This former underworld godfather, now 83, inspired the character of Jack Nicholson in Infiltrators, by Martin Scorsese.
He lived peacefully, as a good American retiree, on the third floor of an opulent residence, facing the rollers of the Pacific Ocean, in Santa Monica (California). When LAPD agents broke down his door on June 22, 2011, James Bulger did not express the slightest surprise.
The 81-year-old man with a bald head and white beard was none other than the historic former godfather of the Irish Mafia in Boston, one of America’s most feared thugs. “Whitey” Bulger, accused of nineteen murders between 1972 and 2000, is scheduled to appear in Boston court Wednesday morning on charges of murders, extortion, money laundering, corruption and arms trafficking. “Should”, because the trial, which promises to be eventful, has already experienced two postponements. During the selection of a popular jury in the spring, 675 candidates presented themselves spontaneously, for only 18 places to be filled. The police, which must already ensure the protection of the hundred witnesses called to the bar, demanded that the past of the jurors finally retained be verified. Born in 1929 in the working-class neighborhood of “Southie” (South Boston), the young and rough “Whitey” quickly carved out a reputation with his fists in the street, before falling into armed violence. First trigger of the godfather Donald Killeen, he ensured his succession when the latter was assassinated in 1972 and turned into the cruel boss of the Winter Hill gang, which soon reigned supreme over the capital of Massachusetts.
But the criminal genius of “Whitey” Bulger lies in his ability to transform into an FBI informant to better infiltrate the FBI and reduce rival gangs. His “evil empire,” which mixes rogue and truthful FBI agents, inspired director Martin Scorsese, who in 2006 offered the role of Bulger to Jack Nicholson, a cruel and insensitive godfather in the film. Infiltrators.
End of the run
Ace of disguise, willingly dressing himself in wigs and fake mustaches, Bulger passed out in the wild in 1994, when the FBI was about to handcuff him, after the damning confessions of his lieutenant Kevin Weeks. Having visibly unlimited financial resources, he travels in Europe, regularly changes his identity, usurping those of tramps whose complicity and silence he buys for nothing. It is after a call for witnesses that the face of his mistress and companion, Cathy Greig, is recognized by neighbors of Santa Monica. In his pretty apartment on the seafront, the police discovered a real arsenal and a bag containing 822,000 dollars (620,000 euros), buried in a wall.
Since his incarceration, the now 83-year-old criminal has imposed an impeccable lifestyle – including 155 daily pumps -, which did not prevent him from being hospitalized in February for a heart murmur. Thanks to his iron health, the families of his victims and the Boston PD police should have the satisfaction of watching him at his trial. Bulger pleads not guilty to all 32 charges against him. And allows himself to ironize on the talent of his companion, Cathy Greig, “who has managed to prevent (her) from committing any crime in sixteen years” on the run.
“There are still a few people in South Boston who believe he was a good guy,” smiles Stephen Rakes, a shopkeeper once held up by the gangster. But there aren’t many alive to tell. ”