August 13, 2013

Okla. prosecutor undecided on trying Bulger

The convicted mobster faces first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges in the 1981 shooting death of a Tulsa businessman.

The Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has not decided whether to bring convicted Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger to Oklahoma to stand trial for murder in the 1981 shooting death of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler.

Wheeler's daughter said she hopes Harris opts not to bring Bulger to the state.

Bulger was convicted Monday in federal court in Boston of taking part in 11 murders, including that of Tulsa businessman Roger Wheeler, who was shot between the eyes as he sat in his car outside a Southern Hills Country Club following a round of golf.

Bulger was charged in 2001 with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for Wheeler's death.

Pam Wheeler, Wheeler's daughter, who testified during Bulger's trial, told the Tulsa World that she didn't closely follow the proceedings and hopes Tulsa County "doesn't spend a dime" bringing Bulger to Oklahoma.

"He's an old man. He's going to die in prison at the U.S. taxpayers' expense. Let him die there. Don't spend any taxpayer money to bring him here," Pam Wheeler said. "It took this long to come to a partial resolution. Just let it end there."

Harris said Monday that he can't discuss the criminal charges and will decide later whether to bring Bulger to Tulsa.

Retired Tulsa homicide detective Mike Huff, who investigated Roger Wheeler's slaying and spent about 30 years searching for Bulger, said he would like to see Bulger brought to the state.

"I know it's a complicated decision, but the people of Tulsa who have had to endure this would like to see that happen," he said.

Huff said he was listed as a possible defense witness during Bulger's trial but was not called.

He said Bulger's conviction was bittersweet.

"I wanted to be there to witness the old man and his displeasure," Huff said. "I would certainly like to see him sleep on a hard steel bunk for the rest of his life. He made a mockery of the system for decades. He's absolutely one of the most evil, most degenerate people there is."

Investigators say Wheeler was killed because he had come to suspect that Bulger's gang was skimming profits from World Jai Alai, which Wheeler owned.

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