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US mob kingpin Bulger gets two life terms

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A US judge Thursday sentenced notorious Boston underworld kingpin and reputed FBI informant James "Whitey" Bulger to two life terms for 11 murders and dozens of other criminal charges.

At the age of 84, the white-bearded Bulger -- a fugitive for 16 years before his arrest in California in 2011 -- is likely to spend the last days of his life behind bars.

Asked if he understood, Bulger uttered one word: "Yes." His lawyers said that he would appeal the conviction.

"I think Jim is pleased that he held to his principles and chose not to react. He is very disciplined," his lawyer Jay Carney told reporters.

A jury in August found Bulger guilty on 31 counts, including 11 of the 19 murders for which he had been charged. The only count for which he was not convicted was an extortion charge.

Besides murder, Bulger was also accused of money laundering and arms trafficking.

But the defense team was frustrated that the trial did not emphasize the relationship between Bulger and the US Department of Justice.

"I feel discontent. There is something missing here. We know there was not just one rogue FBI agent. There was a whitewash of the FBI. Bulger will appeal the conviction," said defense attorney Hank Brennan.

The trial, which began June 4, featured 72 witnesses, 840 exhibits and chilling testimony worthy of a pulp novel.

It heard harrowing tales of teeth being pulled from the mouths of murder victims to foil their posthumous identification and the fatal strangulation of a mobster's girlfriend who "knew too much."

Bulger refused to testify at his trial, saying the proceedings were "unfair and a sham" because it would not recognize what he claimed was immunity from prosecution given by federal agents.

Bulger has always denied having been an FBI informant, but close links between some FBI agents in Boston and Bulger's Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and 1980s have been well documented.

Former FBI agent John Connolly is in prison after being convicted in 2002 of effectively becoming a member of the gang.

Bulger provided the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's mob boss character in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning 2006 gangster film "The Departed."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131114/us-mob-kingpin-bulger-gets-two-life-terms