The Back Story: Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy on Whitey Bulger
Dina Rudick talks with Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy on their recent biography of Whitey Bulger. By Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
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It is a portrait of the gangster as a grumpy old man, hunkered down in a Santa Monica flat with his girlfriend. Neighbors liked them, but no one got close — or, rather, almost no one. And that was their undoing.
Anna Bjornsdottir called the FBI from her native Iceland on June 21, to report that the fugitive gangster and his girlfriend could be found in California, 4,300 miles away.
FBI agents and Los Angeles police arrested the infamous Boston crime boss and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, without incident at a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment building near the beach, ending a 16-year international manhunt.
Based on exclusive access and previously undisclosed documents, award-winning Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy follow James "Whitey" Bulger's criminal career, from teenage thievery, to bank robberies, to the building of his underworld empire, and to becoming an informant for the FBI.
Murphy has covered Whitey Bulger and organized crime in Boston since 1985, beginning at the Boston Herald and moving to the Globe in 1993. She has won a George Polk Award for National Reporting.
Cullen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has written for the Boston Globe since 1985, was the first to raise questions about Whitey Bulger’s relationship with the FBI. He has also won the Goldsmith Prize, the George Polk Award, and the Selden Ring Award.
A Florida jury convicted retired agent John J. Connolly Jr. of second-degree murder for plotting with informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi to kill a potential witness against them 26 years ago.
John Martorano become a free man after killing 20 people and serving 12 years and two months in an undisclosed federal prison out of state.
Lining up Whitey Bulger as an informant was surely a coup in the FBI’s crusade against the local Mafia. But the arrangement would veer wildly off track.
Once-secret FBI documents, interviews with sources inside and outside law enforcement, and recent court testimony show Whitey Bulger deserves little credit for the fall of the Angiulo Mafia family.
The case against against Whitey Bulger marks a sea change in local law enforcement, an unprecedented coalition that has done much to overcome the ill will arising from Bulger’s role as an informant.
Bill Bulger’s unusual background of scholarship and mean streets has produced a paradoxical politician who defies the ready labels of his trade.
As the 1970s progressed, the approaching maelstrom of court-ordered school busing would test them both Whitey and Billy Bulger.