Funeral Mass held for James Whitey Bulger in South Boston

Funeral Mass held for James \Whitey\ Bulger in South Boston

Whitey Bulgers funeral held in South Boston

At last a half dozen family members — including Bulgers brother, former state Senate President Billy Bulger —attended the 30-minute service at St. Monicas Church in South Boston Thursday.

Margaret McCusker, the twin sister of Bulgers longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig, was also seen going into the church.

The Boston Archdiocese confirmed that the funeral mass was held and NBC Boston had exclusive video of the family members outside the church.

Former Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger, the brother of James "Whitey" Bulger; and Margaret McCusker, the twin sister of Whitey Bulger's longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, were both seen leaving Bulger's funeral in South Boston on Thursday.NBC 10 Boston”Out of respect for the family and those who were hurt, it was a private service just for the immediate family,” Father James Flavin, pastor of St. Monicas Church, said in a statement released by the archdiocese. “The Church is certainly aware of the deep pain that innocent victims of crime and violence live with every day.”

The service was held nine days after Bulger, 89, was beaten to death inside his cell at the Hazelton federal penitentiary in West Virginia.

Nonetheless he denied it passionately. Among the Irish in Southie there was nothing worse you could be called, than a rat. He insisted he had never been one. As a thief from the age of 13 hed had many a beating in police stations, but had not cracked. In prison he had been put in solitary for months, but told them nothing. He would go to hell before he did. The way he saw it, Connolly, who was a rogue agent anyway, had given him useful business information and he had paid him for it; it was that way round. He insisted from the very start, sitting in Connollys car that night, that his role and title would be strategist. Any ratting had been done by others, including his chief associate, Steve Flemmi, not by him. That word associate, too, had a business ring to it. And it preserved the distance he liked to keep from almost everyone, in case they were no longer his friend and, with eyes cold as marble and that hair-trigger violence he was famous for, he had to kill them.

Bulgers battered body was found less than 12 hours after he arrived at the prison, which is plagued by violence and a staffing shortage.

Words entertained him, and they plagued him in a way. Like people calling him Whitey from his blond hair, which infuriated him, when he should have been Jimmy, or Boots, from the cowboy boots he wore. Or like the words good and bad. Clearly he was bad, because he was a racketeer, an extortionist (though rent collector was the term he preferred), an arms trafficker and a mobster. His first spree of robberies in 1955 was bad in the classic Hollywood style, bursting into banks with a pistol in each hand and fleeing with his girlfriend in a getaway car. James Cagney was in his mind then. Later he wore with pride his belt buckle from Alcatraz. As crime became his fixed career, from the 1970s to the 1990s, no one in eastern Massachusetts dared cross him.

Law enforcement sources told NBC News that Bulger was struck repeatedly with a padlock stuffed inside a sock. The killer or killers then placed Bulger in his bed to make it look like he was sleeping, law enforcement sources said.

The word that bugged him most was informant. A snitch, a rat. While he was in retirement in California the story got out that he had been recruited by John Connolly of the FBI, in 1975, to inform on the Patriarca crime family and on rival Irish gangs. He helped the agency well into the 1990s, getting in exchange free rein for his business activities and immunity from arrest. Since his brother Billy, who always looked out for him, was at the time president of the state Senate, the most powerful politician in Massachusetts and a fount of patronage, it was a cosy arrangement both for local FBI field officers and for him. The agents even bought their Christmas wine at the South Boston Liquor Mart.

Bulger prison transfer a death sentence, union boss says

The FBI is investigating the killing. No arrests have been made but investigators are eyeing multiple suspects, including a former Mafia hitman who despises snitches, according to law enforcement sources and the mans lawyer.

That last was a word he avoided altogether. At his trial in 2011 on 32 counts of racketeering, extortion and weapons possession he was also charged with complicity in 19 killings, and was convicted two years later of 11 of them. He said he was not guilty, though the evidence was heard in court, clearly enough. How he had chained Bucky Barrett and tortured him into handing over the proceeds from a bank robbery, then shot him in the head anyway. How he had stabbed Louie Litif with an ice pick, and gunned down Eddie Connors in a phone booth; how he had joked about his victims, as he drove past the spots where he had buried them.

The decision to transfer Bulger from a Florida prison to a general population unit at the notorious Hazelton penitentiary has drawn scrutiny from current and former federal prison staffers.

Yet in Southie, home turf, he bought turkeys for the poor at Thanksgiving and held open doors for women. By day at least, he was still that neat well-mannered boy from the Mary Ellen McCormack housing project who would sort out local bullies with threats, or lightning fists, to help the weak. The rockiness happened outside home. Some of the money he made went on weapons for the IRA, a good cause, as many in Southie saw it. As he told some federal drug agents once, as they were frisking him and stripping his car, they were the good-good guys, and he was bad-good.

James Whitey Bulger laid to rest in private Mass

As NBC News reported earlier in the week, the official reason given for Bulgers transfer was that he completed medical treatment.

When he first killed a man, shooting him point-blank between the eyes, he picked the wrong, innocent brother of a pair of twins. His then-boss told him not to worry; the man smoked too much, and would die soon anyway. It was a lesson in callousness he did not forget. He occasionally regretted the shame he had brought on his family, but for his victims and their relatives he felt nothing. Most, as he saw it, had been informants. And if you silenced an informant, was that not good?

Bulger funeral held at South Boston church

But Bulger wasnt at a medical facility before he was shipped off to West Virginia. He had been locked up in solitary confinement after verbally threatening a nursing supervisor.

WHEN THE manhunt was on for Whitey Bulger, on the lam for 16 years and the FBIs second-most-wanted after Osama bin Laden, officers would often check bookshops. He liked books. In his shabby apartment in Santa Monica, California, where he turned up living as Charlie Gasko behind thick black curtains, he had 200 books. True, they hid the holes in the walls where he stashed guns and $800,000 in cash. But he read them, too.

Whatever the reason for his transfer, Bulger should never have been placed into a general population unit given his high-profile status and reputation as a snitch, several current and former Bureau of Prisons staffers told NBC News.

Published since September 1843 to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.

Cameron Lindsay, a retired warden at three federal facilities, called the case “a shocking failure on multiple levels.”

Bulger, who ran the largely Irish mob in Boston in the 1970′s and ’80′s and ratted on the New England Mafia, was killed Tuesday just hours after his arrival at USP Hazelton, the third killing in six months at the remote prison in West Virginia, where workers and advocates have long been warning about dangerous conditions.

“Theres absolutely no way Bulger should have been sent to Hazelton, and he sure as heck should never have been released to the compound at Hazelton,” Lindsay told NBC News earlier in the week.

A law enforcement official said Friday that one suspect is 44-year-old Paul J. DeCologero, who was part of an organized crime gang led by his uncle on Massachusetts’ North Shore called the “DeCologero Crew.” The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Tom Winter is a producer and reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit based in New York, covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast.

A federal law enforcement official has told The Associated Press that disciplinary issues prompted Bulger’s transfer from the Coleman prison in Florida, where he was serving a life sentence for participating in 11 killings. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to release details.

Private Funeral Is Held For Whitey Bulger In South Boston

Some three-quarters of a century later, James “Whitey” Bulger finally made it back, in a casket, for his funeral.

DeCologero was convicted in 2006 of racketeering and witness tampering charges for a number of crimes. Authorities say he bought heroin that was used to try to kill 19-year-old Aislin Silva, who his uncle wanted dead because he feared she “would betray the crew to police.”

Bulger, Boston’s most notorious gangster, who was serving a life sentence for 11 murders, was beaten to death by other inmates at a prison in West Virginia Oct. 30.

BOSTON (AP) — Sending Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger to a troubled federal penitentiary that housed other New England mobsters was like giving him a “death sentence,” a prison workers’ union official said Friday.

Funeral For Mobster Whitey Bulger Held In Boston

Keeping with wishes shared by the Archdiocese of Boston and Bulger’s survivors, the funeral Thursday morning was private and confined to immediate family and a few close friends, about 30 people in all, including the twin sister of Bulger’s longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, who spent 16 years on the run with him. Hank Brennan, one of Bulger’s lawyers, also attended.

There were almost as many journalists and curiosity-seekers outside on the sidewalk as there were mourners inside the pews of the old church, now officially known as St. Monica-St. Augustine Church. The Rev. James Flavin, the pastor, dispatched Bulger from this world to the next. Flavin read the Gospel of St. John about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and used his brief homily to pray that “everyone is able to feel the peaceful presence of God and his son, Jesus, in the midst of chaos and pain.”

Geas and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for their roles in several violent crimes, including the 2003 killing of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, a Genovese crime family boss in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Bulger’s brother William, the former president of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, left the church with his wife, Mary, and their sons and daughters. Bulger’s brother John left by another door.

In February, Bulger threatened an assistant supervisor at Coleman, telling her “your day of reckoning is coming,” said Rojas, who works at the prison. Bulger received 30 days in disciplinary detention, he said.

Reporters pursued Flavin down Devine Way, past a nondescript building that houses the Gavin Foundation’s recovery center, where those addicted to the kinds of drugs that Whitey Bulger once flooded his neighborhood with seek help. A woman hung out one of the windows of a nearby building and took pity on Flavin.

Jeanne Kempthorne, an attorney who represented DeCologero on his appeal, said she had no reason to believe DeCologero had any animus toward Bulger. DeCologero is supposed to be released in 2026, online records say.

In an interview after the funeral, Flavin said that he offered the Mass at the request of the Bulger family and that it was meant to bring peace to both Bulger’s family and his victims.

The other suspect, Geas (JEE’-us), was a close associate of the Mafia and acted as an enforcer, but was not an official, “made” member because he is Greek, not Italian.

“We prayed for God’s justice and mercy,” he said. “That the family has peace, that those who were hurt have peace.”

Because he had to catch a flight, another priest assigned to St. Monica’s, the Rev. Peter DeFazio, presided over brief graveside prayers at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, where Bulger was buried alongside his parents. While there was no formal procession to the funeral, about a half-dozen cars brought mourners to the graveside.

In letters sent from prison, Bulger made it clear that his final wishes were to be buried next to Greig, who took care of him all those years they spent in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., the city named after the saint for whom his childhood parish is named. She is 67 and is scheduled to be released from prison in 2020 after serving a nine-year sentence for helping him evade capture and refusing to testify against him.

Having ignored his mother’s entreaties to get back to the church that had been a focal point of the family’s religious and social life, Bulger found what he called the best years of his life with Greig in the city named after the patron saint of difficult children.

Beyond that old irony was a more current one, of Bulger’s family gathering to mourn a loved one who died at the hands of someone ultimately under the control of the federal government. In life, Bulger killed with impunity because, and sometimes with the assistance, of the FBI, for whom he was an informant. He died at the hands of fellow inmates who beat him to death after his medical status was suddenly and inexplicably changed by the US Bureau of Prisons to allow his transfer from a prison in Florida where he was safe to a prison in West Virginia teeming with organized crime figures from his native Massachusetts.

“Our family and a lot of families have had to live with that feeling a long, long time,” said Tom Donahue, whose father, Michael, a truck driver, was murdered by Bulger. Like most people, Donahue only learned of the funeral after it happened.

Greig’s sister, Margaret McCusker, said she appreciated that the family invited her to the funeral. Her sister was not allowed to leave prison in Minnesota.

“She’ll be thrilled to know I attended the Mass,” McCusker said. “He wants to be buried with my sister.”

The neighborhood in and around the Mary Ellen McCormack housing project has changed dramatically in the years since Bulger roamed its streets. Once overwhelmingly white and Irish, it is now a community of various colors, ethnicities, and cultures.

Bulger used to volunteer to carry the groceries of the old women and housewives in the project, or pull over when he saw them trudging back from the stores on Broadway, offering them a lift. But those stories, like the old women who told them, are long gone.

Not long after the Mass had ended, an elderly Asian woman using a walker made her way gingerly across Logan Way, mounting the sidewalk outside the squat brick building where Bulger lived as a boy, where he kept an ocelot named Lancelot, where his mother worried for him, and where he had a chance to do anything he chose before he chose a life of crime.

Before he left the pulpit, Flavin spoke the words of Jesus on the cross, a fitting coda to a painful chapter in the life of the city and its most notorious resident.


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