Notorious Boston gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger showed little emotion yesterday when the 83-year-old was convicted in federal court of 11 killings and other gangland crimes.
“He lost on most major offenses he was charged with,” said Michael Coyne, associate dean of the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover who observed Bulger’s trial for the last two months. Coyne had predicted Bulger would spend the rest of his life in jail.
Coyne and other attorneys praised jurors who spent 32 1/2 hours deliberating 33 counts of murder, racketeering, extortion, money laundering and drug dealing charges. Coyne said jurors were given a 7-page form they had to complete, deliberating on each and every count for the past week.
“They went through it carefully. They took their job seriously ... The jury system here worked effectively,” said Coyne, a Dorchester native who now lives in North Andover.
Coyne provided ongoing commentary for New England Cable News and other media throughout Bulger’s trial.
“The bulk of the charges the government was successful in proving. With such a sweeping indictment there’s much more proof on some of the charges and a lack of proof on others,” he said.
Bulger was primarily charged with racketeering, a catchall offense that included 19 murders he allegedly helped orchestrate or carry out himself during the 1970s and ‘80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston’s ruthless Irish mob.
After 4 1/2 days of deliberations, jurors found he took part in 11 of those murders, along with nearly all of the other crimes.
Local attorney Neil Faigel, who defends many clients in federal court, praised jurors who listened to and then deliberated upon “so much evidence that spanned so much time ... They lived with the case for so long. They knew all the facts.”
“They had to look at each and every act individually,” said Faigel, noting crimes committed spanned decades and the trial included testimony from 71 witnesses.