‘Whitey’ Bulger’s former attorney: Prison system ‘changed’ life sentence to death penalty

BOSTON (WHDH) - The attorney who represented James “Whitey” Bulger in Federal Court said Tuesday that he believes the prison system is directly responsible for the death of his former client.

“He was sentenced to life in prison, but as a result of decisions by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that sentence has been changed to the death penalty,” J.W. Carney said in a statement after authorities announced that Bulger had been found dead Tuesday morning in his West Virginia prison cell.

Richard Heldreth, head of the U.S. Penitentiary Union in Hazelton, told 7’s Steve Cooper that Bulger’s death was being investigated as a murder.

Bulger had just been transferred to the penitentiary on Monday.

“I was proud to be appointed by the Federal Court to represent James Bulger,” Carney added.

Bulger was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run and convicted in 2013 for his role in 11 murders.

Carney did not have any additional comments.

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