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Mobster Bulger's victims' families speak of the grief at sentencing hearing
A courtroom artist's sketch shows convicted mobster James "Whitey" Bulger in federal court during the first of two days of his sentencing hearing in Boston on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Jane Collins)
On Wednesday, the children and spouses of some of Bulger's victims described in the courtroom the toll that his crimes took on their lives.
"In 1975, you called and said, 'Your father is not coming home for Christmas.' When asked who this is, you stated, 'Santa Claus,'" McGonagle said. "Today I hope we find some semblance of peace and closure."
BULGER CLAIMS TRIAL A SHAM
Bulger sat quietly in court throughout the proceedings and avoided looking at the people who testified. The judge heard testimony from survivors of both the 11 people he was convicted of murdering, as well as family members of eight other killings that Bulger was charged but not found guilty.
Bulger's attorneys said their client, who got the nickname "Whitey" for the shock of brightly colored hair he had as a youth, regarded his trial as a "sham" and had instructed them not to participate actively in the sentencing proceedings.
Bulger's trial was raw, broken by outbursts in which former gangmates-turned-prosecution witnesses swore at the man who lived on the lam for 16 years, many of them on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list.
In 1994, on a tip that arrest was imminent, he fled the city. Agents caught up with him in June 2011, living in a Santa Monica, California, apartment with his girlfriend, a cache of weapons and $800,000 in cash.
She stopped short, however, of calling Bulger innocent. (Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Daniel Trotta, Maureen Bavdek, Colleen Jenkins and Diane Craft)
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