South Boston residents tight lipped after gangster Whitey Bulgers death US news To some in his old neighborhood the Winter Hill gang boss was as a proud Irish-American, to others a killer and an informant To some in his old neighborhood the Winter Hill gang boss was as a proud Irish-American, to others a killer and an informant “Satan is waiting,” said Tom, a white-haired man holding a Miller Lite at a South Boston bar on Tuesday. “That’s all I’ve got to say.” He was responding to news of the death of the infamous Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, found unresponsive at a West Virginia federal prison on Tuesday morning. Bulger, 89, was killed in US Penitentiary Hazelton hours after being transferred from a prison in Florida, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. His cause of death has not been released, but is being investigated as a homicide. Two inmates are under investigation over the attack, including 51 year-old Fotios “Freddy” Geas, 51, a mafia hitman already serving a life sentence for murder, according to the Boston Globe. Bulger was the Irish-American mob boss of the Winter Hill gang from the 1970s to the 1990s. A jury found him guilty of participating in 11 of 19 murders for which he faced charges in 1995. South Boston, or Southie as it is also known, is where Bulger established operations out of a liquor store. In 1975, Bulger became an informant for John Connolly Jr, an FBI agent who was indicted in 1999 and convicted of racketeering, second-degree murder, and obstruction of justice from his relationship with Bulger and the Winter Hill gang. In 1994, Connolly told Bulger that sealed indictments from the Department of Justice had come and that the FBI was set to arrest him around Christmas. Bulger fled. He spent 16 years on the run as one of the 10 most wanted men in America, with a $2m reward on his head. Bulger was captured in June 2011 living with his girlfriend Catherine Greig in a Santa Monica, California, apartment along with over $800,000 in cash and 30 firearms. His 2013 trial in federal court ended with a sentence of two terms of life imprisonment for 11 murders, including the killing of Michael Donahue, who prosecutors said had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Bulger called his trial “a sham”, and wrote letters to friends and family professing his innocence. On Monday, Donahue’s widow, Patricia, told a local news station that she would like to “open up a champagne bottle and celebrate” Bulger’s death. “I think that there’s one less scumbag on this earth,” she told WBZ-TV. “That’s how I feel.” But in Southie, there were mixed feelings over the gangster’s death. Bartender Kim Lynch said she was surprised to hear Bulger had died. “We thought he had been confined and that he couldn’t go out into the general prison population.” Lynch said. “A lot of people are sad, but a lot of people, like the victims, will be really happy.” On the other side of the bar, 28-year-Southie resident Mike Fagan said, “It’s terrible to kill an 89-year-old man. No matter what he did.” The aesthetic of the neighborhood may be changing, with high rents and hipster coffee shops, but the tenor has not. Questions about Bulger and his time in the neighborhood were largely met with tight-lipped silence, with many residents refusing to give interviews or be named fully. One man told the Guardian: “Whitey never forgot his Irish roots. He supported the struggle for the Irish faith against the British.” He added, “I’m not gonna give you my name, but here’s a tip. Look up ‘Valhalla’.” The man was of course referencing Bulger’s attempted weapons shipments to the Irish Republican Army in the 1980s. “It’s definitely a strange day,” said John Shea. Shea, 53, is a former associate of Bulger’s who was involved in his narcotics operations. He was indicted on cocaine trafficking charges in 1990 and served 12 years in prison. There is no doubt in his mind that Bulger was murdered. “I predicted that if he was put in population anywhere, they’re not gonna put up with a guy who is an informant.” Bulger had been kept separate from the general prison population until this week throughout his incarceration. Shea met Bulger when he was only 15. “He was like a father figure to me. I worked with him for a few years.” He said that he tried to not have harsh feelings about Bulger, but that it was “a good day, and a sad day”. Shea never accepted a plea deal to testify against his associates. “We were taught to accept our lumps and mumps. It’s a tight-knit neighborhood. You don’t rat.” Shea wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Rat Bastards; The Story of South Boston’s Most Honorable Irish Mobster, about his experience in the Winter Hill gang. Shea said he believes either mob connections or another inmate who “wants to be considered a legend and make a name for themselves”, committed the murder. The US attorney’s office for the north district of West Virginia and the FBI will conduct an investigation into Bulger’s death, according to US attorney William J Powell’s office.

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