The families of 19 homicide victims want to be heard on the upcoming sentencing of James “Whitey” Bulger, despite a jury’s finding that the government proved the gangster participated in only 11 of those slayings, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly said that relatives of the 19 people Bulger was accused of killing in the 1970s and 1980s want to file victim impact statements and that at least 14 of them want to speak at Bulger’s sentencing hearing, slated for Nov. 13 and 14.
One of Bulger’s lawyers, J.W. Carney Jr., told the judge that the defense has not decided whether it will oppose the request. But after Tuesday’s hearing, he conceded that the judge has the authority to let them speak.
“Federal law permits family members of alleged victims to speak at sentencing, even if the government was unable to prove that the defendant was responsible for their loved ones’ death,” Carney told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Boston.
US District Judge Denise J. Casper gave the defense until Oct. 30 to notify the court about its position on victim impact statements.
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