A judge has ordered James “Whitey” Bulger to pay just over $6 million to the family of an Oklahoma businessman who, a federal jury said, was a murder victim of the once-feared crime boss.
But it remains unclear if the family of Roger Wheeler will receive any of the restitution payment that US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper awarded on Friday, court records show.
Bulger, 84, owes about $50.5 million in combined restitution and forfeiture penalties. Authorities have recovered just a fraction of that amount from him in cash and property since his capture in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
A Boston jury found last summer that Bulger participated in the slayings of 11 people including Wheeler, who was killed in Tulsa in 1981. Casper presided over Bulger’s sensational trial and sentenced him to a pair of life terms in November.
She also ordered him to pay $19.5 million in restitution to be split among families of Bulger’s murder and extortion victims. That tally spiked to roughly $25.5 million after Casper’s award to the Wheeler family.
In addition, Casper ordered Bulger to forfeit $25.1 million to the government, which is separate from the restitution payments.
Bulger still faces a possible death penalty trial in state court in Oklahoma for his role in Wheeler’s slaying.
The restitution award to Wheeler’s family is the highest amount that Casper has approved. She has ordered payments ranging from $185,000 to just under $4.5 million to several other families.
The federal jury found that some allegations pertaining to the victims named in the restitution order were not proven at trial.