In one of those bizarre twists that only further proves that every weird story in Americana can be traced to include Oklahoma, James “Whitey” Bulger — one of the country’s most infamous crime bosses — will likely take his final breaths in Oklahoma, the same state where his syndicate of gangsters committed crimes that sent him on the lam for 16 years.
Late last week, Bulger was transferred from a federal facility in Florida to one in Oklahoma City. Bulger is serving life sentences for orchestrating the murder of 11 people, which is only a portion of the death associated with his crew. Among those 11 was the killing of John Callahan, who was murdered because he was going to implicate Bulger’s crew in the Tulsa killing of Roger Wheeler.
“It’s a peculiar irony that Whitey is back in that state,” Mary Callahan, John Callahan’s widow, told Boston Herald. “He probably doesn’t want to go there.”
Wheeler — the former chairman of Telex Corporation and former owner of World Jai Alai — was executed in the parking lot of a Tulsa golf course after he allegedly uncovered an embezzlement scheme orchestrated by former FBI agent Paul Rico and Bulger, who was working for Rico as an informant. Bulger’s story served as the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed, and he was later portrayed by Johnny Depp in Black Mass.
Ironically, Rico died in Tulsa in 2004 awaiting trial for Wheeler’s death. Bulger was arrested in 2011 after 16 years as a fugitive and has been in failing health in recent years, according to the Herald.
“That means he’ll probably die in Oklahoma,” Callahan told the Herald. “He deserves it. You’re not supposed to wish bad for anybody. It’s hard not to in his case.”
We can’t really sum it up any better than one of the victims in one of Bulger’s many crimes, but a third Bulger film needs to be made: To Live and Die in OK.