Key events in the life of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger

Nov 14, 2013, 6:28 PM

BOSTON (AP) – Key events in the life of James “Whitey” Bulger, the mob boss who was sentenced Thursday for taking part in 11 slayings, racketeering and other a slew of other crimes:

_ Sept. 3, 1929: James Bulger is born the second of six children to Irish immigrant parents in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. His platinum hair earns him the nickname “Whitey.”

_ 1956: Bulger is sentenced to federal prison for bank robbery and is transferred to Alcatraz after suspecting of plotting an escape.

_ 1960: Bulger’s younger brother, William, is elected to the state House of Representatives with campaign help from John Connolly, a childhood friend.

_ 1965: Whitey Bulger is released from prison and becomes a top lieutenant to the Howie Winter, head of the Winter Hill Gang.

_ Mid-1960s: Gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi develops a relationship with a Boston FBI agent and informs on members of the Providence, R.I.-based New England Mafia.

_ 1969: Flemmi is indicted in the murder of a mobster, and with childhood friend “Cadillac” Frank Salemme, for a car bombing. The two flee Boston after a tip from the agent.

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

_ 1972: Connolly, now an FBI agent, recognizes Salemme on the street in New York City and arrests him, earning Connolly a transfer back to Boston.

_ 1974: Flemmi returns to Boston after several key witnesses recant.

_ June 1975: Flemmi kills Edward Connors to prevent him from telling authorities about a murder by the Winter Hill Gang.

_ September 1975: 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 being an informant.)

_ 1977: 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: A former 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 outside his country club in Tulsa, Okla., by Winter Hill hit man John Martorano.

_ Spring 1982: Bulger and Flemmi allegedly gun down a former henchman in broad daylight in Boston to prevent him from talking about the Wheeler murder. Connolly tells the FBI 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.

_ December 1994: Bulger disappears just before his indictment on racketeering charges. Indictment comes down the next month.

_ 1997: The FBI, under court order, acknowledges Bulger and Flemmi were “top echelon” informants as a federal probe into corrupt ties to mob informants begins.

_ May 2002: Connolly is convicted of racketeering for warning Bulger, Salemme and Flemmi they were about to be indicted.

_ June 2003: William Bulger testifies before a congressional committee investigating the FBI’s ties to mobster informants such as his brother. After receiving immunity, he acknowledges receiving a call from Whitey Bulger shortly after he fled but says he has not heard from him since and has no idea where he is.

_ August 2003: William Bulger resigns as president of the University of Massachusetts system amid growing pressure.

_ 2005: Federal and state law enforcement officials investigate leads and Whitey Bulger lookalikes in at least 19 countries.

_ 2006: Authorities release 26-year-old surveillance video of Bulger in the hope that someone will recognize his mannerisms.

_ 2007: FBI releases video of a couple resembling Bulger and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in Italy.

_ 2008: Connolly is convicted of second-degree murder in the hit on Callahan as prosecutors argue the information he provided the mobsters was critical.

_ 2010: FBI appeals to plastic surgeons in the effort to locate Bulger and Greig.

_ June 20, 2011: FBI announces an effort to target Greig in the hopes of reaching Bulger.

_ June 22, 2011: Bulger is arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., with Greig.

_ March 14, 2012: Greig pleads guilty to helping Bulger evade capture during 16 years on the run.

_ June 12, 2012: Greig is sentenced to eight years in prison. Her attorney says she still loves Bulger and doesn’t regret helping him stay on the run.

_ Nov. 4, 2012: Bulger is taken from jail to a hospital where he is treated after complaining of chest pains, then back to jail.

_ March 4, 2013: A judge rules that Bulger can’t present evidence at his trial about his claim that a now-deceased federal prosecutor gave him immunity for future crimes, including murder.

_ June 12, 2013: Opening statements in Bulger’s trial begin.

_ Aug. 12, 2013: Bulger is convicted of racketeering and other crimes, including extortion, conspiracy, money-laundering and drug dealing. The jury believed he took part in 11 of 19 killings. Sentencing is set for Nov. 13.

_ Nov. 14, 2013: Bulger is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus five years.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Key events in the life of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger