BOSTON (CBS) – The prison killing of former Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger is an unsurprising turn of events, according to WBZ-TV Security Analyst Ed Davis. Davis, the former Commissioner of the Boston Police Department, said inmates of Bulger’s notoriety can be difficult to protect.
“You can’t forget that the front page of the Herald said that he was an informant. Informants don’t do well in prison, especially somebody of that advanced age,” Davis said.
Bulger always denied that he was an informant, though plenty of evidence suggested otherwise. The 89 year old was found dead at the USP Hazelton federal prison in West Virginia Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after being transferred to the facility. Sources tell the WBZ I-Team that he was killed.
“When you’re moving from one place to another there’s a lot of people watching and waiting for an opportunity to do something like this,” Davis commented.
Whitey Bulger was serving a life sentence after his 2013 conviction on a long list of federal charges, including participating in 11 murders. During his 16 years on the run, he was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. His life has been the basis for movies and books. Davis said having a profile that high can be dangerous for a prisoner.
“There is no question your reputation precedes you in these facilities,” he said. “You can’t watch somebody 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless they’re in complete isolation.”
Davis, who worked in Massachusetts law enforcement for decades, said Bulger’s reputation in the community changed over the years.
“He was considered a Robin Hood back in the 80s and somewhat protective of Southie. I think over time people started to realize he was simply an organized crime criminal.”
“He was involved in a lot of crime and I’m glad that he finally got held accountable for it, although this kind of an incident occurring is always tragic,” Davis said. “You can’t lose sight of the fact that he has family members too, and these things are terrible to experience.”