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James 'Whitey' Bulger Guilty Of 11 Killings
Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger has been found guilty of gangland crimes including 11 murders and racketeering.
The 83-year-old faces life in prison after being convicted of committing or playing a role in the killings during the 1970s and 80s while he led the city's Winter Hill Gang.
Bulger showed no reaction upon hearing the verdict, which brought to a close a case that not only transfixed the city with its violence but also exposed corruption inside the Boston FBI.
Bulger's lawyer JW Carney Jr said he intends to appeal, because the judge did not let him present an immunity defence.
Sentencing has been set for November 13.
The former mob boss was one of the nation's most wanted fugitives after fleeing Boston in 1994, and was finally captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.
He was charged primarily with racketeering, a catch-all offence that listed 33 criminal acts - among them, 19 murders that he allegedly helped orchestrate or carried out himself.
The racketeering charge also included acts of extortion, money-laundering and drug dealing.
The jury had to find he committed only two of those acts to convict him of racketeering.
The panel of eight men and four women deliberated for nearly five days before deciding Bulger took part in 11 of the 19 killings, and found him guilty on a list of other counts, including possession of machine guns.
One woman in the gallery taunted Bulger as he was being led away, apparently imitating machine-gun fire as she yelled: "Rat-a-tat-tat, Whitey!"
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said afterwards that she hoped the verdict would mark "the end of an era that was very ugly in Boston's history".
During the two-month trial, federal prosecutors portrayed Bulger as a cold-blooded, hands-on boss who killed anyone he saw as a threat, along with innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Bulger, who was the model for Jack Nicholson's underworld character in Martin Scorsese's 2006 film The Departed, was seen for years as a benevolent tough guy who bought Thanksgiving turkeys for south Boston's working-class residents and kept hard drugs out of the neighbourhood.
But that image was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.
"This is not some Robin Hood story about a guy who kept angel dust and heroin out of Southie," prosecutor Fred Wyshak told the jury in closing arguments.
Bulger's disappearance in 1994 proved a major embarrassment to the FBI when it came out at court hearings and trials that Bulger had been an informant from 1975 to 1990.
The gang leader fed the bureau information on the rival New England Mafia as well as members of his own gang while he continued to kill and intimidate.
Bulger and his gang also paid off several FBI agents and state and Boston police officers, dispensing Christmas envelopes of cash and cases of wine to get information on search warrants, wiretaps and investigations to stay one step ahead of the law.
At his trial, Bulger's lawyers detailed the corruption inside the FBI and accused prosecutors of offering absurdly generous deals to three former Bulger loyalists to testify against him.
The defence portrayed the three key witnesses - gangster Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi, hit man John Martorano and Bulger protege Kevin Weeks - as pathological liars who pinned their own crimes on Bulger so they could get reduced sentences.
But overall, the defence barely contested many of the charges against Bulger, and even conceded that he ran a criminal enterprise that raked in millions through drugs, gambling and loan-sharking.
His lawyers did, however, strongly deny he killed women, something Bulger seemingly regarded as a violation of his underworld code of honour.
They also spent a significant amount of time disputing Bulger was a "rat" - a label that seemed to set off the hotheaded gangster more than anything else, causing him to shout obscenities in the courtroom.
Bulger had hoped to argue he was given immunity for all his crimes by a now-dead federal prosecutor. But Judge Denise Casper disallowed such a defence, and Bulger did not testify.
"I feel that I've been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defence," he complained to the judge as the trial wound down.
Bulger's life story fascinated Bostonians for decades.
He grew up in a south Boston housing project and quickly became involved in crime, while his younger brother, William, rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts as state Senate president.