James Whitey Bolger, Emily Rooney, FBI discussed on PBS NewsHour

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Crime boss James Whitey Bolger is dead one day after being transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia. His death is being investigated as a homicide several news organizations, including the Boston Globe reported. He was murdered in prison today by inmates associated with the mob. Bolger who for years was one of America's most wanted criminals ran gambling and drug rackets across Boston for decades. He was an FBI informant as well Bolger was on the run for sixteen years before he was eventually caught and convicted in two thousand thirteen of participating in eleven murders in the nineteen seventies and eighties, Emily, Rooney of public station. W GBH in Boston as long cover Bolger and his crimes and she joins me now, Emily Rooney. Thank you for talking with us. What is known about how he died while he was only in the new prison. It'd come up from Florida to West Virginia less. Than twenty four hours. He was still in his wheelchair. I have heard some reports that he was surrounded by a mob of gang of people who viciously beat him. I can't corroborate that. But that's what I've heard which says something about the that federal prison. He had more than that. So they say that they transferred him there for a different reason. And there was somebody there waiting for him. We we really don't know a lot of a lot of questions. He started on this criminal path from a very early age. Tell us about his career he was a criminal at age thirteen. And now he was robbing convenience stores. He dropped out of school at the age of fourteen. He ran a criminal enterprise for decades and decades, he had this charm in this sort of appeal that he he he lured people into his his his net, including women he often had two or three women going at a time. It took that one on the road with Anthony tried to take. The other one with him I and she gave up and came home. And then he took Catherine Greg on the road for them. He was he was an FBI informant over what period of his life and how did that develop well in nineteen seventy five became an informant. What had happened was the the DA the Federal Bureau investigations wanted to bring down like CASA Nostra the Italian mafia in order to do. So they enlisted the help of the winter hill gang, which was won by Whitey Bolger and all of his associates, they figured Bill tourney blind. I two rackets and numbers and some of that, you know, busting machines and that kind of stuff, but they also turned a blind eye to nineteen murders. And then in one thousand nine hundred five FBI agent. John Conway who grew up in the same housing project is Whitey Bolger. And was in the FBI tipped him off that he was about to be indicted. But you know, John Conley has always contended to this day. Hey, he was one of the guys he was part of the team. And he feels like he took the fall for something that happened at a much. Much higher level at the FBI you mentioned murders. I mean, he killed people with his own hands. Oh, yes. And then you took naps afterwards killed at least two women, Deborah hussy and Deborah Davis. He was only convicted of one of those murders. But then he would pull their teeth out and bury the remains. So that they couldn't be as easily identified. We didn't have DNA testing back then but the story of his life. I mean, it's been made into movies documentaries about him. He he'll be remembered for all of this. And the woman who was with him at the end, she still serving time, Catherine. Greg is still serving time. She was sentenced to a fairly minimum number of years like seven or eight, but she refused to cooperate with some detail about I don't know other informants or where money was hidden something like that. I can't remember the details of that. And she accepted more time in prison as a result. So she's still I believe she's in a federal prison somewhere locally, I believe. But but what a legacy he has. Can you imagine the Andy I should say, by the way? None of the victims in the greater Boston area. Or lamenting this at all they're cheering. They're popping champagne tonight. But this is not the way his life should have ended. And the federal government is got some explaining to do Emily Rooney with WG be h we thank you. Now should colleges be accountable for the graduation rates of their students. Hari Sreenivasan reports from Florida for the conclusion of our special series on rethinking college, which is part of our weekly focus on education making the grade..

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