• Bulger sentencing begins Wednesday


    Follow @bward3 @sharmantv and @fox25court on Twitter for live courtroom updates from James "Whitey" Bulger's sentencing.

    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – The final chapter in the story of James "Whitey" Bulger was unfolding in court Wednesday morning.

    The 84-year-old South Boston's sentencing hearing began Wednesday. Bulger's lawyer Hank Brennan said Bulger still feels the trial is a "sham," something he said during the trial when refusing to testify, and therefore he won't speak in the pre-trial sentencing process.

    Judge Denise Casper announced that all victims' families, including those like Debra Davis whose cases weren't found proven, would have a chance to speak if they wanted.

    Prosecutors have asked for two consecutive life prison terms, plus five years, for a string of murders and extortions he was convicted of committing.

    "Bulger is one of the most violent and despicable criminals in Boston history. Having now been convicted of 31 felonies ... Bulger richly deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.

    Among other issues Judge Casper will take up is restitution for the families of 19 people killed by the Winter Hill Gang, though Bulger was only proved to have been involved with 11 of the killings.

    During his two-month trial, prosecutors portrayed Bulger as a ruthless, hands-on crime boss who planned or ordered some of the murders and committed others himself.

    "Whitey Bulger's decades-long crime spree is now over," prosecutors wrote.

    "Presiding over a massive criminal enterprise, Bulger extorted dozens of individuals, flooded South Boston with cocaine, shot innocent people, strangled women, murdered his competitors, corrupted FBI agents, and then ran away and hid for 16 years when he was finally indicted," they wrote. "While many of the victims will speak for themselves and their loved ones at the time of sentencing, the actual sentence should speak for itself: life in prison."

    Bulger's "horrific crimes and sadistic behavior ... demonstrate that he deserves no mercy at the time of sentencing," prosecutors wrote.

    During the trial, Bulger's lawyers strongly denied a claim by prosecutors and Bulger's former partner that he was a longtime FBI informant who ratted on the Italian Mafia and other crime groups.

    Bulger did not testify. In response to questions from the judge, he called the trial a "sham" and said he decided not to testify because the judge had prohibited him from presenting a defense using his claim that he had received immunity for his crimes decades ago from a now-deceased federal prosecutor.

    Follow @bward3 @sharmantv and @fox25court on Twitter for live courtroom updates from James "Whitey" Bulger's sentencing.

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