The murderous gangster would successfully evade the FBI for the next 16 years.
James Joseph Bulger Jr. was born in Dorchester, the second of six children raised in a South Boston public-housing project. He was a troublemaker, a determined kid prone to bad decisions. The boy’s bright blond hair earned him the nickname “Whitey”—a name he scoffed at, but decades later, the nation would fear.
Bulger began his life of crime early: By the age of 14 he was stealing, and he served five years in a juvenile reformatory for larceny, forgery, assault and battery, and armed robbery. Upon release he joined the Air Force, where he worked as a mechanic and earned his high school diploma. The stint of good behavior didn’t last though,