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"Whitey" Bulger Update: "Day of reckoning" for mob boss has been a "long time coming," U.S. attorney says

Courtroom sketches from the sentencing of Boston mob leader James "Whitey" Bulger on Aug. 12, 2013. Christine Cornell

Courtroom sketches of Boston mob leader James "Whitey" Bulger on Aug. 12, 2013, as a jury finds him guilty of racketeering charges including 19 killings.
Christine Cornell

(CBS) BOSTON -The "day of reckoning" for mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was a "long time in coming," a U.S. attorney said outside a Boston courthouse Monday.

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Bulger, who prosecutors said led one of Boston's most notorious crime gangs, was found guilty Monday in a string of 11 killings in the 1970s and 1980s following a racketeering trial that spanned more than seven weeks. He was also found guilty of extortion, money laundering, narcotics distribution conspiracy, and illegal firearms charges.

He had been charged in 19 killings in a broad racketeering indictment. The jury deliberations spanned 32 and a half hours before the verdict was read in court Monday.

(VIDEO: Prosecutors speak after Bulger conviction)

"Today is a day many in this city thought would never come," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. "James J. 'Whitey' Bulger now stands convicted for his role in the murderous Winter Hill Gang."

Ortiz said she hoped Bulger's conviction would mark "the end of an era that was very ugly in Boston's history."

Bulger fled Boston in 1994 after being tipped off by a retired FBI agent about his indictment and was one of the FBI's most-wanted fugitives until he was captured with his longtime girlfriend in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

"I hope the victim's families and many other who suffered tremendously and were in some cases destroyed by James Bulger's criminal actions take some solace in the fact that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, far away from the beaches of Santa Monica and far away from the streets of South Boston," Ortiz said.

(VIDEO: Defense attorneys praise judge)

A lawyer for Bulger, Jay W. Carney Jr., said the 83-year-old plans on appealing. "Mr. Bulger knew as soon as he was arrested that he was going to die behind the walls of a prison or on a gurney getting injected with a chemical that would kill him," Carney said. "This trial has never been about Jim Bulger being set free and coming out of this courthouse."

(VIDEO: Patricia Donahue, wife of victim Michael Donahue, speaks)

The defense argued at trial that the prosecution's star witnesses, former Bulger cohorts who connected the 83-year-old to numerous killings and themselves convicted criminals, were not to be believed.

The defense also denied prosecution claims that Bulger was an FBI informant for years and provided information on the rival New England Mafia.

Monday, Carney argued that Bulger's role as an FBI informant was a "myth" and again blasted the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses.

"I think the use of informants is a dangerous practice," Carney said. "The government is offering people in essence, bribes - not with money, but by something more valuable. Freedom. If you offer enough freedom to certain witnesses, I guarantee they will say anything, whether it's the truth or not the truth."

Some family members of Bulger's victims cried as the verdicts were read. Patricia Donahue, the wife of murder victim Michael Donahue, said she became "very emotional" when she learned a jury had found Bulger guilty in the killing of her husband.

Bulger had been charged in a broad racketeering indictment that including 19 killings. The jury found the government proved its case against Bulger in 11 of those.

"I was a little nervous hearing all of these "Not proved, not proved,'" Patricia Donahue said. "By the time they got to my husband and they said he was guilty, I just couldn't hold my emotions in any more."

Donahue said she felt justice had been served for her, though "maybe not for some other victims."

"It's been a long time coming, but it's been worth it to me," Donahue said.


Complete coverage of the Whitey Bulger case on Crimesider

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for CBSNews.com's Crimesider.

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