• The infamous American gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was murdered in a West Virginia jail at the age of 89.
  • Bulger was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003 after a 16-year escape.
  • He became famous and notorious as the "godfather of Boston," who over decades controlled crime in the city – from drug trafficking to murder.
  • The judiciary "Whitey" remained largely unmolested by betraying competitors to the FBI and went out so even impunity.

From Johanna Bruckner, New York

The first time he kills someone, James Bulger accidentally catches the wrong man. Actually, he is said to be because of his white-blond hair of all only "Whitey", remove a competitor of the Killeen brothers out of the way. The Irish Gang controls the south of Boston in the late 1960s. Bulger sets as Enforcer the interests of the gang through, if necessary by force.

Now he is to commit his first contract murder. Bulger stops his car next to the car of a man he considers a rival gangster boss, and shoots him through the side window in the head. The man is dead immediately, except that it is not Paul McGonagle, leader of the warring Mullens gang. But around his younger brother Donny – in contrast to the older McGonagle a blameless citizen of Boston.

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For Bulger a "disaster". He is not troubled by the bad conscience. He laments that he failed. His confusion does not detract from his criminal career. When it comes decades later to the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, he is charged with 19 counts of murder – eleven murders can be proven to him. The fact that he is convicted in 2013 is similar to a sensation: Bulger had evaded the authorities for 16 years and lived in California under false identity. On the "Most Wanted" list of the United States, he was temporarily led together with a certain Osama Bin Laden.

This Tuesday, the life of one of America's most notorious gangsters has come to an end that is as violent as the life he has spent over long distances: James Bulger was killed in a West Virginia jail by a fellow inmate. He served a double life sentence and was 89 years old.

A vita that reads like a movie script

A Hollywood director would probably have thought no more suitable death for the elderly professional criminals. And indeed, the life of the "Godfather of Boston" was inspiration for several films. In 2006 Jack Nicholson starred in the Oscar-winning film "The Departed" a gangster, who was based on James "Whitey" Bulger. In "Black Mass" from 2015, he was portrayed by Johnny Depp. The creators did not have to think of much – Bulger's Vita reads like a film script without any action.

James Joseph Bulger was born on September 3, 1929 in Everett, north of Boston, the son of Irish immigrants. His father had fallen as a teenager under a train and had lost an arm. Because of this disability, he finds it difficult to work, the family lives in poverty. When she moves into a social housing project in South Boston, James is eight years old and barely restrained for his mother and nuns at school. When he's tired, he just walks out of the classroom.

At the age of 14 James finally puts the school down – at about the same time he is picked up by the police for the first time. Five more arrests still follow as a teenager, James is never convicted. His father regularly beat him with the one arm he still has – out of sheer frustration over his bad son. At least that's what he tells later in prison.

Whistling and smearing, so comes "Whitey" for decades

Soon, violations of rules become real, serious crimes. In 1955 Bulger robbed three banks in Boston with other gangsters. The following year he was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison – even though he betrayed two of his accomplices to the authorities. This is the first time that Bulger has appeared in official files as an informant. Later, he will evade in this way again and again the prosecution. Whistling and smearing, so comes "Whitey" for decades. With his self-image as a gentleman gangster, who is criminal but morally integrity, has little to do. In the 2013 trial, the notorious gangster only gets upset once when a former companion calls him a "rat".

During his first stay in prison, Whitey is persuaded to join in a small reduction in his term in an LSD trial. He is told that it is about finding a cure for schizophrenia. In fact, during the Cold War, the CIA hopes to gain an advantage over the class enemy with mind-control experiments. Bulger suffers from sleep disturbances throughout his life.



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