15 Nov 2013

Notorious gangster jailed for life

3:58 pm on 15 November 2013

Notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger has been sentenced to life in prison for crimes including 11 murders.

Judge Denise Casper told Bulger that the scope, callousness and depravity of his crimes were almost unfathomable.

"Your crimes are made all the more heinous because they are all about money," she told the 84-year-old on Wednesday.

On the run for 16 years, Bulger featured on the FBI's list of most wanted fugitives alongside Osama bin Laden. He had led Boston's Winter Hill gang during the 1970s and 80s and was wanted for multiple counts of murder, extortion, racketeering and drug-dealing, the BBC reports.

In 1995, Bulger went into hiding after being tipped off by a corrupt FBI agent on his payroll that he was about to be indicted and was eventually captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California, with long-time girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig who, earlier this year, was sentenced to eight years for harbouring a fugitive.

Bulger was convicted last August of 11 murders and had argued unsuccessfully that he was promised immunity by a now-deceased prosecutor in return for Bulger's offer of protection from other mobsters.

On Wednesday, family members of some of the victims had a chance to confront him in the courtroom, with one man calling him a "terrorist" and "Satan".

Prosecutors called him a "sociopath" and portrayed him as a cold-blooded, hands-on boss who killed anyone he saw as a threat, along with innocent people who happened to get in the way.

Bulger's lawyers tried to soften his image by producing a photo album showing him as an 'ordinary' man and insisting that their client was not "immune" to the emotions of the victim's families.