Relatives of alleged victims were angered and outraged when James ‘Whitley’ Bulger pleaded not guilty to his 19 murder counts, on Wednesday.
When the clerk asked him how he pleaded to 32 counts of racketeering, extortion, money laundering, and weapons charges, the man known as Boston’s most infamous gangster spoke softly but clearly and said “not guilty.’’
The crimes he is being accused of were supposedly committed as Whitley ran a South Boston-based criminal enterprise that started in the 1970s and continued until 1995. Bulger is charged with participating in 19 murders, more than half of them while he was working as an FBI informant.
As he spoke, family members of the alleged victims and other people involved sat in the crowd and awaited the man’s response. Family members of the victims were upset that the names of the victims were not mentioned in court as they were all listed as separate murder counts in the indictment.
“This man choked and cut up women so they couldn't identify their bodies,” said Thomas Donahue, son of an alleged Bulger victim. “They did murders in broad daylight. Actually, my father was killed 150 yards from here in broad daylight.” Donahue's father was an innocent passerby gunned down in a 1982 shooting that meant to kill a different man.
“I couldn’t miss it,’’ former US attorney Donald K. Stern said. “I wasn’t sure this day would come, but here it is, and I’m looking forward to the trial.’’