August 12, 2013

Key events in the life of James 'Whitey' Bulger

The Associated Press

BOSTON • Key events in the life of James 'Whitey' Bulger, who was convicted Monday by a jury that believed the mob boss took part in 11 slayings, finding him guilty of racketeering and other a slew of other crimes:

• Sept. 3, 1929: James Bulger is born to Irish immigrant parents living in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. He is the second of six children. His shock of platinum blonde hair earns him the nickname "Whitey."

• 1956: Bulger is sentenced to federal prison for bank robbery. After he's suspected of plotting an escape from one prison, he's transferred to Alcatraz to serve part of his term.

• 1960: Bulger's younger brother, William, is elected to the state House of Representatives. John Connolly, a childhood friend from South Boston, works on the campaign.

• 1965: Whitey Bulger is released from prison and comes home to "Southie." He becomes a top lieutenant to Somerville mobster Howie Winter, head of the Winter Hill Gang.

• Mid-1960s: Gangster Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi develops a relationship with Boston FBI agent H. Paul Rico. Flemmi, using the code name "Jack from South Boston" informs on members of the Providence, R.I.-based New England Mafia.

• 1969: Flemmi is indicted for the murder of a mobster, and with childhood friend "Cadillac" Frank Salemme, for a car bombing. Rico tips off Flemmi that the indictments are coming, and the two flee Boston. Flemmi spends the next 4½ years on the lam.

• 1970: William Bulger is elected to the state Senate.

• 1972: John Connolly, now an FBI agent, recognizes Salemme on the street in New York City and arrests him. Salemme is later sentenced to 15 years in prison. The arrest earns Connolly a transfer back to his hometown of Boston.

• 1974: Flemmi returns to Boston after criminal charges are dropped when several key witnesses recant. He hooks up with Winter, who counts Whitey Bulger among his key allies.

• June 1975: Edward Connors is killed by Flemmi to prevent him from telling authorities about an earlier murder by the Winter Hill Gang.

• September 1975: Acting partly on Flemmi's recommendation, Bulger cuts a deal with Connolly to provide information on the Italian Mafia in exchange for protection from the FBI, according to testimony from Flemmi. (Bulger during the trial strongly denied he was an informant.)

• 1977: Veteran agent John Morris is appointed to oversee Connolly and his underworld informants.

• 1978: William Bulger becomes president of the state Senate and goes on to serve in the post longer than anyone in its history.

• 1979: After a former business associate implicates Whitey Bulger and Flemmi in a horse race-fixing scheme, FBI agents Connolly and Morris persuade federal prosecutors to leave the two out of the indictment. Twenty-one people are charged, including Winter, whose conviction paves the way for Bulger and Flemmi to assume control of the Winter Hill Gang.

• November 1980: Bulger and Flemmi help the FBI plant a surveillance bug in the North End headquarters of Boston Mafia boss Gennaro Angiulo.

• May 1981: Roger Wheeler, the owner of World Jai Alai, a gambling enterprise from which Bulger and Flemmi have been skimming money, is shot between the eyes in the parking lot of his country club in Tulsa, Okla. The killer is Winter Hill Gang hit man John Martorano.

• Spring 1982: Bulger and Flemmi allegedly gun down a former henchman in broad daylight on a South Boston street to prevent him from telling about the Wheeler murder. Connolly files a report with the FBI saying rival gangsters made the hit.

• July 1982: Flemmi and Bulger allegedly order Martorano to kill John Callahan, the former president of World Jai Alai, to prevent him from telling investigators about the Jai Alai scheme.

(Continued on page 2)

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