Whitey, the reputed New England mobster and convicted murderer, will spend the rest of his days behind prison bars after the court's ruling, PEOPLE confirms

By Chris Harris
October 04, 2016 12:40 PM
James 'Whitey' Bulger in 2011
U.S. Marshals Service/AP

The 2013 conviction of James “Whitey” Bulger will stand, PEOPLE confirms — meaning the New England mob boss and convicted murderer will spend the rest of his days behind prison bars.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court roundly rejected the 87-year-old’s bid to have his conviction on 31 federal criminal counts reversed, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The court’s ruling offers no rationale for the denial of Bulger’s appeal and effectively upholds the lower court’s decision in his case.

Bulger’s petition was filed with the nation’s highest court in early August — five months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld his convictions.

According to the appeals court’s ruling, Bulger failed to show his right to a fair trial had been violated when a judge forbade him from testifying about an alleged immunity agreement Bulger said he established with a now-deceased federal prosecutor.

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Bulger is serving two life sentences for his conviction in a multi-count racketeering case that included participating in drug dealing, extortion and murder. He was found guilty of committing or ordering the murders of 11 people during the 1970s and ’80s.

For nearly three decades, Bulger served as the head of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang. He fled Massachusetts in 1994, after an FBI agent warned him he was about to be indicted.

Bulger spent more than 15 years on the run, but authorities caught up with him in 2011, apprehending him in Santa Monica, California. Actor Johnny Depp portrayed Bulger in the 2015 film Black Mass.

Bulger’s petition this year to the Supreme Court claimed a pretrial ruling prevented him from telling the jury about his supposed immunity deal. That ruling, the filing argued, trampled Bulger’s rights to effectively present a defense and to testify on his own behalf.

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“This error affected the fundamental fairness of Mr. Bulger’s trial and his convictions should be automatically reversed as a result,” according to his petition.

Bulger’s lawyer further argued federal prosecutors withheld information regarding certain “promises, rewards and inducements” offered to John Martorano, a self-admitted hit man who testified against Bulger at his trial.

Martorano admitted to killing 20 people and served 12 years in prison.