'Whitey' Bulger in Court: 'Sickening' Sight for Victims' Families

Fugitive leader of Boston's Irish mob appears in federal court after arrest.

ByABC News
June 25, 2011, 11:44 AM

June 25, 2011— -- The sight of alleged mobster James "Whitey" Bulger finally in a Boston courtroom after years on the run, brought a mixture of revulsion and satisfaction to Tom Donohue, whose father was murdered by the Irish mob.

"It was a sickening feeling in my stomach, you know, seeing the guy that murdered my father," Donohue said outside the courthouse. Donohue, who was 8 years old when his father was murdered, said he hopes the arrest will bring him and his family long-awaited closure.

He said hearing the Bulger had been caught was, at least in part, "a good feeling," that he hadn't had in a long time.

"They got him," he said. "They finally got him."

Bulger, who was captured Wednesday at his Santa Monica, Calif., hideout, made his first appearance Friday at a federal courtroom in Boston, the city where his violence and his long run from the law have made him a legend.

The inspiration for the Jack Nicholson character in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," Bulger -- now gray haired, but still fit -- showed no emotion in his court appearance.

Bulger, 81, answered "yes, sir" several times to the judge's questions.

When asked if he could afford a lawyer, Bulger replied, "Not after you taking my money."

Authorities said he was referring to the $800,000 in cash that was found in the walls of his California apartment, money federal prosecutors say Bulger should not be given access to.

"He clearly didn't make that on a paper route on Santa Monica Boulevard," prosecutor Brian Kelly said.

Bulger, who faces a long list of charges including 19 murder counts, was ordered held without bail as the case continues at Boston's federal courthouse. Cases against Bulger are also being pursued in Florida and Oklahoma, states -- unlike Massachusetts -- where he could face the death penalty.

Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, were arrested Wednesday after an anonymous tip brought authorities to their Santa Monica apartment.

Authorities have not released the identity of the tipster, but according to the Boston Globe, it was a woman who lives outside the country and had crossed paths with Bulger and Greig before. She saw a news story about the ad and immediately called the FBI, the Globe reported.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that it didn't surprise them that Bulger was hiding in plain sight.

"Sometimes, it's very simple to deceive when you make yourself to be a very average looking, average couple together and you just kind of, sort of blend in with the community -- and I think they were able to do that, especially as a couple, and so it was very difficult," U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz said.

FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers denied rumors that the FBI knew where Bulger was living before the launch of the publicity campaign.

"Any claim that the FBI knew Mr. Bulger's whereabouts prior to the FBI's publicity efforts this week are completely unfounded," DesLauriers said in a written statement. "When we learned his location, he was arrested promptly."

Bulger and Greig had been living under the false names Charles and Carol Gasko, officials said, and appeared to have lived in the Santa Monica home for some time. Two property managers at the Santa Monica property told The Associated Press the fugitive pair, using the Gasko name, moved there in 1996.

One neighbor described Greig as a nice person.

Before fleeing Boston, Bulger was an FBI informant, spilling the dirt against his rivals, and questions have been raised about whether he will again turn informant on his accomplices or even the FBI agents who had protected him.