Why was Whitey Bulger murdered

The first time he kills someone, James Bulger accidentally catches the wrong man. Actually he is supposed to get rid of a competitor of the Killeen brothers, who is only called "Whitey" because of his blond hair. The Irish gang controlled southern Boston in the late 1960s. Bulger sets as Enforcer the interests of the gang through, if necessary with force.

Now he is supposed to commit his first contract murder. So Bulger stops his car next to the car of a man he believes is a rival gang boss and shoots him in the head through the side window. The man is dead instantly. Except that it is not Paul McGonagle, leader of the warring Mullens gang. But about his younger brother Donny - in contrast to the older McGonagle, an innocent citizen of Boston.

A "disaster" for Bulger. He doesn't have a bad conscience. He worries that he failed. However, the mix-up does not detract from his criminal career. When James "Whitey" Bulger was tried decades later, he was charged with 19 murders - eleven murders can be proven. The fact that he was even convicted in 2013 is a sensation: Bulger had evaded the authorities for 16 years and lived in California under a false identity. At times he was on the FBI's "Most Wanted" list together with a certain Osama bin Laden.

This Tuesday, one of America's most notorious gangsters has come to an end that is as violent as the life he led over long distances: James Bulger was killed by a fellow inmate in a West Virginia prison. He was serving double life imprisonment there and was 89 years old.

A vita that reads like a film script

A Hollywood director couldn't have thought of a more fitting death for the aged professional criminal. Indeed, the life of the "Godfather of Boston" was the inspiration for several films. In 2006, Jack Nicholson played a gangster in the Oscar-winning film "The Departed" who was based on James "Whitey" Bulger. He was portrayed by Johnny Depp in "Black Mass" from 2015. The respective makers did not have to think much up - Bulger's vita reads like a film script without having to do anything.

James Joseph Bulger was born on September 3, 1929 in Everett, north of Boston, to Irish immigrants. His father was caught in a train in an accident and lost an arm. Because of this handicap, he finds work difficult and the family lives in poverty. When she moves to a social housing project in South Boston, James is eight years old and can hardly be tamed for his mother and the nuns at school. When he's tired, he just walks out of the classroom.

At 14, James finally gave up school - around the same time he was picked up by the police for the first time. James was never convicted of five more arrests while still a teenager. His father regularly beats him with the one arm he still has - out of sheer frustration with his failed son. At least that's what he said later in prison.

Whistle and smear, that's how "Whitey" gets through for decades

Violations of the rules will soon turn into real, serious crimes. In 1955, Bulger and other gangsters rob three banks in Boston. The following year he was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison - even though he betrayed two of his accomplices to the authorities. It is the first time that Bulger has appeared as an informant in official files. Later he will repeatedly evade prosecution in this way. Whistle and smear, that's how "Whitey" gets through for decades. It has little to do with his self-image as a gentleman gangster, who is criminal but morally upright. In the 2013 trial, the notorious gangster was only heard once: when a former companion called him a "rat".

During his first imprisonment, "Whitey" is persuaded to participate in an LSD study for a small reduction in his sentence. He is told the task is to find a cure for schizophrenia. In fact, during the Cold War, the CIA hopes to gain an advantage over the class enemy with mind control experiments. As a result, Bulger suffered from insomnia throughout his life.