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Former Santa Monica Resident "Whitey" Bulger Found Dead in Prison Cell


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October 30, 2018 -- James J. “Whitey” Bulger Jr., a ruthless Boston mob boss who lived in hiding in a Santa Monica rent control apartment for nearly 16 years, was found dead in his prison cell on Tuesday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was 89.

Bulger, who may have been the victim of homicide, was found unresponsive in his cell at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia the day after he was moved to the high-security prison, authorities said.

Bulger was serving two consecutive life sentences for 11 murders and other crimes committed while he was head of Boston's Irish mob.

From 1996 until his arrest in 2011, Bulger lived with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, on the third floor of the Princess Eugenia apartments at 1012 Third Street where they paid $1,145 in rent.

Whitey Bulger young Whitey Bulger

The two lived under the assumed names Charlie and Carol Gasko in the quiet, well-heeled neighborhood where they were considered model tenants by neighbors and building staff ("Whitey Bulger Lived in Santa Monica 15 Years, Reports Say," June 24, 2011).

They would often stroll down the Third Street Promenade or head to the weekly Farmers Market in Downtown Santa Monica. Bulger, who had a keen interest in history, liked to frequent libraries, authorities said.

On Tuesday, Enrique Sanchez, the maintenance supervisor at the Princess Eugenia, told the Boston Globe that he had received letters from Bulger, who feared for his life in prison.

“‘I have to defend myself or they’ll kill me,’” Sanchez said Bulger wrote him. “I told him to take care of himself because there is not a lack of people who want to kill you.”

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Bulger was arrested in June 2011 outside the apartment building by FBI agents after a renewed publicity effort turned up a tip on Greig.

When the agents insisted he get on his knees, the former mobster swore at the officers and, because he was wearing white pants, refused.

Greig was arrested inside the apartment a short while later, where a substantial cache of guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash were found, the FBI said.

In August 2013, Bulger was convicted of 11 murders and of extortion and racketeering schemes that allegedly brought in more than $25 million ("Jury Finds Mobster James “Whitey” Bulger Guilty of Murder, Drug Dealing," August 13, 2013).

During the two-month trial, prosecutors portrayed Bulger, who spent 16 years on the FBI's list of 10 most wanted fugitives, as a ruthless crime boss responsible for murdering rival gangsters and innocents, undermining an image of the gangster as a protector of working-class South Boston.

Grieg was sentenced to nine years for her role in helping Bulger evade law enforcement during the couple's 16 years on the run.


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