BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A federal appeals court heard arguments Monday challenging the 8-year prison term given to the longtime girlfriend of James “Whitey” Bulger for helping him while he was a fugitive.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

A lawyer for Catherine Greig argues that relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims should not have been allowed to address the court during Greig’s sentencing hearing because they were not direct victims of her crimes.

Greig’s lawyer says the judge “effectively tripled” the appropriate sentence for Greig. He says Greig should have been sentenced to about 2½ years.

A prosecutor says Greig was sentenced appropriately because she did an array of things to help Bulger, including getting his medications.

“When you harbor someone obviously you are concealing your identity and that’s what the court used to apply the higher base offense level,” defense attorney Dana Curhan said.

A decision will be made in the next two-to-three months.

“Do you time and shut your mouth,” Steve Davis, brother of victim Debra Davis told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens. “She did what she did and deserves what she has coming to her. I’m just rolling with the punches here. It’s all in the court’s hands.”

Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, fled Boston in 1994 and remained a fugitive for more than 16 years before he and Greig were captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.

Bulger is set to go on trial in June, charged with participating in 19 murders.

Margaret McCusker left Federal Court hoping her sister would get a lesser sentence.

“I am just hoping for the best” McCusker said as she left the courthouse.

Outside the courthouse family members of Whitey’s alleged victims agreed with her original sentence.

“She was an enabler for him. She got his medications. She was his identity, “ Patricia Donahue said.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton contributed to this report

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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