U.S. News: The Trial of Whitey Bulger

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff


In 2013, the Whitey Bulger trial captured national attention.

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger in 1959

Whitey Bulger

Bulger in 2011

Related Links

U.S. Government Closes for Business | Troubled Debut of the Affordable Care Act | Detroit Files for Bankruptcy | The Rise of Wendy Davis | Breakthrough Year for Same-Sex Marriage | U.S. Economy in 2013 | Gun Violence in 2013 | Boston Marathon Tragedy | Hagel Nomination Is Filibustered | IRS Targets Tea Party | Verdict on George Zimmerman | Sequester 2013 | The Future of Guantanamo Bay | Voting Rights After Shelby v Holder | The Trials of Bradley Manning | Senate Limits the Use of the Filibuster | Civil Rights Anniversaries | Holder Proposes Major Criminal Justice System Changes

Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger's trial received national attention in 2013. From 1995 until 2011, Bulger had been a fugitive and one of the F.B.I.'s Most Wanted. In fact, the reward offered for Bulger was two million, an amount second only to the reward offered for Osama bin Laden. Bulger was finally apprehended on June 22, 2011, in Santa Monica, California. After his capture, he was transported to Boston to stand trial.

The trial began on June 12, 2013, in South Boston. Bulger was charged with 23 counts of extortion, money laundering, and racketeering, which included his involvement with 19 murders. Seventy-two witnesses testified during the trial, which lasted two months.

On July 9, 2013, Kevin Weeks, a key government witness, testified against Bulger, his former mentor. In his testimony, Weeks recounted how Bulger killed two men in 1982 in South Boston. Weeks got a reduced sentence for testifying. His testimony was the most damaging because it tied Bulger to at least two of the 19 murders he'd been accused of playing a part in. The following day, as Weeks testimony continued, he and Bulger traded expletives in the courtroom. It was the first words the two have spoken to each other in over 16 years.

On August 12, 2013, Bulger was found guilty of 31 of the 32 charges he faced, including murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and possession of weapons. Bulger could face a sentence of life in prison, plus thirty years. His sentencing was scheduled for November 13.

Bulger's sentencing lasted two days. On November 14, 2013, he was sentenced to life in prison. In fact, he received two consecutive life sentences, plus five years. Bulger, age 84, stared straight ahead and showed no emotion while Judge Denise J. Casper of Federal District Court read through a list of his murders and how he stuffed the bodies in trunks or left them at the crime scene. "Unfathomable acts conducted in unfathomable ways," the judge said just before announcing Bulger's sentence.

by Jennie Wood

Sources +