BOSTON Aug. 12, 2013 -- Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was convicted today of 11 murders today, and lawyers for the one time crime overlord said he was "pleased" by the verdict.
Bulger, 83, was charged with 32 counts that included 19 murders, but the jury found that the federal prosecutors had not proven that Bulger killed or ordered the killings of eight of the people.
In addition to the 11 murders, Bulger was convicted of racketeering, narcotics and money laundering.
Bulger had no reaction as the court clerk slowly read off either guilty or not proved on the predicate acts listed in the 32 count racketeering indictment that charged him with decades of bloodletting in Boston during the 1970s and 1980s.
Following the verdict, Bulger's defense lawyer Jay Carney was "pleased by the outcome. It was important to him that the government corruption be exposed."
Carney said that Bulger "knew as soon as he was arrested that he would die (in prison) or on a guerney" with a lethal injection as a condemned killer.
Nevertheless, he said Bulger would appeal his verdict.
Bulger rose to power in the 1970s and 1980s with the help of corrupt FBI agents in Boston. Much of the testimony against Bulger came from admitted hitmen, bookies and other underworld figures. Carney said the testimony was the result of "obscene deals made with certain witnesses."
From the start of the trial in June, his defense attorneys argued that Bulger did not kill two women who were among the 19 victims, Debbie Davis and Deborah Hussey. The jury ruled that the Davis murder was not proven, but he was convicted of killing Hussey. Bulger was found innocent of seven other murders or murder conspiracies by the jury.
Bulger will be sentenced in November, said U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper. Prosecutors argued he should be sentenced sooner.
"There are no sentencing guidelines needed here. He will be in for life,'' said federal prosecutor Brian Kelly.
Patricia Donahue, whose husband Michael Donahue was an innocent bystander when he and target of Bulger's were gunned down, cried at the verdict. She and her three sons, who also wiped away tears, were at the trial every day.
Debbie Davis' brother Steve, who also attended court every day, was disappointed Bulger was convicted of killing her. Testimony described Bulger strangling Davis.
"It is what it is," Steve Davis said, adding that he still believes Bulger killed his sister.
With the verdict – which took jurors five days of deliberation to reach - prosecutors proved that with the help of crooked FBI agents Bulger ran a sprawling underworld empire that encompassed the bulk of the Boston rackets.
He was originally indicted in 1994, but fled prosecution after he was tipped to his pending arrest his corrupt FBI handler John Connolly.
Bulger was captured in Santa Monica in June 2011 where he and his longtime companion Catherine Greig were living under the assumed identities of Charlie and Carol Gasko.
Federal investigators were led by Bulger to a stash of 30 weapons and $822,000 in cash by the accused mobster after his arrest, according to testimony from an arresting FBI agent.
Jurors heard from 63 government witnesses – including serial killers like Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi and hitman John Martorano – that came during the five week trial.
There was also testimony from more than a dozen underworld figures, some of whom arrived at court in wheelchairs and in oxygen masks to describe being victimized by Bulger. Several of the witnesses traded curses with Bulger during the trial. At other times he smirked or laughed as witnesses recalled being threatened with death by Bulger.
During the trial, Bulger's defense team seemed more intent on denying claims that Bulger was an informant for the FBI than he was in proving his innocence. At their opening statement, Bulger's lawyers said that he made "millions and millions" from his organized crime activities, but was not a rat.
After the trial today, Carney called the claim that Bulger was an informant "a myth."
In the last days of the trial Bulger refused to take the stand and called the proceedings a "sham."