BOSTON (AP) – Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was moved to a federal prison in Oklahoma on Monday, although a prosecutor there said officials haven’t yet decided whether to try him for a 1981 murder in Tulsa.
It appeared to be a coincidence that the 84-year-old gangster was taken from Brooklyn, N.Y., to FTC Oklahoma City, a transfer point that houses inmates as they are moved between prisons. Chris Burke, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons, would not say where Bulger is ultimately headed, citing Bureau of Prisons policy.
Tulsa County First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said Tuesday his office did not know Bulger was being transferred to Oklahoma City, and referred inquiries to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
“If he is in Oklahoma, we had no knowledge of that,” Drummond said in an email to The Associated Press. “I think BOP would be the agency to address that. No connection as far as I am aware.”
Drummond said prosecutors are still discussing whether to move forward with a murder case against Bulger in the 1981 killing of businessman Roger Wheeler.
Wheeler, the owner of World Jai Alai, suspected Bulger’s group of skimming money from the business, and he was shot between the eyes at a Tulsa country club. Ex-hit man John Martorano testified at Bulger’s trial that he was the shooter.
Last month, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris told the Tulsa World that prosecutors would take into consideration Bulger’s federal sentence as they decide whether to try him.
Wheeler’s daughter, Pam, has said she didn’t want Bulger extradited to Tulsa, saying it would be a waste of taxpayer money.
“It took this long to come to a partial resolution. Just let it end there,” she told the Tulsa World in August.
Federal prosecutors in Boston, Bulger’s attorneys and Wheeler’s son and his attorney did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Spokesmen for the U.S. Marshals Service in Oklahoma City and Tulsa said they had no information on why Bulger was transferred.
Bulger was moved out of Massachusetts in November.
A federal judge in Boston last week ordered Bulger to pay $6 million in restitution to Wheeler’s family. The mobster previously was ordered to pay $19.5 million in restitution to his other victims’ families and forfeit $25 million to the government.
Investigators found $822,000 in cash stashed in his apartment walls when he was caught in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)