Notorious Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger 'wanted to die,’ former prison warden claims

Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, who was discovered beaten to death in a high-security West Virginia prison last year, may have “wanted to die,” a former prison official suggested.

Charles Lockett, the former warden of a Florida prison where Bulger was initially held, said the 89-year-old gangster repeatedly denied medical treatment for severe chest pains, prompting his transfer to Hazelton federal prison in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, NBC News reported Monday.


“Quite frankly, I think he wanted to die," the former Coleman II warden told the news outlet. "I think whatever issues he had, he had come to peace with them."

An original photo released by the FBI in 1984 shows James "Whitey" Bulger.

An original photo released by the FBI in 1984 shows James "Whitey" Bulger. (AP/FBI)

Bulger was found bloodied and wrapped in a blanket at 8:21 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2018, apparently beaten with a lock stuffed in a sock. He had arrived at the facility less than 12 hours prior to his death.

A death certificate indicated that Bulger had died from “blunt force injuries of the head.” The crime boss was “assaulted by other(s)” in his “prison cell,” the document said. His death was ruled a homicide.

“It’s a tragedy, but I don’t think anyone was deficient in their duty,” Lockett told NBC News.

Bulger’s transfer came after he threatened a nursing supervisor who had urged the inmate to see a specialist for his heart issues, Lockett said. Since prisoners cannot be forced to receive treatment, staff could only monitor Bulger’s condition, which later improved.

“They couldn’t make a decision whether he was sick or not,” Lockett told the outlet. “He didn’t want any medical care whatsoever, which is sad. If he would have agreed to go see a specialist, he probably would have gone to another medical facility. But the fact that he refused to see a medical specialist is what created these issues.”


Bulger was sentenced to life in prison for 11 murders and other crimes in 2013. He was infamously known as one of the nation’s most-wanted fugitives after fleeing Boston in late 1994 until his capture in 2011.

No charges have been filed in Bulger's death, but officials have said two Massachusetts mobsters are under suspicion in his killing.

Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.