Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was led off to prison Thursday to begin serving a life sentence at 84 for crimes committed in the 1970s and 1980s, accepting his punishment in stone-faced silence.
Bulger’s sentencing brought to a close a case that exposed FBI complicity in his crimes and left a trail of devastated families whose loved ones — fathers, uncles, brothers and sisters — were killed by Bulger or his henchmen.
Bulger, the former boss of the Winter Hill Gang, Boston’s Irish mob, fled the city in 1994 after being tipped off by a former FBI agent that he was about to be indicted. He was a fugitive for more than 16 years until he was captured in California in 2011.
His disappearance became a major embarrassment for the FBI when it was learned that corrupt Boston agents had taken bribes from Bulger and protected him for years while he worked as an FBI informant, feeding information on the rival New England Mafia.