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Whitey Bulger, the Alcatraz years

Friday, June 24, 2011

imageKudos to Jon Brooks over at KQED’s News Fix blog for digging up this Alcatraz mug shot of just-captured crime boss Whitey Bulger, who did time on The Rock from 1959 to 1963 for a string of armed robberies. And you also don’t want to miss this 1998 Boston Herald piece about Bulger’s kindness in having fellow Alcatraz alum known as “The Choctaw Kid” exhumed from a pauper’s grave for proper burial back in Oklahoma in 1989. An excerpt:

Residents of tiny Daisy, Okla. (pop. 100) still remember the day in early 1989 when Bulger, driving a rented Lincoln Continental and throwing around $100 bills, brought his old prison buddy Clarence Carnes home in a $4,000 bronze casket.

Carnes was the youngest prisoner ever sent to the infamous San Francisco Bay island prison, where Bulger served time for bank robbery in the 1960s.

After “Birdman of Alcatraz” Robert Stroud, Carnes was perhaps Alcatraz’s most famous inmate. Carnes – better known as “The Choctaw Kid” was the sole survivor of the prison’s deadliest escape try, the “1946 Blastout,” which resulted in seven deaths.

Bulger told people in the Oklahoma funeral that Carnes “took care of him” when he was in Alcatraz and may even have saved his life.

Add: The piece also contains this Bulger gem offered to the local funeral home director: “If this ever gets back to you, they’re going to tell you I’m the head of the Irish Mafia, but I’m not.”

Also: Alcatraz aficionados might quibble with Carnes being the most famous Alcatraz denizen after Stroud. There was also that fellow Al Capone.

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