Notorious American mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger has reportedly been killed by a fellow inmate after he was found dead at a high-security prison on Tuesday.
The former mob boss, 89, was serving a life sentence for the murders of at least 11 people and had been transferred to USP Hazelton, in West Virginia, just one day before he was discovered dead at the federal penitentiary.
“The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia and the FBI will be conducting an investigation into the death of James Bulger,” a spokesperson for US attorney William Powell, said in a statement, published by The Boston Globe. “No other information will be released at this time.”
According to sources, who spoke to the local Boston newspaper, a fellow prisoner with links to the Mafia ties is believed to be responsible for killing Bulger, however an investigation is currently underway by the FBI and no charges have yet been laid.
Bulger – formerly the head of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston, Massachusetts – was found unresponsive at around 8am on Tuesday, having arrived at the prison on Monday, according to an official statement from the US Bureau of Prisons.
The notorious criminal, whose crimes inspired several movies, including 2015’s Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp, was the most wanted man in the United States for 12 years, after successfully evading capture for 16 years, with a reward of US$2 million (AU$2.8m) offered for information which led to his capture.
He was finally arrested in California in 2011, at the age of 81, and was subsequently found guilty of committing 11 of the 19 murders with which he was charged. At the trial in 2013, he was also found guilty of 20 counts of racketeering, extortion, money laundering, possession of firearms as well as other crimes.
The gangster was sentenced to two life terms in prison, as well as five years, as well as being ordered to pay US$19.5 million (AU$27.4m) in restitution.
His girlfriend Catherine Greig, who was arrested alongside him in Santa Monica, was also sentenced to eight years behind bars after helping her lover escape justice for almost two decades.