Bulger to two consecutive life sentences plus five years, as prosecutors had requested.
She called his crimes “almost unfathomable” and the human suffering he inflicted “agonizing to hear” and “painful to watch.” She said at times during the trial that she wished she and everyone else in the courtroom were watching a movie, because the horror described seemed unreal.
She read off the names of Bulger’s 11 victims. “Each of these lives came to an unceremonious end at your hands or at the hands of others at your direction,” Casper said.
Bulger stood and folded his hands in front of him, expressionless, as the judge imposed his sentence. Relatives of the victims remained quiet.
His attorney Hank Brennan promised an appeal of the conviction, though he didn’t say on what grounds. He railed against the plea bargains given to Bulger associates who testified against him.
“Why in the world do we have a handful of murderers walking the streets?” Brennan asked.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors had to make difficult decisions to get Bulger.
“Was it worth it? I believe so, but it’s not something you enjoy doing,” Ortiz said. She added that Bulger “deserves nothing less than to spend the rest of his life in prison for the harm, the pain and the suffering that he has caused to many in this town.”MORE IN Wire NewsHIROSHIMA, Japan — With an unflinching look back at a painful history, President Barack Obama... Full StoryBEIJING — Yang Jiang, a Chinese author, playwright and translator whose stoically restrained... Full Story
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