Whitey Bulger’s one of the most famous mobsters who ever lived. The gangster who terrorized South Boston as the leader of its notorious Winter Hall Gang was the “inspiration” for The Departed and Black Mass, with Johnny Depp portraying Bulger. Given that, maybe it’s no surprise that the circumstances of Whitey Bulger’s death seem straight out of Hollywood and are heading to the courtroom.
Last year, Bulger was murdered in federal prison at the age of 89. The murder of a famous mob boss is enough to attract headlines on its own, but there is a murk of details in the Bulger case that give at least a reasonable base to some type of conspiracy.
Bulger had health problems, particularly with his heart. He was serving his time in a Florida prison. Prison officials sought to transfer him into the general prison population in West Virginia but were denied in April 2018 due to Bulger’s heart condition. The mob boss anticipated being transferred to a facility where medical care would be better.
Instead, Bulger’s medical reports mysteriously began to show his health as improving in spite of multiple heart attacks and being confined to a wheelchair. The upgraded health report made a transfer to West Virginia possible, where he was placed among the general population.
Almost immediately—as if on cue—Bulger was killed; inmates wheeled him out of the sight of security cameras and beat him to death. To date, the prison officials have not found the culprits.
It’s enough to make the Bulger family suspicious and a $200 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the federal government. Family lawyers mince no words that they believe this was deliberately orchestrated, writing “…we do not believe that the transfer…and placement in the general population was simply dangerous, negligent, reckless, and irresponsible; we believe it was also intentional and part of a conspiracy among BOP, DOJ employees, and others to intentionally cause Mr. Bulger’s serious injuries and death.”
Whitey Bulger was convicted of 11 murders, including one where the victim was a husband, father of 3 and “guilty” of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This goes along with convictions for extortion, racketeering and drugs. Suffice it to say, sympathy for Bulger and his family among the victims and the population at large is in short supply.
But the manner in which Bulger’s death came about remains troubling. Did prison officials take the law into their own hands and orchestrate the mob boss’ death in a conspiracy to commit murder? Legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote that while “few are aggrieved by Bulger’s death…greater transparency would be in the public interest.”