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Tag: Whitey Bulger

FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List Turns 60

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Mir Aimal Kasi had earned a spot on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and Brad Garrett, a mild-mannered but dogged FBI agent out of Washington, wanted him badly. Kasi, a Pakistani, had stood outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993 and methodically opened fire, shooting into car windows, killing two CIA employees and wounding three others.

Like most fugitives on the list, Kasi was no easy find. Garrett and others spent four-and-a-half years continent-hopping, tracking endless leads before finding him in a seedy hotel in Pakistan at 4 a.m. Kasi was about to head off to prayer. He was brought back to the U.S., where he was eventually executed by lethal injection by the state of Virginia.

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

“It’s probably every agent’s dream to capture a top 10 most wanted fugitive,” Garrett, who retired from the FBI in 2006, told AOL News. “It wasn’t my driving force, of course, but the idea of being able to arrest a top 10 fugitive is really something. If you’re on the top 10 list, you must be a really bad person, a big deal.”

On March 14, the bigger-than-life list, which has included some of the most notorious criminals of our time, from assassin James Earl Ray to serial killer Ted Bundy to terrorist Osama bin Laden, turned 60.

The list has become part of Americana. First seen in post offices and banks, now the Ten Most Wanted photos are more likely to show up on TV shows, billboards and the Internet through Web sites and trendy social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

“We recognize the unique ability of the media to cast a wider net within communities here and abroad,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in a statement marking the 60th anniversary. “The FBI can send agents to visit a thousand homes to find a witness, but the media can visit a million homes in an instant.”

Authorities say the list came about after a reporter for the International News in 1949 told the FBI he was interested in writing a story about the “toughest guys” the FBI was after. The FBI provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives — four escaped prisoners, three con men, two murder suspects and a bank robber — and the reporter wrote a story that captured national attention and triggered hundreds of tips.

Osama bin Laden

The FBI figured it was on to something. On March 14, 1950, Director J. Edgar Hoover launched the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program. The first fugitive was Thomas J. Holden, a bank robber who murdered his wife and her two brothers. A little over a year later, he was spotted in Beaverton, Ore., by someone who recognized his photo in the newspaper.

The FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program turns 60 years old  this month

The first fugitive listed by the FBI was killer and bank robber Thomas J. Holden in 1950. He was caught a year later.

Holden was one of 494 fugitives who have made the list in the past six decades. Of those, the FBI says, 463 have been captured or located, and 152 of those were “the direct result of citizen cooperation.” More specifically, two fugitives were captured as a result of the Internet, 27 from television broadcasts, two from radio coverage, three from newspapers, three from magazines and 49 from FBI posters.

Cases that involved tips from a top 10 poster included fugitive Joseph Martin Luther Gardner, a Navy man who was wanted in the 1992 gang rape and murder of a 25-year-old woman in South Carolina. Authorities caught the other suspects, but not Gardner — at least not for a while.

Mir Aimal Kansi/fbi photo

Mir Aimal Kansi/fbi photo

Jeffrey L. Covington, an FBI agent from Philadelphia who retired in 2007 and worked on the Gardner case, recalled that a woman had gone into a convenience store in 1994 in Philadelphia. Later, she returned home to New York and was in a post office when she saw an FBI wanted poster of Gardner.

“She said, ‘Oh my God, that’s the guy in the store,'” Covington recalled. She called authorities, and Covington said he and members of the Philadelphia Fugitive Task Force moved in and made the arrest.

“He was absolutely startled,” Covington said of Gardner. “And then he lied about his name. The usual stuff.”

Over the years, as times changed, so did the composition of the list. At first in the 1950s it consisted of bank robbers, murderers and car thieves. In the 1960s, some fugitives included kidnappers and militants who had destroyed government property. By the 1970s, there were organized crime and terrorist figures and radicals like H. Rap Brown and Angela Davis. And in by the 1990s, sexual predators, drug traffickers and gang members had joined the list.

For the most part, the list has been dominated by males. Only eight fugitives have been woman, with ’60s militant Davis among them.

angela davis

A lot of thought goes into who makes the list, and who doesn’t, according to Rex Tomb, who headed the FBI’s chief fugitive publicity unit in Washington and helped decide who made the list. He retired in 2006.

“Many times a particularly aggressive agent would want us to put their fugitive on the list,” Tomb told AOL News. “In looking at the submission, however, we realized that the case, though very serious, might be either too complicated or uninteresting to potential readers or viewers. Photographs might also be of such quality that we knew the public would be unable to notice key, distinguishing physical traits. The top 10 list is media driven. If certain elements are not present, reporters won’t use it. We had to learn which cases would fly and which wouldn’t.

“There are only 10 slots on the list,” he said. ” If the media won’t cover it, the list is of no help. If it can’t help a case, why put it on the list?”

On nine occasions, the top 10 list has actually had 11 or more fugitives.

“This has occurred when there was not a vacancy on the list and the FBI determined that there was an overriding need that an individual be added to the list,” said FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman.

She said some of the 11th fugitives have included Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray. Ray was one of six people who twice appeared on the list: once when he shot King in 1968 and again in 1977 when he escaped from prison.

Fugitive Donald Eugene Webb holds the record for the longest time on the list — 25 years, 10 months and 27 days — for the murder of Police Chief Gregory Adams in Saxonburg, Pa., in 1980. In 2007, without any real explanation, he was removed from the list even though he remained at large. The FBI now says he no longer fits the criteria, but he remains a fugitive.

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The shortest time on the list — two hours — was claimed by bank robber Billie Austin Bryant, who had killed two FBI agents in the late 1960s in Washington. The oldest person to be placed on the list — and who still remains on it — is Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. He was 69 in August 1999 when he was put on the list.

Today he is 80.

Alive and well? Who knows.

H. Rap Brown

H. Rap Brown

Fed Judge Says FBI is Liable For Murders by Boston Mobsters; Awards Families $1.85 Mil

The outcome was certainly not surprising. But what may be interesting is whether this ruling opens the door for any similar cases around the country. Surely there have been other cases around the country in which federal informants have killed people while snitching for the FBI or DEA or ATF.

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — A federal judge ruled yesterday that the government is liable for the killings of two young women and a man allegedly slain by longtime FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, but awarded limited damages to the women’s families.

US District Judge William G. Young ordered the government to pay $350,000 to the families of each of the three victims, because of the conscious pain and suffering endured by Debra Davis, 26, who was strangled in 1981; Deborah Hussey, 26, strangled in 1985; and Louis Litif, 45, who was stabbed and shot in 1980.

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The judge awarded an additional $800,000 to Litif’s widow and two children, who were 15 and 20 when he died, for the loss of his financial and emotional support.

For Full Story

Boston Mobster Says “Whitey” Bulger Was Jealous of Him Spending Time With Girlfriend

The mob drama continued to unfold in a Boston courtroom  like a classic Soprano TV episode. Some families are suing the government, saying it should have done something to stop some mobsters/FBI informants from killing.

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Notorious gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi testified yesterday that when he started spending more time with his beautiful young girl- friend, his longtime sidekick and fellow FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger grew jealous and soon started plotting to kill her.

“Bulger kind of resented the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with him and our business,” said the 75-year-old Flemmi, offering new insight into Bulger’s mind during a civil trial in US District Court.

Flemmi recalled that he began skipping some of Bulger’s secret meetings with the FBI so he could be with Debra Davis.

“He would contact me, and I wouldn’t respond,” said Flemmi, adding that he shut off his pager when he was home.

“I didn’t want to be bothered,” Flemmi said. “He was very upset about it.”

That anger turned deadly when Bulger discovered that Flemmi had told Davis about their relationship with the FBI, according to Flemmi.

“He wanted to kill her,” Flemmi said. “He wanted me to bring her down and set her up so he could kill her.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Disbarred Lawyer Testifies that He Tipped Off Wrong People: Boston FBI and Police Detective

The ugliest chapter in the history of the Boston FBI continued to unravel in federal court in Boston where families are suing the government for allegedly failing to stop mobster/FBI informants from killing. In Tuesday’s testimony, a disbarred attorney said he started to suspect that the FBI and Boston police were crooked.

boston

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON — A disbarred lawyer testified yesterday that he warned an FBI agent and a Boston police detective in 1980 that a bookmaker was poised to drop a dime on a drug-dealing ring involving corrupt police officers and South Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger.

The bookmaker, Louis Litif, was shot to death one to four weeks later, on April 12, 1980, according to the former lawyer, Kevin Curry of Winchester.

“I began to figure out in my mind that I might very well have tipped the wrong people off,” said Curry, testifying in a federal trial over wrongful death suits filed against the government by Litif’s family and the families of two women Bulger allegedly killed. Curry first reported the information to investigators a decade ago.

Curry testified that he was representing a drug dealer when Litif offered to be a witness in the case. He said Litif professed to be taking drugs out of Boston Police Headquarters, with the help of corrupt officers, and giving them to a South Boston operation controlled by Bulger. At the time, Litif was awaiting trial on a murder charge and was looking to cut a deal, he said.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Families in Civil Trial Say Boston FBI Protected Mobsters/Informants Who Murdered

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger-fbi photo

This is a languishing headache that simply won’t go away for the Justice Department and the Boston FBI. In June, a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to pay $6.25 million to the widow and children of a night club owner whose slaying was linked to FBI informants/mobsters Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi. Now more people want the government cash and say they were victims of these FBI informants and FBI should have done something to prevent these guys from murdering people.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON — A Justice Department lawyer argued yesterday that the common-law wife of Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi lived on “blood money” from the gangster for years and cannot blame the FBI for the murder of her daughter by longtime informants Flemmi and James “Whitey” Bulger.

“She protected, nurtured” Flemmi, Justice Department attorney Lawrence Eiser said during opening statements on the first day of trial in a federal wrongful death suit brought by Flemmi’s longtime companion, Marion Hussey, and the families of two other victims.

“She washed his clothes after he cut the teeth out of these people,” said Eiser, referring to Flemmi’s admitted practice of pulling his victims’ teeth so they could not be identified. “And she’s going to blame the FBI on this theory. . . . You can’t hold the government liable for failing to arrest people.”

But lawyers for Hussey and the families of the other victims, Debra Davis and Louis Litif, said the FBI is liable because it knew Bulger and Flemmi had committed prior murders and should have prosecuted them, but protected them because they were informants against the Mafia. The agency also thwarted efforts by other law enforcement agencies that targeted Bulger and Flemmi, attorneys said.

For Full Story

Boston Judge Orders Govern. to Pay $6.25 Mil As a Result of FBI’s Ties to Mobster Informants

The embarrassing fallout from the FBI’s shady  relationship with mobster/informants like Whitey Bulger and “Rifleman” Flemmi continues to haunt the agency. Here’s the latest blow.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

BOSTON — After years of legal maneuverings by Justice Department lawyers and a three-day nonjury trial, a federal judge ordered the government to pay $6.25 million to the widow and children of Richard J. Castucci, a Revere nightclub owner whose slaying was orchestrated by two of the FBI’s most prized informants, James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.

Last year, a judge found that the FBI was to blame in the 1976 killing.

“I’m just glad it’s over, that’s all,” said Sandra Castucci, 72, shaking as she wiped away tears and was hugged by her children after leaving the courtroom.

The Castuccis’ wrongful death suit was the third case brought on behalf of victims of Bulger and Flemmi to make it to trial, and all have ended with significant judgments against the government.

For Full Story

Boston Trial Underway to Determine How Much the Gov Owes a Widow Whose Husband Was Murdered by Mobsters Working as FBI Informants

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

A widow whose husband, a  Boston nightclub owner, was killed by mobsters wants the government to pay for her husband’s death. She says in a lawsuit that the FBI failed to take action against the mobsters, who were working as FBI informants. A federal judge has already ruled in her favor. Now another federal judge is trying to determine in a trial how much the government owes her.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Notorious gangsters and longtime FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi orchestrated the 1976 slaying of Revere nightclub owner Richard J. Castucci. But his life was not enough; they wanted his money, too.

Taking the stand yesterday in her wrongful death suit against the government, Castucci’s widow described being caught in a terrifying web as her husband’s killers – members of the Winter Hill Gang – and the New England Mafia both vied for control of her husband’s interest in The Squire, a popular and highly profitable strip club.

“I was scared,” said 72-year-old Sandra Castucci, recounting how Flemmi, a stranger to her, showed up unexpectedly at her Revere Beach home after her husband’s killing, asking about her financial interest in the club and suggesting he should handle it for her.

She was frightened by the visit and immediately alerted the businessman who co-owned The Squire with her husband. Then the Mafia got involved.

For Full Story

Boston Globe Columnist Blasts Justice Dept. For Blowing Off Victim’s Family in Murder Involving Mobster Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The ugly chapter involving the questionable relationship between mobster Whitey Bulger and the FBI continues to rear its head in Boston. It seems the Justice Dept. has to owe up to the facts of the case and move on. Boston Globe Columnist Kevin Cullen feels the Justice Department isn’t doing that. He says the department is essentially telling a victim’s family to “drop dead”. Here’s the story.
By Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe Columnist
BOSTON
— You may recall reading in this space not long ago about the family of Michael Donahue, a truck driver from Dorchester who was murdered on the South Boston waterfront 27 years ago by the gangster Whitey Bulger with a very generous assist from the FBI.

The day after the column appeared, lawyers for the US Justice Department informed lawyers for the Donahue family that the government was going to ignore a judge’s recommendation to settle a lawsuit for getting Michael Donahue killed.

In essence, the government told the Donahues to drop dead. It wants to retry the damages part and force the family to go through the whole rigmarole again, on the pretext that the recent death of Judge Reggie Lindsay somehow changes the fact that Lindsay found the FBI liable for causing the murder of Michael Donahue while protecting its prized snitch Whitey Bulger.

 For Full Story