Doctors examine ‘Whitey’ Bulger for heart problems
Accused mob boss James ‘Whitey’ Bulger is back behind bars at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, after being hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat.
The Boston Globe reports that the 83-year-old, who is scheduled to go on trial in June for his alleged role in 19 murders, was briefly treated at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth on Feb. 12. It’s at least the third time since being arrested in 2011 that Bulger has been examined for chest pains or heart problems.
In a letter to a friend last week, Bulger said doctors restricted his activity: “Exercise is over for me.”Bulger went on to tell Richard Sunday that he is only allowed out of his cell for an hour a day, giving him “lots of time to think.”
“So far I’ve had a year and a half and a lifetime to go,” the letter reads. “This is the end of the trail for me.”
Sunday told the Globe that he blames federal authorities for causing Bulger’s ill health.
“I think what they’re doing to him is going to eventually kill him; that’s my worry,” Sunday said in a telephone interview with the Globe. “And that might be what they want; who knows? . . . I don’t think they are dealing fairly or humanely with him and that’s my concern.”
Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, said his client is being treated well in jail.
“Sheriff [Joseph] McDonald and Superintendent [Brian] Gillen have been very professional in the pretrial detention of my client, an inmate in his 80s who presents particular issues, and they have been responsive to them,” Carney told the Globe Wednesday. “I am confident at this time that my client will be mentally and physically ready to begin trial on June 6.”
The families of Bulger’s alleged victims are anxious to have their day in court.
“There’s nothing you can do about his health; he’s old,” Tom Donahue told the Globe. His father, Michael, was allegedly shot to death by Bulger in 1982. “If he’s going to die before we go to trial, well, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Bulger, the former leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang, was captured in June 2011 after 16 years on the run. He had been living under an alias in Santa Monica, Calif. with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig. She pleaded guilty to harboring a fugitive and is appealing an eight-year federal prison sentence.
Bulger’s defense has focused on claims that a former federal prosecutor granted Bulger immunity from prosecution, in exchange for working as an FBI informant. However, Carney told a judge last week that Bulger never gave information to the FBI. Federal prosecutors deny that any immunity deal was made.
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