Convicted gangster James “Whitey” Bulger has been moved to a federal prison in Oklahoma, but state authorities there have not yet decided whether to bring him to trial for the 1981 slaying of a Tulsa businessman.
Bulger, 84, who was sentenced last month by a federal judge in Boston to two life prison terms for participating in 11 murders while running a sprawling criminal enterprise from the 1970s through the 1990s, still faces state murder charges in Oklahoma and Florida
Prosecutors in both states are weighing whether to bring Bulger to trial on the charges, which could carry the death penalty. Bulger is charged with participating in the 1981 slaying of Roger Wheeler in Tulsa and the 1982 slaying of Boston businessman John Callahan in Florida.
“We have not made a decision and did not know he was moved to Oklahoma,” a spokeswoman for Tulsa District Attorney Tim Harris said today.
Bulger was moved this week from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, which serves as a holding facility for inmates on their way to other federal penitentiaries throughout the country, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.
The US Marshals Service, which transports inmates, did not respond to calls seeking comment on where Bulger will serve his federal sentence.
Bulger’s attorney, Hank Brennan, said today that he was unaware that Bulger was moved and did not know where he would go when he leaves Oklahoma.
“I have no idea what the intents of the marshals and the local authorities are,” Brennan said. “We are hopeful that there will be a state court prosecution and, if there is, we stand ready.”
Bulger, who was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., after more than 16 years on the run, was convicted by a federal jury in Boston in August following an eight-week trial. Jurors found the former South Boston crime boss guilty of racketeering, extortion, money laundering and weapons charges. They found he participated in drug dealing and 11 of 19 murders he was accused of as part of the sweeping federal racketeering case.
The gangster, who spent much of the trial trying to refute evidence that he was a long-time FBI informant, is appealing his conviction.
Miami-Dade prosecutor Michael Von Zamft said the state’s attorney is waiting for Bulger’s federal appeal to be resolved before deciding whether to bring Bulger to trial for Callahan’s murder.
“Unless something changes, it is our intention to wait until after the appeal is resolved before we move forward in any way,” he said.